The future of the workplace isn’t a new discussion. Ever since the (first) Industrial Revolution, leaps forward in technology and mechanisation changed what we do and how we do it. Today, we’re into what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And the same discussions are being had. But we shouldn’t be looking too far ahead to see how we might need to adapt. The truth is that we’re now past that point as the future comes full speed into the present. In this article, you will get to know more than just Robots: automation and the future of work.
The future of the workplace is already with us
We’re not living in a dystopian world dictated to by robots – that much is true. But automation is more than just robots. And it’s happening as we write this very article. While the giant arms that piece our cars together are perhaps the most overt example of automation in action, how about the smaller applications that have transformed lives and livelihoods?
Credit applications, financial administration, smart devices, comparison websites, and workflow management are just some of the everyday examples of automation that we aren’t necessarily switched on to. And there could even be an argument to suggest that automation is one reason why remote working has become such a practical success amid the Covid-19 lockdowns.
How will Covid-19 redefine our working habits?
As governments worldwide issued the call to stay at home, it forced employers to innovate and adapt. For smaller firms, it could’ve meant something as simple as selling online and managing payments electronically. For larger firms, there were more logistical challenges involved. But it didn’t stand in the way. And automation made it easier than we could’ve believed 10 years ago.
In manufacturing, for example, automation has many benefits. It can achieve social distancing while reducing operational downtime. Factory robotics and automation have been enhanced by the use of intelligent components such as DC motor controllers. Found in devices and machines such as pumps, fans, and industrial conveyors, they offer excellent accuracy and convenience.
Not only that, but this is what’s allowing for greater automation and remote operation in some of the leading industrial sectors; operated at the click of a mouse or touch of a button.
What next? Skills, wages, and affected sectors
The big question arguably is what this means for the human workforce – especially those roles that automation either threatens or has already replaced. It’s thought that at least one-third of activities in 60 percent of all occupations could be automated. And that will have a huge effect on the workers in those sectors – ranging from construction to facilities management.
Where there are threats, however, there are perhaps opportunities too. While positions lost to automation are often the topic of debate, there are roles being created too. As industries pivot and adapt to new ways of working, why not workers as well? History already shows technology as a ‘net creator’ of jobs. So, the future isn’t necessarily looking bleak for those affected at all.