Dave Rees, Senior Manager at SThree PLC, discusses the Future of Work and how the growth in tech is transforming the workplace.
When I started out on my career path I was told that there was only one constant in business – change. And that’s still as relevant as ever, as we continue to go through possibly the greatest, most rapid period of change ever.
Different generations in the workplace and changing attitudes to work are challenging businesses like never before.
But the key to overcoming those challenges is the use of tech.
We’re already seeing a huge growth in companies using artificial intelligence (AI), Cloud, and mobile apps to modernise and transform their businesses. And tech will continue to grow and play an even more important part in the workplace of the future.
But there are still a lot of scare stories out there about how robots will take people’s jobs. This was perhaps reflected in a study by Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC), which found that 37% of people are worried about automation putting jobs at risk.
Tech should not be something that people fear. It should be a real advantage, not only to businesses but to the people who work in those businesses.
Changing with tech
In the Future of Work, tech will allow people to focus on the most important parts of their jobs, taking away the need to manually carry out the more mundane tasks. This will be beneficial to clients, candidates, customers and workers. And it will make jobs more exciting.
When we talk about the changing attitudes to work, the ability to work flexibly and remotely is high on many people’s agendas. Collaboration apps, such as Microsoft Teams, where people can discuss projects, solve problems and post updates on work, can help facilitate these types of working arrangements.
Being involved in project work is another thing that people want, and again tech is vital to making that happen, with apps that allow people to stay connected wherever they are in the world.
What are the challenges?
I’ve been on a few panels discussing the Future of Work and the discussions have always come back to the change of generations and the requirements of each in the workplace. When I visited Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle earlier this year, they told me that one of the biggest challenges that companies face, is having five different generations in the workplace.
With such a diversity of generations, implementing tech and rolling-out change can often be really challenging but taking the time to learn new skills can have a real benefit and add real value to the workforce.
The other major challenge is that if you’re in a job doing basic tasks that a machine can do, you’re at risk. It’s really important in that scenario that you develop your skills and keep them relevant.
Are you capable of learning the skills that will help you advance in a more tech-savvy environment?
For many, the answer will be ‘yes’ but others will dread this. To those who are apprehensive about the future, I will say this - humans are incredibly adaptable and the human brain is amazing.
But while much of the focus is on personal development, there is also an obligation for schools to increase their focus on STEM skills and take responsibility for preparing people for the future.
Embracing the Future of Work
We should all have a positive viewpoint on the Future of Work. I truly believe it is driven by health and happiness but it’s also about focusing people on tasks that they can excel in and enjoy doing.
As we introduce new tech, we have a responsibility to consider people’s wellbeing and if tech can make jobs more exciting and flexible then that’s a real victory.