Many business leaders have worries about a Future Workplace. With digital trends shaping how companies are run, how competitors get ahead, and how consumers behave – the evolution of technology and its impact can be overwhelming.
The world is changing faster than many business leaders realise, and Digital Transformation is changing workplaces across the globe. IWG reports that 70% of people around the world work remotely at least once a week, 53% work remotely at least half of the week and many billion-dollar companies exist without office spaces – sometimes even without email. For those who entered the workforce with a nine to five mentality, these changes can be confusing – and concerning. However, advances in technology should be seen as a way to better businesses, not inhibit them. Technology has proven time again that, when used correctly, it can reduce costs, improve productivity, increase competitive advantages, and bolster security. Artificial intelligence and other technologies have also been found to drive more meaningful connections within the workplace, encouraging colleagues to collaborate and communicate in more creative ways as the menial day-to-day tasks are reduced thanks to machine learning and AI.
Many business leaders worry that encouraging a Future Workplace will lead to confusion in the organisation with workers unsure of how to adopt new innovations or improve their work in alignment with digital technologies. This, however, is not the case. The USC Marshall School of Business conducted a study that found that 37% of employees would share their ideas for innovation and automation if they believed they would be able to do different work as a result of the technology implemented – and that such work would not infringe on their employment status. However, when employees believed that technology would make their job better – their desire to share innovative ideas jumped to 87%. Worry about a Future Workplace is not restricted to a lack of communication, however.
There is still mistrust when it comes to Digital Technologies. AI is used daily – driving movie recommendations, fraud alerts, shopping trends, and so much more. People are beginning to work side-by-side with machines in what Forbes describes as a new “Industrial Revolution”. Organisations need to learn to embrace these changes, not resist them. Using Digital Technologies to create a Future Workplace will facilitate meaningful success, and companies who embrace harmonious relationships between humans and digital technologies are those that will thrive in a modern marketplace.
Worry about a Future Workplace can lead to companies missing out on the ability to leverage technology to their benefit. Michael Hammer wrote in the Harvard Business Review that “we should reengineer our businesses: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance”.
How can a company do this? To meet the need for innovation and Digital Transformation, business leaders can:
- Examine the relationship between job performance and the goals of their business and understand how technology can improve upon and innovate their existing strategies – rather than replace them.
- Understand that automation does not mean replacement. Robotic processes should support human function and enable higher levels of productivity within the workplace.
- Optimise work with cost-effective, secure strategies that are relevant to a company’s long and short term goals.
The clash of humans and technology is a myth, and worry about a Future Workplace should be limited to concerns about finding the right solution to meet a company’s specific needs. Businesses in a digital era should be embracing innovation and must do so to succeed in a modern market.