Preparing for digital transformation of the workplace

The 20th century office space is non-existent. Hand completed tasks and standing at the photocopier are now images of a previous era. The future of our office is now in the digital world.

In July 2019, Amazon announced its plans to spend $700 million to train 100,000 workers in the US by 2025 and support them to move into highly skilled work. The reason for spending this large amount is because Amazon has accepted that the advances we are seeing in AI and IoT, will soon be able to outperform a number of jobs currently completed by humans.

The Harvard Business School, supports such business led initiatives and agrees that companies are facing a lack of clarity due to the various forces of change that are required to prepare for the future of the workplace. 

It is predicated that by 2030, the global labor force – accounting for an estimated 3.5 billion people – could be led by knowledge workers with disruptive skills working alongside AI. From this increasingly likely scenario, questions arise: How do we create resilient workers in this new environment? And, what are the strategies and solutions for the digital workforce of the future?

The effects of an AI and machine learning based economy will inevitably be transformative for the future of work, yet it’s still important for company executives and business owners to begin preparing both themselves and their employees for the future.

Training of employees via gamification

As aspects of companies progress along with the latest trends and technologies, so too must your inter-company development and training. By gamifying this training, it would enable more engagement, better teaching and also ensure that employees are retained. Gamification can make the learning process easier, more interesting and faster for employees, in turn, making it more efficient for you to roll out new systems and processes. An article in BW, says that gamification works on both the cognitive and affective parts of the human brain.

Stop asking for hardcopy resumes

The outdated paper wasting black and white CV is now a relic of the past – or at least it should be. Why not ask candidates to have or create an online portfolio which showcases their skills, certificates and accomplishments deemed a requirement for the position you wish to fill. Pay specific attention to those employees with a more update and robust presence on professional social networking platforms such as LinkedIn. This demonstrates awareness that they have embraced being a part of the digital workforce.

Forget the idea of all your employees “coming in” to work.

Yes, we know this is a controversial one but the research shows the productivity is higher in terms of both quantity and quality when employees work from home or in a place of relaxation. Look at your business model and try to accommodate the office for those who wish to telecommute. The best talent may not be within driving distance of your brick and mortar location. They could well be in a different city or even country and possess the perfect skills that you dream of having on your team. Don’t limit the possibilities and exclude them. In 2018, the Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey which reported that of 6,500 executives worldwide, around 40% of respondents said they expected freelance workers to account for an increased share of their organization’s workforce over the coming five years. And 50 % agreed that corporate adoption of gig platforms would be a significant or highly significant trend.

Encourage corporate wellness through wearable devices

A study conducted by research company Tractica suggests that by this year, more than 75 million wearable devices will infiltrate the workplace. It’s possible to take advantage of this growing popularity and incentivize your employees to lead healthier lives in and out of work. Give particular attention to data privacy on wearables before you adopt them and then consider opting in to wellness programs and rewarding monetarily for hitting key wellness milestones.

Prepare your human workforce for digital labor.

A recent study by The World Economic Forum suggests that even though 75 million jobs could be displaced by 2022 as a result of the increasing presence of machines and algorithms, this trend is expected to create about 133 million new roles. It is important to understand that these roles will include a variety of new positions as well as ones that have evolved from previous ones. It’s also worth training your workforce to think of AI not just as a tool to use, but in certain cases, as a kind of coworker of sorts with some key strengths (as well as some noteworthy weaknesses).