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On this page, we aim to share news items and events, plus our own thoughts and questions about the future of work. Our hope is that as a community we build a network of informed citizens who continue to question the status quo and share ideas.

2021 Lockdown: Remote Work Pulse Survey

The Work Futures Otago team have surveyed over 2,000 people to understand what remote work looks like in the 2021 Lockdown. The media release can be found here: FINAL_Otago survey provides insights into working from home



May 2020. Work Future Remote Working NZ Survey

We are pleased to release some early results from our survey of people across Aotearoa New Zealand working from home during Covid19 lockdown. Please also see Media release_WFH

April 2020. Work Futures on Working from Home during Covid19

See the link below for an opinion piece published in the Otago Daily Times.


July 2018. Work Futures Otago Research Group Launch Report Exploring ICT in Dunedin

We are pleased to present the latest report from the Work Futures Otago group which is the culmination of two years research into the Future of Information and Communication technology in Dunedin. The Report can be found here.

We encourage to look at the whole report but here is a brief summary of the three possible scenarios for ICT in Dunedin:


August 2017 – Academy of Management Meeting, Atlanta, USA

Dr Paula O’Kane presenting on skills for the future. We will also be attending workshops, meeting similar researchers and discussing our work.


5 July 2017 – Winter Lecture Series

Dr Sara Walton presented in Wellington on the Future of Work. See and an article in the ODT


August 2016 – Academy of Management Meeting – Anaheim, USA

We presented two papers at this conference. Dr Paula O’Kane presented a paper titled “Using a ‘Scenario Development’ Delphi to understand the complexities of work in the future” and Dr Sara Walton presented  “The ‘Future of Work’: developing plausible scenarios on work and business environments in 2030.”


4 December 2015 – Future of Work & Education at ANZAM Conference, Queenstown

Dr Diane Ruwhiu presented a paper based on the Future of Work: Dunedin research and the implications for management education at a management conference held in Queenstown.


October 2015 – University of Otago Research Grant Application Success

The Future of Work team application to the UORG was successful! We now have funding to carry out the next stage of our research. Watch this space…


22 July 2015 – Future of Work: Work Ready Programme

As part of the Work Ready programme being run in Dunedin by the International Office we spoke about what sort of work we might expect in Dunedin in the future. The aim was to help students think about working in Dunedin and what that might mean now and in the future.


7 May 2015 – Future of Work: Dunedin Conversations at the Careers Festival

Conversation flowed last night at the Careers Festival Pubic seminar on the Future of Work: Dunedin.  The research team from the Otago Business School presented an overview of the project to another full room and facilitated a lively discussion on possibilities for the future of Dunedin and in particular the implication for careers.


The Careers Festival has a number of events over the next two weeks – for more information see:

A copy of the report and the slides for the seminar can be found at:

The next event on the Future of Work: Dunedin Conversations will be held in early June with students from local high schools.


1 May 2015 – Featuring in The Star



29th April, 2015 – Conversations: HRINZ talk

As part of developing conversation on the future of work in Dunedin, academics from the Otago Business School presented their latest research to the Human Resource Institute of NZ Dunedin branch last night. Covering their work examining the Future of Work in Dunedin to 2030 they engaged the audience through using scenarios and perspectives on the way in which people might be working in Dunedin in the future. Key discussion points were on the level of population in Dunedin – will it expand to a figure like 200,000? What does being ‘adaptable’ and ‘flexible’ mean for individuals in the workplace and for human resource managers? Who will lead the city to a prosperous future? The research using the concept of the future of work as a wicked problem aims to create informed conversations on the future to help individuals, businesses and the community develop strategies for future-proofing.

15 April, 2015 – Labour Commission on the Future of Work

As part of their commission into the Future of Work in NZ the Labour Party have developed an external reference panel. Dr Sara Walton has been invited to be part of the panel looking at technology. See here for more information on the commission:


16th March, 2015Work/life balance an impossible dream?

In recent years, ‘work/life balance’ has been held up as a legitimately attainable ideal, one that you can achieve if only you give your personal life as much attention as your professional one.


11 March, 2015 – Paula discussing the report on Channel 9!

The Future of Work was invited to discuss the findings of the report on Channel 9 – the local Dunedin television channel. Dr Paula O’Kane spoke about the report and answered questions about the key findings. To view the interview please click:


28 February, 2015 – Scenarios in the ODT

Celebrate the positive – the message from Dr Anna Campbell from AbacusBio about the Future of Dunedin report. See:



12th February, 2015 – Peter Thiel: Robots don’t threaten middle class jobs

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal and early backer of Facebook ) dismisses claims that super smart machines pose an imminent threat to jobs. Rather he suggests today’s middle class jobs are threatened by globalisation, not technology.

Will technology in the workpalce ” free us up” for more productive pursuits?

09 February, 2015 – AUT Future of Work Conference

Dr Sara Walton presented results from the Future of Work: Dunedin study at the inaugural Future of Work Conference at AUT. The large audience consisting largely of business leaders and policy makers commented on the ‘refreshing approach’ and interesting challenging research. See here for a copy of the presentations:


01st February, 2015 – CFOs key to sustainable business: Derek Handley

New Zealand entrepreneur Derek Handley,  founder of mobile marketing technology companies The Hyperfactory and NZX-listed Snakk Media, contemplates new business models for sustainability. Business outcomes that are focused on the future and considerate of social and environmental needs will be part of a company’s strategic plan and will sit alongside its financial goals. Therefore, CFOs are key to the change, because they will still manage and design the tools to measure success.

 02nd February, 2015 – High Tech, High Touch, High Growth

Altman’s article was written in 2009 which is already a five year leap backwards into the past. Facebook has since has had its tenth anniversary and ipads and mini tabs are regularly found in the small seemingly competent hands of children in kindergartens. Every day I see support for this statement but what does it mean?

“Work is going to be in the hands of a new generation with different values (Altman, 2009)”. Well I can appreciate this statement too and at some level it feels apt but again what does it mean? How? Can you share more insights with me? What skills will I need how do I future proof myself? What do I do with my organisation? How does my family fit? What are the skills of a next generation manager? How do we nurture in the higher education classroom leadership and team work skills and the entrepreneurial creativity required to create these types of organisations? How do we retain people and what changes are needed in our Human Resource practices? Today I must be in a questioning mood; maybe this is why I am driven to be involved in Future of Work research. Perhaps I am just being the quintessential academic answering a question with a question.

As I reach the bottom of my coffee cup I draw to a point that reaffirms my sense that my research focus of understanding how individuals and organisations successfully engage in virtual space together might assist with how we run successful organisations and that theses competencies might have some importance. What do you think? How will the world around you morph into the future and what will be your contribution?

warmly, Virginia



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