The World of Work is Changing Fast - how will it look in 35 years?

Reflecting on how the workplace has changed and will do so in the future, Dale Edwards, Non-Executive Director of Crisp Professional Development gives his thoughts.

Artificial Intelligence Crisp Professional Development

"For those not old enough to remember, back in the 1980’s the workplace looked completely different to today. The filing cabinet and yellow pages were our internet, the rolodex was our LinkedIn, the rotary dial phone were our iPhones and our local pubs and sports clubs were our Facebook.

So if that was 35 years ago, what will the workplace look like in other 35?  If the past is anything to go by, the future could change beyond all recognition. The development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation will arguably be the driving forces. AI, best described as the study of machines that can imitate or even replicate human intelligence, is starting to revolutionise the way we shop and the way we work, learn and play.

As technology and computers advance, robots that collaborate with people in the workspace will become increasingly common. Globally, this has and will continue to result in millions of jobs every year being replaced by technological advances. A visit to your local supermarket is a perfect and very visible example with more and more self-service tills being installed, leading to job losses and re-deployment.

People will increasingly be freed from roles that are monotonous and repetitive and move into more skills-based roles, both technical and soft skills. The World Economic Forum commented in 2016 that 50% of today’s workforce activities will be automated by 2055. Whether the figure turns out to be true or not, there will undeniably be significant impact, or some might argue a revolutionary impact in the world, the way we work and society.

Business owners and leaders will need to embrace change to survive and thrive as the pace of this technological change continues to accelerate. It is becoming increasingly critical for leaders to show resilience, flexibility, adaptability and most importantly to do things differently to add value, whilst being true to core values of the business.

I believe that it is imperative that business owners grow their own and their teams’ competences including emotional intelligence, communication, influencing and customer service skills, so they can think more creatively.

Whilst some commentators talk about how the demand for cognitive skills will decrease and be offset by increasing emotional and social skills, my personal view is that this is too simplistic a viewpoint as every business is different in terms of size, culture, sector, customer base and structure.

In conclusion, what is clear, is that the workplace will continue to evolve at a faster pace and businesses must prepare and act sooner rather than later, before the competition, wherever it may be in the world, overtakes you or swallows you up".

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