Will work hours be a thing of the past?

Technology could give workers even more opportunities for off-site hours, and this could in turn affect payroll needs.

Technology could give workers even more opportunities for off-site hours, and this could in turn affect payroll needs.

Right now, payment for workers is often based on the number of hours they perform, but this could change over the next few decades, according to a report from Johnson Controls on the "smart workplace" of 2040, cited by IT Web. Because of the growth of reliable and omnipresent technology, the source says, work will be more flexible and no longer require individuals to commute to a company's office.

It isn't just HR professionals who will have to change to adapt to this new model: the report, which included the inputs of 26 different specialists from around the world, posits that multiple departments will evolve as expectations shift.  For example, working environments will need to be more collaborative, and health and wellness services will have to help employees "avoid technological burn out."

One of the authors of the report, Marie Puybrand, told IT Web that the digital world will be a guiding influence for what HR needs to accomplish by 2040.

"Knowledge workers by 2040 will be a different workforce surrounded by digital solutions and immersed in a world where technology surrounds their services," she said. "HR will need to adapt to a workforce which has a choice. Managers will need to manage a dispersed workforce of digital workers."

This timeline is obviously a ways into the future and not entirely certain, but companies may still want to prepare for a world where the ease with which an employee can accomplish work is guaranteed.

A new HR software implementation could be necessary to support a different payroll model for the more mobile employee base. Even offices that just manage a lot of remote workers need to take a second look at the way they process and assess their compensation practices.