The future of work is upon us
“The future of work consists of learning a living”
Marshal McLuhan, Canadian Scholar
The last two decades have brought unprecedented change, and technology has evolved into so many aspects of our daily lives. Whether we’re asking Alexa to play us a tune, using our phone’s weather app to avoid a downpour, or marvelling at how our social media is filled with ads for things we were just chatting about, we’re embracing new technology every day, often without even realising it! We’ve quickly changed the habits of a lifetime because we’ve seen the benefits technology brings to our everyday lives.
This is exactly the approach we need to be taking to technology in our working lives, too. We need to continually learn and embrace advances in technology to improve our working lives as much as it does our everyday lives.
Let’s firstly address the elephant in the room: the future of work isn’t about ‘the robots taking all our jobs’. The reality is that the advances in automation and AI are designed to make our lives easier. In the words of Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, “these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people”.
Through the power of technology, our workforce can move on from task-based roles to skill-based roles, helping businesses to innovate and move forward at speed. And we need to inform and engage our employees in the benefits that advances in technology can deliver in order to make any digital transformation successful and avoid the friction and fear of change.
Humans are still the most valuable business asset and technology complements the work we do by automating mundane, repetitive tasks and making collaboration easier than ever. With the right technology strategy in place, we’ll all have more time to focus on making a positive impact using skills that robots can’t replicate, like our imagination, emotional intelligence, determination and compassion. Best of all, advances in technology mean we may even have some more time to breathe in our working day! This is the future of work that benefits everyone.
Watch this on-demand webinar to find out more.
Find out more, on-demand
In this engaging 45-minute session, we delve into the factors driving the future of work, including:
- The Consumer-led era:
Today’s consumers are more digitally savvy than ever before and the likes of Amazon and Uber have shaped a nation of consumers who expect fast, personalised experiences which require no human interaction. Our expectations are high, and businesses need to meet them or risk falling off the face of the earth, like so many long-established brands that we’ve seen disappear in recent years.
Not only this, but the customer journey and decision to buy is no longer controlled by businesses. Instead, consumers turn to influencers, peer reviews and the wealth of information at their fingertips to help them to decide to buy. To have a fighting chance in this new battleground, customer experience is everything, and businesses have to fundamentally change how they work to keep delivering the best experiences: from how they communicate and interact with customers to how they deliver services 24/7/365. The ones doing it well are the early adopters of a technology-first approach to business.
- Employee empowerment:
Like consumers, employees expect modern working environments and the best technology to do their job. But the biggest change in employee expectations is for flexible working. Technology makes it easy for us to achieve the same level of work from home as we would in an office environment – perhaps even more because we’re away from the usual office distractions. Demands for flexible working, part-time roles and contract work will continue to grow as businesses and workers recognise the benefits. Business not offering the right technology to enable their workforce to work at their best will fail to attract or keep the best talent.
Candidates can quickly determine from their first interaction with you whether your technology lives up their expectations. If the recruitment process doesn’t reflect that of a progressive, digital-enabled business, you’ll turn off the digital-first generation. Your onboarding processes may say more about your business to a new recruit than anything else, so you need to think about delivering experiences that appeal to the next generation of employees. As we’ve already said, you can’t demonstrate a people-first approach if you don’t have the technology to meet the demands of the digital generation.
- The pace of change:
As discussed earlier, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented rate of change in the last couple of decades, and there’s no sign of this slowing down. Predicting what customers need isn’t as simple as asking them anymore because customers may not know what they’ll need next. The most disruptive businesses we see today have been borne out of customer frustrations. Look at the growth of businesses like AirBnB, PurpleBricks and Uber eats. All met a need that addressed frustrations in long-established industries that just hadn’t moved with the times.
To remain relevant, we need to become experts in what our customers need versus what is available today. Look at address current pain points and identify future needs, then find the technological solution that can meet them. As Steve Jobs put it ‘You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.’
- Business scalability, risk and resilience:
Using technology to automate menial tasks allows companies to scale without increasing headcount, while increasing productivity, cutting cost inefficiencies and making the business more agile. But using technology to support functions across the business comes with significant business risk. What happens when things go wrong?
We only have to look at the example in the press recently about TSB spectacularly failing to manage the risk of moving to a new data platform, resulting in millions of customers being locked out of their accounts. It’s hard to imagine a business like that not having procedures in place to thoroughly test new technology before rolling it out, but they did, and so do many more. And not forgetting BA, who’s been plagued with issues relating to the stability and security of its systems.
As technology becomes the foundations on which businesses run, there is no room for corner-cutting. IT leaders must be central to strategic decisions and drive the design and planning of solutions, not just the IT implementation. IT teams need to become enablers with a deep understanding of business priorities. This is something we’ve made central to our services and Karl will be showing you some interesting examples of how to reduce risk through the clever use of technology in his demos.
The webinar includes some simple jargon-busting around the many facets of automation and Artificial Intelligence, and then we lead onto the priorities and pitfalls of preparing for the future of work, such as:
- closing the divide between IT and the business
- getting your strategy right
- engaging your workforce to reduce friction
- managing data and platform sprawl
Finally, you’ll see some interesting use cases that show the power of automation and AI to improve ways of working, customer experience and productivity.
It’s definitely worth grabbing a coffee and watching it at your leisure.
The future of work is now
The future of work is one of the hottest topics in business today and we’re excited to be a part of a revolution in ways of working!
We’d like to leave you with one final thought on what the future of work means to us all:
No matter what business you’re in, you’re ultimately delivering an experience to people, whether that’s through products or services, and whether it’s to consumers or employees. The likes of Amazon and Uber have shaped our expectations for super-fast, technology-driven, automated experiences and our expectations are higher than ever. Companies that are not meeting expectations are disappearing at an alarming rate as experience is the only true