The future of technology and its impact on the workforce
"The business changes. The technology changes. The team changes. But the problem isn't change, per se, because change is always going to happen; the problem, rather, is our inability and willingness to cope and adapt with change when it comes," Kent Beck, software engineer and author of the Agile Manifesto.
That change is coming. In fact, it is already here.
The current rate at which technology is transforming society is unparalleled, and its effects on the workplace are no exception. Recent developments in technology, such as artificial intelligence, Machine Learning (ML), 5G, and edge computing, are revolutionising the way we do business and work.
In your roles as CEOs and company leaders, you need to anticipate changes and make smart choices regarding the future of your workforce. This forward-thinking, future-proof approach is vital to ensuring your company, and all your people can maximise the exciting opportunities that are just around the corner.
In the following article, we will provide you with an overview of where technology is right now and where it's headed, highlighting the most important trends and providing insightful forecasts about how they'll affect the workplace.
Most importantly, we'll give you some tips on how to start preparing for the future of work right now.
Technologies trends impacting the future of work
Companies of all sizes are embracing technological advancements in an effort to boost workplace effectiveness, productivity, and creativity. There are now more ways than ever before for businesses to connect with consumers, cooperate with partners, and develop innovative new goods and services thanks to technological advancements like cloud computing, big data, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things.
Here's a look at the technological developments having the most significant impact on the way we work:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
When combined, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the ability to automate many mundane activities and pave the way for new types of labour.
Data analysis, customer care, and even some sales and marketing tasks are just some of the daily operations that can be delegated to AI and ML algorithms.
AI and ML won't replace humans. Instead, they will help us work better.
AI and ML systems can automate tedious activities, freeing up human workers to do more creative and meaningful work. They can also help humans make better decisions by providing insights and information. For example, these smart algorithms can analyse massive volumes of data, revealing insights that would elude the human mind.
AI and ML may also help humans with strenuous activities like repeated actions or complicated computations, meaning people work more comfortably, reducing injury risk and increasing job satisfaction.
Business executives and CEOs that use these technologies and integrate them into their workforces before competitors will create a more efficient and effective workforce.
Remote work technology
The pandemic lockdown speeded up the move towards remote work, with many businesses implementing new technology to allow workers to get the job done from anywhere.
Video conferencing and other collaboration technologies, as well as cloud-based project management systems, helped businesses overcome physical distance and build more adaptable, responsive teams.
As telecommuting and other remote technology become even more widespread, it will undoubtedly alter the professional landscape in important ways. Companies will be able to tap into a larger talent pool, recruiting the best people for the best job from anywhere in the world. They will also be able to build more diverse and inclusive teams.
Edge computing and 5G
5G networks and edge computing present organisations with exciting new possibilities to boost productivity and dependability.
Edge computing puts computational power closer to the end user, lowering latency and enhancing performance, while 5G networks offer faster and more dependable communication.
Companies may now build more connected and smarter workforces with the help of these technologies, opening up new avenues for creativity and progress in the workplace.
Automation via robotics
Robotic automation is another technology revolutionising the workplace, with applications across a wide range of sectors. Robots are being employed in many industries, from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and retail to automate mundane jobs. Companies will be able to increase productivity, save expenses, and drive innovation as robots and automation technologies continue to develop in the years ahead.
We live in a digital world. Every successful business needs a strong online presence and a robust digital infrastructure to deliver services and information.
This has opened up a vast number of opportunities, allowing local businesses to target global markets and audiences. However, it's also made businesses of all sizes more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches, making cybersecurity a pressing issue in the modern digital era.
As technology continues to drive change in the workplace, businesses must take precautions to ensure the security of their information systems and data. Protecting your business and people from online dangers requires taking precautions, like delivering training to staff, staying up-to-date, and investing in security tools.
The current state of technology adoption in the workplace and its effects on employees
Here's a look at the kind (and sizes) of change we can expect to see in the coming years.
The cloud is getting bigger and bigger...
The cloud infrastructure services industry is expected to generate $44 billion by the end of 2023, according to research by Synergy Research Group.
The AI and ML economy
PwC projects that AI will add up to $15.7 billion to the global economy by 2030.
Remote work will continue to be part of the new normal
Gartner estimates that by 2024, more than 40% of workers will be able to do some or all of their jobs remotely, up from 30% before the epidemic.
Automation will create more jobs, not less
According to research by the World Economic Forum, 133 million new jobs will be produced by 2025 to compensate for the 75 million jobs lost to automation.
Upgrading and retraining are critical
According to research by the World Economic Forum, more than half of all workers will require reskilling by 2025. These numbers show how important it is for company executives to anticipate the effects of technology advancements on their staff.
Businesses that engage in reskilling and upskilling programmes and embrace new technology will thrive in the dynamic markets of the very near future.
The benefits of being an early technology adopter
It's hard to overstate the importance of adopting new technologies and embracing change. To say that it could be the difference between future success and total failure is not an exaggeration.
John Thomas Chambers, the former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, explains:
"At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don't figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies."
You need to move fast and adapt quickly. And here's why...
Gain a crucial advantage over the competition
A survey by Accenture indicated that early adopters gain a massive competitive advantage, with a median gain of 6.9% in terms of revenue growth.
A survey by McKinsey & Company found that early adopters of technology experience an average productivity improvement of 3-4%, compared to non-adopters.
Increase customer satisfaction
A survey by Gartner indicates that early adopters report an average gain of 10% in customer satisfaction compared to non-adopters.
Improved employee satisfaction
A survey by Deloitte revealed that early adopters of technology experience an average gain of 8% in employee satisfaction compared to non-adopters.
Early adopters report a 5-6% revenue increase compared to non-adopters, according to a Harvard Business Review study.
The challenges of adopting new workplace technologies
Adopting new technology in the workplace provides several benefits, including increased efficiency, higher production, and lower expenses. However, there are several challenges to overcome.
The deployment of new technologies may involve substantial expenditure and investment, as well as adjustments to existing processes and systems.
Additionally, adopting new technology can lead to job displacement, requiring individuals to reskill and upskill to stay relevant in the changing work environment.
Companies that want to invest in innovative workplace technologies must also invest in their people. This requires a culture of change and continuous improvement within the business and significant financial investment to cover the cost of skills and knowledge training, including flexible work arrangements that allow people to learn the new skills they need.
The expert angle
Famous business executives and CEOs recognise the necessity of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and its influence on the workforce.
Here's what some of today's most successful leaders and CEOs have to say about the importance of embracing change and tech innovation.
"The greatest way to anticipate the future is to invent it," Alan Kay, computer scientist and inventor.
"We are moving from a world where computing power was rare to a place where it now is nearly infinite, and where the ever-growing capacity of computation can be harnessed to produce value in new and unexpected ways," Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz.
"Technology is not only a tool but a catalyst for transformation in every area of business," Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.
"Every industry and every organisation will have to transform itself in the next few years. What is coming at us is bigger than the original internet, and you need to understand it, get on board with it, and figure out how to transform your business," Tim O'Reilly, Founder & CEO of O'Reilly Media.
Recommendations for CEOs and business leaders: how to prepare for the future of work
As a CEO or company leader, you should:
- Stay updated about the newest technical breakthroughs in your sector and implement new technologies that can create a competitive edge.
- Invest in reskilling and upskilling programmes for your staff to help them adapt to new technology and work procedures.
- Implement effective cybersecurity procedures to safeguard your systems and data from cyber-attacks.
- Foster a culture of innovation that encourages your staff to adopt new technology and work practices.
- Prepare your people for change. Encourage them to embrace it positively, seeing the adoption of workplace technology as an opportunity to grow, learn, and augment their skillset.
- Embrace remote work and other flexible work arrangements to develop a more agile and diversified staff.
Technology is reshaping the workplace at an unprecedented rate. By remaining updated about the newest advancements, investing in reskilling and upskilling programmes, and embracing new technologies that give a competitive edge, company leaders can prepare for the future of work and remain successful in an ever-changing business landscape.
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