By 2024, IDC predicts that 50% of jobs will be automated or at least they’ll have some form of AI assistance incorporated.
The new configuration of work is due to a great extent to the paradigm shift brought by the fourth industrial revolution. In Klaus Schwab words, “the fourth industrial revolution is not going to change what we do, is going to change us”. It will be the materialisation of a new vision for our society. This era is about maximising values and focusing on human capabilities development. Interconnectivity, disintermediation and the idea that cooperation across disciplines, geographies, cultures are the way to progress. We need to build new sustainable business models to create value.
Digital Transformation (DX) and the creation of digital workplaces
Digital transformation has made technology the enabler of people and processes in organisations. What started as the complement of the physical workspace has now become a defining part of it. The new workplace includes all the digital products that employees use to conduct their jobs like software, cloud services, AI etc. These digital products enable collaboration across departments and locations which in turn increase productivity.
With the exponential growth of data and the developments of new technologies, the digital workplace will continue to evolve. The main advantage of creating a digital workplace is the possibility to coordinate business processes and have people work more strategically. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 55% of executives consider organisational structure very complex and difficult to coordinate which makes them spend more than a quarter of their time dealing with complexity. More than two-thirds of the executives surveyed count on an 11% improvement in productivity if they cut complexity by 50%.
Why are digital workplaces successful?
Digital workplaces are more profitable and make smarter use of resources. The operational costs decrease considerably; communication happens online, there is no need for office spaces and the company reduces its footprint. Also, companies that are flexible and entrust collaborators to deliver excellent work without micromanaging them, attract more talented people.
Digital workers contribute to creating a world of abundance. Moreover, more importantly, it contributes to a more even distribution of resources worldwide.
Another advantage is creating a work-life balance for team members that are more productive working remotely. Additionally, it’s also easier to measure work effectiveness with digital workers because it’s easier to create a record of their activity, use data visualisation and analytics tools to map effectiveness. However, some workers could benefit from social interactions. Lots of people still find it valuable to meet face to face and agree on future strategies that could impact the work of the entire organisation. You should also consider eventual security and compliance problems, given the fact that all the work is stored in the cloud.
In the digital workplace, technology is the enabler. Digital workers have to be exceptional at planning and choosing the technology that best serves their needs.
To adapt to the new way of working, employees will have to upgrade their skills, to be on a continuous learning path. A report by the World Economic Forum states that by 2022 companies will be facing a “reskilling imperative” with 54% of employees in need of significant retraining. The future of work will be all about technical skills (technology design and coding) data analytics, innovative thinking, active learning and strategic thinking. Besides the technical skills, the ones that will make the difference in our capacity to innovate will be the “human” skills like creativity, persuasion, our capacity to take the initiative, resilience, flexibility and problem-solving. Leaders in the digital age are influencers, emotional intelligence literate with the ability to influence and persuade.
In conclusion, automation is the way to create a world of abundance. The advantages of creating digital workplaces are numerous. Perhaps one of the most significant is that we now have the means to close the inequality gap at the global level.