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In the last decade, we’ve witnessed major changes in the way technology is used to help people complete tasks in the workplace. These advancements are affecting everyone, from white-collar knowledge workers to blue-collar factory workers. The following are some mega trends in work technology that is transforming the way we work now and into the future.
Work is no longer a place that you go – it is something that you do. As connectivity has improved, people have gotten used to the idea of working at home. However, workers in the future will have even more control. They will have the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, and with nearly any device. Work will no longer be confined to a specific time and place, and workers will have total control of their work schedules and environments.
There is fear surrounding how robots might replace many jobs and income inequality will rise. While it’s true that the job market will likely see increased segregation between high-skill, high-paying jobs, and low-skill, low-paying jobs, the jobs that are being replaced are giving rise to new positions. Although these new roles require further training, they also tend to be more fulfilling for workers.
When thinking about the future of work, one topic you cannot avoid is artificial intelligence (AI). AI is expected to cause workers to shift from mundane tasks to high-level, creative work. While AI won’t be used for decision making, it will be used to support the decision making process. AI presents relevant data that enhances your ability to make decisions. An example of an AI application used in the workplace is the chatbot, which is a computer program that can converse via textual or auditory methods. For example, chatbots can be used by companies to engage with customers and answer frequently asked questions.
We live in a world dominated by smart devices, including smart coffee pots, wristbands, and vacuum cleaners. Smart devices are becoming increasingly common in the workplace, changing our workspaces and the way we do work. For example, lights and thermostats turn off automatically every day at the end of the work day, saving on energy costs. Smart surveillance systems, locks, and doorbells tell you who is in front of the building at any time and give you peace of mind. Businesses can also keep track of their inventory in real-time and determine its exact location at any time using an internet-connected inventory control system.
The basis of any commercial enterprise is information, and today, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. Big data is a collection of data from both inside and outside your company that you can use for analysis. Many companies are good at collecting data but don’t know what to do with it. Translating mountains of data into actionable insights and smart decisions is no easy feat, but it can be done with the right solutions and strategies.
The question is not whether companies should embrace these trends but how fast they can do so.
Eventually, teams that are comprised of both human and virtual workforces will work together to complete the tasks to which they are best suited. Technology will allow human workers to move away from doing rote tasks and toward doing more engaging and thought-proving work. With technology, businesses also benefit from having a workforce that is available 24/7 and without the data entry and security risks brought on by the human workforce.