How will you adjust your business to robotics? Will you have one of these in you garage?
The future of work will impact your enterprise?
Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist. Ten years before that, we didn’t have the Web. So who knows what jobs will be born a decade from now? Though unemployment is at a 25‑year high, work will eventually return.
But it won’t look the same. No one is going to pay you just to show up. We will see a more flexible, more freelance, more collaborative and far less secure work world. It will be run by a generation with new values — and women will increasingly be at the controls.
Chances are high that your top workplace education events did not take place in formal classrooms or eLearning course modules. In study after study, corporate education experts have found that between 70% to 90% of all workplace learning happens informally — from knowledge sharing and mentorship among project team members to casual break-room chats.
Digital has already delivered a major blow to businesses slow to respond. There’s more to come. The very concept of work is being redefined as different generations enter and exit the workforce amidst a rapidly changing technological landscape.
Responsive and responsible businesses must act to harness the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for long-term advantage and shareholder value. The new management imperative is clear. Create the future workforce now, but being mindful to put people first, at the centre of change.
Think about the two or three most meaningful learning experiences of your career. What did you learn? Where did you learn these lessons or skills and from whom? How did you come to realise that these would be among the most important learning experiences of your professional life? Now you have a starting point.
“The future looks extremely bright indeed, with lots of possibilities ahead — big possibilities. Like the song says, We’ve just begun”. Bruce Lee
Worldwide, you will consistently find that smaller organisations value informal workplace learning experiences far more than they do academic training and eLearning. And as it will be the small businesses and non-profits who will drive the future it is important to give them all the support we can.
Put simply, we all learn what we want to learn, and we learn best from our peers in the course of our daily experiences at work.
It’s not magic, and it’s not technology, it’s people who will create jobs and change the future of work. Technology won’t replace your problems; it won’t replace the deficiencies in your organisation, however, it can be a catalyst for change and creating new opportunities.
Robotics and automation will it lead to more jobs?
With advances in information technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence developing at a rapid rate, business, and workforce dislocations are happening now and are here to stay. As existing trends accelerate and irreversibly change the workforce as we know it.
Automation helps innovation flourish and brings cost savings for businesses, but it also displaces jobs. Over the last few decades, more and more elements of the workforce have or are on their way toward being automated.
However, with automation robotics and artificial intelligence, I believe innovation will surge and completely new jobs will emerge. One thing is for sure the way we work in our businesses will change dramatically.
By way of example, Amazon, who hasn’t been around for that many years, is one of the largest online retailers in the world. Besides selling goods and media directly to consumers through their website, they also provide a platform for other retailers to sell their products to consumers (more than 40% of the sales on their website come from third party sellers).
They complement their offerings to consumers with Amazon Prime, their subscription-based business model in which costumers pay a yearly fee to secure fast shipping on eligible items and have access to digital music, videos, among other media. They also have their own electronics product line, which includes their e-reader Kindle, Amazon Echo, among others.
“A human in the middle of the digital environment is still using age-old technologies like walkie-talkies. We need to digitise the human. Digitalization is not about removing people but about making operations safer and efficient. It will create new jobs but will change the type of jobs”. Michael Lefenfeld
They have changed the way people buy online, setting expectations on prices and quick delivery. In order to accomplish this, they have has invested in the latest technology available to create one on the most sophisticated logistics network worldwide.
Through technology and innovation, Amazon has made its more than 80 fulfilment centres highly automated, ensuring timely dispatch of their orders to consumers. Since introducing new technologies, the average time for finding something and boxing it for shipping has gone from an hour and a half to 15 minutes.
Is the future already here?
The Amazon example, while exciting, also reveal that we might be losing more than just jobs to automation. In many cases, businesses will benefit from efficiency while consumers may lose the personal human connection that so many still want. The human side of the equation is critical for a whole range of reasons, with jobs as the most important.
Many businesses and non-profit organisations are already changing the way they work which must have a big impact on the future of work.
The new working week is already starting to shrink, with four-day weeks becoming more common. Flexible working environments and working arrangements are already commonplace, and employers who don’t adopt them will miss out on attracting the best talent.
Working class and service sector jobs are not the only ones at risk. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have also begun to make automation of “knowledge work” possible.
Taken at face value, these technological advances are incredibly meaningful, and they will revolutionise our commercial interactions and expand possibilities like never before.
Most modern warehouses, of all shapes and sizes, have been designed around its robots to enable high levels of automation. These technologies can help increase productivity when combined with human labour. There are even dairy farms where the milking process is totally automated.
We don’t yet know what types of new potential jobs automation technologies and artificial intelligence will create that were unimaginable before the technology. But we do know that preparation, through training, education and ultimately encouraging flexibility in work environments leads to innovation and job creation.
Some of the signs of the future of work might include
The future of work is impacting us all personally, it’s impacting our businesses and it’s impacting the communities in which we live, and there is plenty of evidence to verify that the future of work is already here.
- Broadband is spreading like a disease.
- Cloud computing has greatly enhanced productivity.
- People are changing jobs much more frequently.
- Flexible working arrangements are being rapidly introduced.
- Casual work is becoming more popular than full-time work.
- Old style jobs have already started disappearing.
- Technology is automating work an unprecedented rate,
- The Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence are gaining traction.
- Driverless vehicles are gaining market share.
- Every day is a day of work/family choice.
- Families are demanding a better work/life balance.
- The structure of organisations is changing the nature of work.
- The concept of a ‘job’ is changing.
- The home-based business now exceeds 60% of all small businesses.
- Home offices are commonplace.
- Lifestyle businesses are on the rise.
- People want to own their own business is also escalating.
- It’s becoming easier to start and run a business.
What can you do to share the gains and alleviate the challenges
- Become more aware of the changes taking place in the world including the growth and movements in populations.
- Become more aware of the changes taking place in the businesses and non-profit organisations in your community and elsewhere.
- Become more aware of how the new technologies and big data can generate opportunities.
- Focus your attention on understanding what you are good at and what you like doing and then focus on your strengths. Start outsourcing what you are not good at.
- Take time to relax, think and reflect on all the problems and frustrations you have to deal with, so you can adjust your work and lifestyle to suit.
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I find that keeping a journal and writing every day helps me to understand and adjust to the new business environment we all have to cope with. While each entry you make in your journal might seem insignificant, you will find, as I have, that new ideas and opportunities tend to come to the fore as if by magic. When making entries and writing every day it becomes a good habit.
It will help you to be a person with a purpose and become almost obsessive about noticing ideas and opportunities for the future in everything you do.
Start changing the conversations you have about the future and listen to others as they unfold their stories about how they are adapting to the future.