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5 ways to prepare for the workplace of 2026, starting right now

As economic power shifts to Asia, the world’s population ages, and technologies like AI and VR advance, the world of work will become a more international, multi-generational and robotic place. Here are five ways you can prepare.

As economic power shifts to Asia, the world’s population ages, and technologies like AI and VR advance, the world of work will become a more international, multi-generational and robotic place. But don’t worry – here are five ways you can prepare for the workplace of 2026, plus a selection of free online courses to help you start right now.

5 ways to prepare for the workplace of 2026 FutureLearn

1. Get along with anyone

In The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030, the UK government predicts that the workforce of tomorrow “will be multi-generational, older, and more international, with women playing a strong role.” In this more diverse working environment, it will be increasingly important to understand, appreciate and communicate with people of all cultures and ages.

Learn to get along with anyone with:
Developing Cultural Intelligence for Leadership
How to Succeed in the Global Workplace
Intercultural Communication.


2. Discover the secrets of success

For much of the past three decades, the Chinese economy has experienced double-digit growth. Now, as its growth slows, the country is working hard to innovate and keep its position as the world’s second-largest economy. Knowing why China has flourished in the last 30 years – and what it plans to do next – will be valuable to any business worldwide.

Discover the secrets of China’s success with:
Foundation of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China.


3. Know your enemy

Research from McKinsey & Company predicts that “technologies could automate 45% of the activities people are paid to perform and about 60% of all occupations could see 30% or more of their constituent activities automated.” Rather than worrying about robots taking your job, how about getting to know them a little better? As more of us work alongside bots, knowing more about autonomous systems will be helpful for many careers.

Get to know your artificially intelligent enemy with:
Building a Future with Robots
Introducing Robotics.


4. Ask where things come from

It’s easy to take the cereal, milk, bowl and spoon on your kitchen table for granted in the morning, but have you ever wondered where they come from? Globalisation and technological change mean that every business is increasingly sourcing from and selling to suppliers and customers worldwide. Understanding the supply chains that underpin these interactions will be a vital skill in the next 10 years.

Find out where things come from with:
Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You
The Digital Economy: Effective Supply Chain Management.


5. Love to learn

The US Department of Labour has said that 65% of school children today will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created. Couple this with the fact that ageing populations mean longer working lives for all of us, and it becomes clear that everyone must be thinking about what new job they’ll be doing in 10, 20, 30 or maybe even 40 years’ time. Being able to adapt – to continually learn the skills to succeed in business – is a must.

Fall in love with learning with:
Learning Online: Learning and Collaborating
Get Started with Online Learning
The Crowdsourced Guide to Learning.

Or take a look at all of our courses, to find the right one for you, and learn more about planning for the future with Futurism and Business: Dealing with Complexity.

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