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Team Project – Tomorrow’s Office

February 19, 2021

What kind of office do you think you might be working from in the future?

As you prepare to leave college with your degree the prospect of seeking a fulfilling career will become increasingly important. Much is being written now about the changing nature of work. As long ago as 2012 Forbes suggested that Job Hopping is the New Normal for Millennials. opens in new window But, the Guardian newspaper reported that the trade unions in Britain are concerned about the abuses of the gig economy suggesting it results in lower wages. An article in The Guardian, TUC wants clampdown on ‘poverty pay’ in gig economy jobs opens in new window, revealed that almost half of adults aged 25 or over were earning less than the minimum wage.

The World Economic Forum report on The Future of Jobs 2018 opens in new window provides a comprehensive analysis of trends on an industry-specific and country-specific basis. In the section on Strategic Drivers of New Business Models opens in new window it concludes that the unfolding of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is resulting in a variety of new and emerging jobs while the more traditional job roles are declining. But, there is some good news for you as the Economist reported in 2016 that people working in creative fields are less susceptible to automation in Automation and Anxiety. opens in new window

Taking a more holistic perspective raises deeper concerns for the future of not just work, but the entire ecosystem of society. French philosopher Bernard Stiegler suggests that the world is heading rapidly towards a dead end thanks to the consumerist model. Speaking in London opens in new window in 2018 he argued that a radically new approach to shaping our society is required. Rather than allowing capital and technology to dictate we need to bring epistemological, technological, artistic, judicial, social and economic questions together in order to shape the future.

In 1992 the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a Warning to Humanity suggesting that vast human misery would ensue if we did not change how we are impacting the planet. They ‘feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life.’ Last year the warning was updated when 15,000 scientists from around the world published World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice opens in new window.

As if all that was not enough, we are now living through a global pandemic that seems likely to impact all our futures in ways we cannot predict. Working from home has already become a commonplace experience that is unlikely to change even when the pandemic eases. Online activity is becoming increasingly acceptable and people have adapted quickly out of necessity but more thought needs to be given to the principles of working between home and an office. Organisations like McKinsey & Company are already giving advice like that in the article Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19 opens in new windowfrom June of this year.

This is a real challenge to you, individually and collectively, as you consider your emergence into society from college. For this project you are asked to consider how you might address the problems facing society while earning a living and living your lives. Do you accept the premise of the World Scientists? Can you see ways in which it is possible to work for a more sustainable engagement with our planet? Do you think the current situation might offer society an opportunity to re-think what we do and how we do it?

The Brief

You team is tasked with proposing how the workplace of the future might operate, taking into account the issues raised above, particularly sustainability. Consider issues such as the design of office/studio/workshop spaces, flexible working arrangements, presence, virtual and online engagement, new social norms for the workplace and so on. Clearly, you will need to address specific requirements for different disciplines and professions.

You will work on this project in your groups to make your presentation in an entertaining, informative and lively manner using whatever medium and format you wish as long as it can be stored for later review (e.g. a talk, short film, dramatic presentation, narration+visuals). Each team will present live in Second Life. The presentation should be no shorter than five minutes and no longer than ten minutes. You are encouraged to use visual, audio or any other aids to support the presentation during which each member of the team must take part.

Each participant must also describe the progress of the project in a weekly blog post with particular emphasis on your own contribution to the project. (What are you bringing to the group and how does it fit into the team’s work?) Discuss the details of the project and also the issues that arise in working collaboratively online. How easy is it meet up virtually and plan the project? What difficulties arise in development? How easy or difficult is communication? What particular problems arise and how do you deal with them? Focus on the experience rather than writing a ‘correct’ post or having an answer for every difficulty.

Important note: If you use images or sound be mindful of copyright, particularly as presentations will be posted to the module blog.

Presentations should be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes in duration.

Your presentation can be made in the TU Dublin campus or any appropriate venue in Second Life selected by the group. Presentations will be delivered in the last class at the end of the semester.For full details on the Team Project specifications and the assessment criteria see the Assessment Unit.

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