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What will Australia’s workplaces look like in 2040?

Drones, self-driving cars and hologram employees – will these be commonplace technologies in the Australian workplaces of tomorrow?

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Your self-driving car eases itself into the carpark at your office just as you finish wolfing down your breakfast. Traffic was a bit heavy this morning – perhaps you should have used your jetpack. Nonetheless, you step into your cubicle ready to start your day, but not before a chat with your boss by the watercooler. Or rather, a hologram of your boss.

While it seems like a scene out of a sci-fi film, this is the very possible future that MYOB is envisioning. In its new ‘The Future of Business: Australia 2040’ report, the accounting firm outlines which radical technologies could revolutionise today’s businesses and workplaces within the next 25 years.

Simon Raik-Allen, MYOB’s chief technology officer, said continuously soaring energy and transport costs will prompt us to develop groundbreaking solutions and technologies. As a result, what may sound far-fetched today – such as regular freight deliveries by drone, jetpacks as a means of commuting and holograms that stand in for mobile or overseas workers – could be commonplace tomorrow.

“The biggest invention to change the workforce since email will be the holographic representation of people,” he explained.

“We will work in a ‘shared workplace’ that will be set up so that you can interact with holographic people from all around the world. You may never meet the people you work for in person, because you will be pitching your ideas to a global workforce.”

In the increasingly globalised nature of business, such a development would certainly push new frontiers for a huge number of organisations. What are some other revolutionary technologies that we may see by 2040, according to MYOB?

Show me the (cyber) money

So-called ‘cryptocurrencies’ such as Bitcoin are yet to really take off in the consumer space, but MYOB believes this may all change within the next three decades or so. The company is predicting that independent, internet-based currencies will rise to the fore and affect all types of transactions, from business deals to paying employees.

“Any business will be able to make its own currency – to buy and sell at values regulated by the market and at the perceived value of the company. As this trend develops, exchanges of currencies, much like we have today, will arise entirely independent of national economies,” Mr Raik-Allen added.

The rise of the machines

The increasing presence of robots in the workplace has been gaining traction for some time, and according to MYOB, the next few decades will really see these machines make a tangible impact.

Automated robots will “augment the role of humans in a wide range of areas”, the report reads. This can benefit workers in a number of ways, from eliminating the need to carry out repetitive manual tasks to gaining safe access to hazardous areas.