January 17, 2020
By Cecilia Amador
The future of work is now.
Already, we’re seeing how technology is revolutionizing the way people work and companies operate.
This is driving change across many areas, particularly the workplace and different organizational departments. This change is expected to continue in the coming years, however, there’s no time like the present to evaluate which changes are taking place and how they’re impacting the world of work.
While it’s necessary that we think of how jobs and workplaces will look like tomorrow, it’s also necessary that we evaluate jobs and workplaces today.
We’re still some way from having human robots in the workplace, but we’ve already reached a point where robots are enhancing human capabilities. So, what are some of the main ways technology is already impacting and reshaping work?
The Rise of Digital Hiring
Technology has not only given rise to the digital workplace, it’s also given rise to the way companies hire talent.
From hiring through social media to having algorithms scan resumes and applications, technology is making it easier than ever for companies to find the right talent — full-time, part-time, and on-demand positions.
German startup, Zenjob, is a good example of how tech is revolutionizing hiring for companies.
The platform is digitizing and automating the search process for temp jobs. The company states that it can fill more than 50% of all open job shifts within 7 hours.
Though the platform is currently available only for students, there are plans for it to expand its target market. According to Zenjob founder, Fritz Trott, their “technology allows for a speedy and accurate matching service.”
With just a click, students can book temp jobs through the app.
“The Zenjob service is entirely digital and automated. Zenjob takes care of all steps in the staffing process including signing contracts, employee insurance, payment and invoicing. Zenjob’s aim is a paperless hiring process, with all steps digitised, from booking to payrolling.”
This type of solution is not only convenient for organizations, but also for professionals. Having direct access to many temp jobs can provide individuals with more flexibility and control over their work life.
With the technology already widely available, smart buildings are increasingly popping up in cities across the world, both residential and commercial.
Smart buildings have already transformed the workplace.
The workplace experience has been proven to help companies attract, engage, and retain talent. Studies have confirmed that the physical workplace significantly impacts company performance. This is why many organizations are increasingly focusing on creating unique workplace experiences that place humans at the center of construction, design, layout, and operation.
Smart buildings are making it easier for organizations to offer such experiences. Not only do these buildings help reduce environmental footprints, but they also impact an individual’s overall wellbeing.
From smart lighting and temperature control, to door access and on-demand desk or meeting bookings, technology is giving people more control over their physical environments. At the same time, technology is providing organizations with insights on how people use and interact with their space. This data is highly valuable as it can help organizations make educated decisions on workplace design and layout.
Technology has impacted the built world so much that it has given rise to a new industry: PropTech.
Technologies driving the rise of smart buildings include: artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, big data, and analytics.
Human Robot Collaboration and High Value Tasks (AKA the digital workforce)
One of the most significant ways technology is reshaping work is through the creation of the digital workforce.
“A digital worker refers to technology — including artificial intelligence, intelligent process automation (including content intelligence), robotics, and augmented reality and virtual reality — that performs tasks, jobs, and activities previously accomplished by a human worker.”
Digital workers are already being deployed by some businesses, and the percentage of companies using them is expected to rise in the coming years, and for good reason.
Digital workers, rather than replace human beings, can enhance our individual capabilities, which can free up more of our time to focus on higher-value tasks.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
Previous research has found that digital workers can:
- Improve productivity
- Improve business operations
- Enable better decision making
- Improve customer and employee experience
- Reduce costs
- Mitigate security risks.
This last one is one of the most valuable benefits of this technology, as privacy and security are a key concern for businesses and employees alike.
Suggested Reading: “Key Tech Security Requirements Coworking Operators Should Implement”
New Job Descriptions, New Skills
While it is true that technology will eliminate some jobs, it is also true that it will create new ones. And plenty of them, might we add.
The 2018 World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report found that machines and algorithms were expected to displace 75 million jobs, but create 133 new ones; that’s 58 million net new jobs.
However, as humans delegate manual jobs to robots and machines we will need to learn and develop new skills in order to meet new job descriptions.
Just think about some of the technologies already in place today, like blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, etc. Some examples of new job roles and descriptions in the last couple of years include:
The Always On Culture
Because technology has given us the power to work from anywhere at anytime, it has also given us the “always on culture.”
Technology, as a Myers-Briggs report stated, is a double-edged sword. It’s empowered us, but to a certain extent it has also enslaved us.
Many people, including professionals, find it hard to switch off from work when they’re at home or with loved ones because the technology that enables them to work is always there, readily available.
The always on culture is impacting work because it affects workplace culture and it can lead to increased stress levels and burnout, which in turn can dampen productivity and performance.
Companies need to address this by nurturing a culture that encourages individuals to switch off from work when they’re at home, out of business hours, with family, or while on vacation. Not doing so can potentially have negative effects on a company’s overall performance.
The future of work is as much now as it is in the future. It’s crucial that organizations take a close look at how technology is already impacting their operations and their employees in order to be better informed and equipped for future disruptions.