Are machines tools that increase the productivity of workers?
Or are machines turning into workers and taking away jobs?
The rise of artificial intelligence and smart machines have transformed many sectors of society from healthcare to education. In the last 5 years, the world of work has changed dramatically. As technology advances and more jobs become susceptible to automation, one solution is to offer workers more education and training so that they can step into new and higher-skilled roles. On the other hand, there are also critics who argue that whatever we learn now will be irrelevant and insufficient for what is to come in the future. It is estimated that by 2025, we will lose our jobs to automation. While it is true that no one can correctly predict what jobs will look like in the future, we know that the future is not just about technology. It is about the people. What are some strategies or practices we can adopt now to ensure that we are prepared for the future?
1. Embrace a digital culture at work
Every industry must adapt and adopt digital tools which includes mobile devices, chatbots and smart technology to boost productivity and remain competitive. We have access to more information than before, but this can mean that the relevant information can be hard to find. Today’s workplace has also evolved from a physical space occupied by workers during office hours to an interconnected environment with instant access by everyone at anytime and anywhere. In order to achieve success, companies should ensure that they are investing in the right technologies that are beneficial for their business, whether it is cloud computing, data analytics or virtual assistant technologies. It is important to identify which areas technology change is needed most and ensure that they help you achieve your business goals.
In addition, harness current technology to optimise workflows. Employees spend 20 to 30 percent of their working hours on repetitive tasks and answering the same kind of questions. Chatbots and virtual assistants can help to offload employees from menial tasks and help them focus on more critical assignments. There are also bots designed to help employees in their work. For instance, creating a construction chatbot can help engineers on construction sites where it is not easy to assess data from a single source. A chatbot can consolidate questions on project schedules, machinery list and safety regulations and assist engineers and site supervisors in their daily workflow.
2. Invest in lifelong learning
To avoid becoming obsolete, we must continue to learn, not just in a classroom or formal learning settings. Education and work will become intertwined in the process of deepening foundational skills while staying on top of evolving work trends. The job requirements of tomorrow will be unknown, so rather than think in terms of job-specific skills, work on skills that will enable you to adapt and be resilient to change. To a large extent, you will be “learning by doing”. Embrace opportunities that push you out from the comfort zone and be open to all possibilities. Stay ahead by keeping on top of current changes and trends relevant to your professional by reading reports, participating in online discussions, listening to podcasts and attending networking events. It is your responsibility to ensure that your skills and knowledge are up to date.
3. Adopt a growth mindset
More than ever, our careers require us to be adaptable. Rather than say “I am not a maths person, so I should stay away from jobs that require analytical skills”, recognise that everyone has the capacity to learn and grow. The most important reason that keeps most people from achieving their goals may be their innate beliefs about their potential. Research shows that up to 375 million workers worldwide will need to change roles or learn new skills by 2030.
Thus, if you want to stay current in the future of work, you need to adopt a growth mindset. Whether you are in your first year with your company or an established employee, with a growth mindset, the opportunities to learn will abound and you will find yourself more open to new opportunities. You will also be more likely to achieve the skills improvement and professional development goals you have set out for yourself.
For instance, when you have completed a project, ask for feedback on what you can do to improve, not just whether it was good or bad. Analyse the areas that could have been improved or alternative paths you could have taken.
A growth mindset not only help you thrive in difficult situations, but it will make you resilient in ever-changing times.
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In conclusion, we are inundated with new apps and social media platforms every day. And they keep changing. Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for many people as technology advances. We do not know for sure if smart machines will outperform workers and create mass unemployment or make available better health care and education for all. What are you doing today to avoid becoming obsolete tomorrow?
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