Within that context, there are still challenges. For many young professionals, the typical office environment is less of a feature in their early careers than it has been in the past, shifting the landscape of their skills development into a partially online setting. Many of the soft skills associated with communication, management, and leadership have historically been disseminated through peer interactions in-person, so novel approaches to developing these skills will be essential.
Some young people have begun turning to online seminars and 'one-to-ones' to support their professional development. For some, these are no less effective than other forms of skills development, and for others they might even be more inclusive than past approaches which lent themselves more to extroverted personalities. However, online sessions aren’t as effective for everyone, so more innovation will be necessary in the learning landscape before the necessary acquisition of skills across the environmental workforce can be guaranteed.
While the move away from a physical office environment also presents challenges for how organisations can effectively instil their organisational culture, young professionals have a broadly optimistic perspective. The increased challenge may also drive organisations to express their organisational culture through actions, pushing values into the heart of their missions and work.
For young professionals, many of whom have grown up with online communities playing as much a role in their lives as physical ones, the challenges associated with instilling those values are not insurmountable. Ultimately, the solution may be for organisations to learn from young workers, rather than the other way round.
Over the next 50 years, we should expect to see the balance between online, onsite, and office-based working diversify substantially from organisation to organisation, led by the demands of work and the ability of organisations to provide professional development in increasingly hybrid environments.