The world of work is in a state of flux as automation, digital platforms and other innovations transform the fundamental nature and future of work within businesses, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. How can businesses adapt to this changing world?
That was the question put to a panel of industry experts for a discussion on the “Future of Work – Adoption of Tech for the Evolving Workforce” at day two of UC Expo 2018 at London’s Excel today. The panellists included Generation Digital‘s Graham Mackay, Vodafone‘s Julian Wiggins, Cisco’s Mark Needham and Fuze’s Steve Dietz; chaired by the Technology Trends Group‘s Sara Uzel.
One of their key starting points was the changing face of today’s workforce. As Graham Mackay put it: “Millennials have a different set of expectations. University students are used to consumer products from Google and Facebook, and used to using tools in a collaborative way, not through email. There’s a gap needs to be bridged between the enterprise and the talent, who are used to mobile-first apps.”
Julian Wiggins added: “The digital workplace is tools-based and once you start deploying these tools, there is more work around architecture as you introduce a flexible-based workforce. People can have brief, ad-hoc conversations and go back to work where in the past it would have been done in a traditional meeting room due to the digitisation of the workplace.”
AI and automation working together with humans?
All the panellists agreed that there was a lot of fear-mongering taking place around AI and automation replacing human jobs. Vodafone’s Julian Wiggins argued that AI and automation will make employees’ roles better in the workplace without computers doing all the work previously done by humans.
The panel also argued that the inclusion of “flexible, mobile-first” services for millennials are the best way to go when designing the workplace for millennial employees. Cisco’s Mark Needham highlighted the process goes far beyond the recruitment stage when tech companies recruit new employees.
He said: “Young talent needs to be wowed. They need to have an intuitive experience and set of products that makes them proud to work in that company. Some 60% of workplace will be viewed as mobile by 2020. Equal opportunities and the opportunity to work in a style that suits them are key.”
Fuze’s Steve Dietz mentioned how patterns are being instantly created for employee working schedules, as well as meeting targets where machine learning is not coming in the future, it is happening now in the workplace with digital assistants.