People need an open mind towards digital technologies and change to be able to embrace the future of work
In the past several years, we have seen an explosion of technology solutions in every field of businesses, and the digital era only just started. What effect will digitalisation have on the future of work? From remote working and the internet of things to artificial intelligence and automation, the operational interpretation of the workplace is changing.
The desire of a different way of working
Over the last ten years the definition of ‘the workplace’ has known multiple identities. Nowadays it can almost mean anything. Flexible working allows us to even call the kitchen table a workplace. Research conducted by TUC in 2016 found that the number of people working from home has increased by a fifth in the last ten years. A survey carried out by YouGov in 2018 found that only 6% of employees are working the traditional 9 to 5, and that 70% of respondents desire to work more flexibly in the future, because it would improve their wellbeing and satisfaction at work. To match this desire for flexibility, companies need to develop a more mature target for their workforce, which enables employees to work at times they perform at their best. This period of digital transformation is a very exciting time for the innovators of the world. You can already see companies succeed; these organisations do not only think ahead of time, but also have a clear vision for the future, knowing exactly where they will stand in tomorrow’s world.
Changing the ball game with the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to make a difference. It is a transformational technology that changes the way we live our lives, especially in the working environment. Managers have just begun to spot the new possibilities created by IoT based systems and solutions and the enhanced efficiency and productivity that comes a long with it. Because IoT will enable workers to do more, in less time. A business owner is able to follow various operations that are being carried out at the workplace. From controlling and monitoring inventory to managing field service employees, IoT has the ability track & trace performance of people and processes. This data enables the human workforce to make intelligent decisions and to formulate new strategies or automation plans. And through this, ultimately grow the business.
Better focus through artificial intelligence and automation
The workplace is also changing significantly due to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. The terms ‘AI’ and ‘automation’ are often still used interchangeably. But there are some pretty big differences between automated systems and AI machines. The biggest difference is that automation mimics human actions, while artificial intelligence simulates human intelligence.
AI is a very potent piece of technology, and it has the potential to improve productivity, efficiency and accuracy across an organisation. One key unique characteristic of AI is that it can self-learn. Although this sounds scary, worry not. It is still software, and humans can control what it does. When we look at digital intelligence, artificial intelligence is at the top. When we look at effectivity and efficient ways of handling business processes, regular automation tools come to mind. Traditional automation tools are less intelligent, but very effective at what they do, with minimal implementation time. The most popular automation software is; Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation share some stigma’s on how it will negatively influence the human workforce. For instance that automation willcost a lot of jobs. While machines will become increasingly powerful, humans will actually be more essential. This is the conclusion of a recent RBC report on the labour market. Automation will simply act as a supporter and integrator. It allows companies to change the way of work, and explore more fields within the organisation. There is suddenly more room for promotion. An employee that used to perform administrative tasks can now focuson value-adding conversations with customers. Or employees can be retrained for new positions that are created through these digital technologies. The purpose of work changes as well, it becomes less about the financial motive and more about personal development. Creativity becomes something that every employee can utilise, making work more satisfactory. Digital transformation provides an organisation, and its employees with lots of growth opportunities. But what is most important is that the human capital is able to work where it can add maximum value. Not on repetitive dull tasks, but in areas where it matters.
Getting the most out of human capital with digital technologies
Digital technologies will definitely have a big impact on how the human workforce operates. But what we should try to do is embrace these technological changes, and create a hybrid workforce in which human and robot cooperate to create maximum value. Although these technologies will make processes more efficient, they will not eliminate our jobs. The importance of the human capital will increase, along with the satisfaction that jobs give us. Customers will be glad as well, because they can be provided with more personal help. Creativity becomes something employees have more time for as well. And although change is often scary, in this case it is for the best.