There is a lot of jargon out there around “the future of work”. What does it really mean for businesses?
There is a lot of buzz around trends like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, remote working, agile working, augmented reality (AR) and various other new concepts. As technology improves we have new opportunities to automate tasks.
If we leverage new technology effectively, it will free us up to focus on other tasks. Understanding the future of work involves understanding how automation will play out and how that will affect the way we work in the years to come. There are two levels of automation at play. Assisted Intelligence, where systems and technology help us to perform a task. A good example is how GPS helps us to navigate to a destination. Autonomous Intelligence is where the technology takes the task off our hands entirely. For example – a driverless car, which navigates itself to its destination without any input from a human driver.
In any business, some tasks are completed by people and some by machines / technology. The future of work is concerned with the ever-increasing amount of work that needs to be done and the fact that work is becoming more complex. For example, due to increasing levels of regulation, businesses need to comply with increasingly complex rules such as GDPR or changes to taxation. Rather than hire more and more people, which is expensive, businesses need to leverage technology in order to get everything done, while still managing costs So, the future of work is all about machines and technology taking repetitive tasks off our hands so that we are freed up to do the work that machines aren’t good at. This includes leadership, creativity, innovation and collaboration. In order to make this transition successfully, businesses need to become learning organisations. In a learning organisation, the firm needs to focus on nurturing talent and developing new skillsets in order to create a more successful business. The future of work looks set to be interesting, challenging and full of opportunity, for those who embrace change.