As automation becomes the new norm, digital transformation is reshaping the way workplaces function. Artificial intelligence, IoT and Robotics have slowly taken over the tasks that were once performed manually. Fortune predicts that 40% of the jobs humans do will be taken over by AI in the near future. Tasks that were once considered skills for humans (driving or diagnosing diseases) are already dominated by automation. More innovative technologies continue to provide humans with online services via chatbots and AI powered tools.
Dave Waters (founder of coursera, a 28 million user platform), was quoted as saying "Predicting the future isn't magic, it's artificial intelligence.”
Thus, we are bound to ask ourselves, Where is the future of work headed? Is technology going to put humans out of work? How can we prepare for it? Truth is, a lot depends on how the government, education system and businesses react.
Technology Trends Shaping the Future of Work
The world is in expansion mode while cloud computing and AI have created a metaverse in which technology rules. Humans are already dealing in cryptocurrency. Towards the next steps in the evolution, what are the main trends transforming the way the future of work unfolds?
Automation and its impact on job displacement
The jobs that are at most risk of being replaced are the ones that are highly repetitive and low on skill. Jobs with a lower risk of being replaced are high on creativity level and autonomy. Jobs with social interaction will stay intact.
Collection and processing of data are also jobs that are performed better and faster by machines. This means labour work and back office positions (accounting and transaction processing jobs) will most likely go to the machines.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR/VR is transforming the way workplaces function. AR has the ability to allow numerous industries to work in collaboration while being remote. AR can provide guidance to education, manufacturing, fashion or defence industries. AR/VR technology is already quite famous amongst people as AR is easily accessible on smartphones and people have gotten comfortable with the technology by using it in games and television.
The Internet of Things and its impact on job efficiency
IoT has been improving business productivity by making efficient use of resources. Use of IoT can substantially minimise expenses. Smart lights and heating systems bring energy costs down. IoT is capable of automating certain tasks that might affect jobs of some workers but IoT mainly helps in paving the way by creating new easier automated tasks for humans.
A good example is how manual labourers wear IoT devices on their bodies to detect the level of fatigue and optimise their workload accordingly.
Would you like to see how an app developed by Buuuk helped DB Schenker monitor employee health?
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning have the power to increase productivity at the workplace. It can create new jobs and increase the standard of living amongst us. Although, due to its own high performance, AI can also swipe away large chunks of available jobs for humans due to their repetitive and time consuming nature.
Blockchain technology and its impact on data security
Blockchain is a digital ledger which allows multiple parties to safely share documents without the risk of fraud or corruption. It is emerging as a helpful technology in the process of hiring new talent. Blockchain allows exchanging contracts in real time.
It also provides access to external talent as payments can be made worldwide. Audits can be done securely and with more ease as the auditor does not have to demand for paperwork. Everything is available online in real time. Blockchain keeps all the data safe and securely accessible.
The Benefits of Technology in the Workplace
As technology embed itself deeper into the structure of our workplaces, like the two sides to any coin, technology has shown signs of its own benefits and risks.
Benefits of technology in the workplace include:
- Increased productivity and efficiency- Due to the access to different tools and strategies to use, technology has a way of increasing productivity and efficiency. Latest technology can enable employees to stay on the edge with competing companies.
- Remote work capabilities- Technology improves the flexibility with which a workplace performs. Remote talent can contribute to a company's productivity because of the technological tools available in the form of tablets, smartphones and laptops. Using these tools also reduces time spent on each task.
- Improved communication and collaboration- The positive outcomes of technology are hard to ignore. Virtual communicative tools allow employees to communicate in numerous ways daily. Increasing efficiency and productivity. Saving the time to personally communicate each time.
Risks of technology in the workplace
Job displacement - The extent of damage technology can cause to humans losing their jobs can not be accurately predicted as the possibility varies from one job profile to another. WEF has cited that automation and technology can replace 85 million jobs by 2025.
Privacy concerns - The use of technology comes with a major downside: Theft. Your personal information can be manipulated. Viruses are used to damage security measures and steal personal information to be used for fraud.
Potential for addiction and burnout - Pandemic forced everyone to stay indoors glued to their screens, severely affecting our social skills and the ability to perform tasks without the use of technology. Technology addiction is as real as drug addiction. Unmonitored use of it can leave you overwhelmed and burnt out with the amount of information available upon a single click.
The Future of Work: Job Market and Industry Disruption
New technology aims to remove people from unsafe territories of a job and take over and automate repetitive tasks. The future contains fewer manual labourers and is full of highly skilled workers. Research says that technology will also enable newer roles but the overall figure of available jobs will definitely decrease.
Largely populated countries with low skilled workers would be the most in need to learn how they can gain technological advancement in their area. They would be in greater need to generate employment opportunities. Governments will play a big role in capitalising this technological change, managing the skills gap and promoting inclusivity.
The Role of Human Skills in the Future of Work
Apart from having the required skills in your field of work, the importance of soft skills in a working atmosphere is undeniable. These skills greatly help in creating high performing teams. The transformation towards technology has put these skills more in need than ever.
Soft skills can benefit you in any environment and job profile. They aren't restricted to one job and place. Hard/technical skills are easily measurable capabilities and are confined to the task specific job.
Having soft skills puts you at an advantageous position as connecting with your team on a deeper level results in a positive atmosphere in a workplace, less complications, more trust, collaborative approach and so much more.
The top soft skills to have in a technology dominant workplace are:
Preparing for the Future of Work: Recommendations and Best Practices
Thanks to the pandemic, the future of work is already here. Covid-19 accelerated the process of work redefinition. Remote and hybrid jobs are a normal thing in the present.
Warehouses, factories and grocery stores are switching towards automation of tasks by investing in robots. While on the other hand some organisations focused on worker-first approach by increasing hourly wages and improving their sick leave policies. These new policies continue to shape the new workplace.
Organisations should focus on preparing their workforce for the change and invest in their upskilling so they can retain their employees. It is good business sense only to provide new technology and training to your team. The companies can gain from their employees' performance boost.
Singapore started subsidising retraining and France having personal training accounts. These are prime examples of governments initiating programs to prepare their citizens for a world driven by technology.
Buuuk has been proudly operating since 2008 as a dedicated and fun loving team. Our shared goal is to work passionately towards innovation. We thrive to deliver quality and are driven by customer success. With our strong focus on end to end solutions through automation technologies, we have so far positively impacted the work of following industries:
An intervention is required from both government and private sectors to provide accessibility to everyone in future. They need to reform the economic and social policies. Society on a whole needs to focus on preparing its workforce to take part in new and high value ventures.
85% of the jobs in 2030 do not even exist yet. The world is evolving and nobody is there to stop it. There is no need to restrict yourself and not evolve with it. We need to adapt the view of continuous learning and reskilling.