Automation in the workplace is a new reality. On a daily basis, technology is advancing, automation is changing jobs, and it is changing the very way we perform our roles. Bots and AI are impacting jobs across the economic spectrum. Here are four fundamentals of workplace automation that today’s businesses need to consider to stay competitive.
1. Redefining Jobs and Processes.
Workplace automation is changing the job market in more than one way. According to a study in McKinsey Quarterly Magazine in November of 2015, fewer than 5% of current jobs could be eliminated due to automation. At the same time, more than half of all currently existing jobs will be changed in some way. 60% of employees will see changes in their normal activities and routines due to automation of some kind. Almost all jobs are redefined in one form or another.
Business processes, or the way we go about our day to day tasks, will also change significantly with the onset of digital automation. Computers are processing routine paperwork, giving business people more time to focus on their customers and clients. In the health industry, many diagnostics can be automated. This improves accuracy and allows doctors to spend more time with their patients, and on particular cases.
2. What Happens to Creativity?
Core human experiences and capabilities can’t yet be automated, like feeling emotions and creativity. However, it turns out that workers spend very little time using these capabilities while at work. In fact, only 4% of U.S. jobs require any creativity, and only 29% require you to sense emotion. While this could be looked at as a sad commentary on modern work life, you could also say that automation may allow opportunities to provide more meaning to our work. Replacing repetitive tasks with automation allow workers come up with more creative solutions for clients. For example, a manufacturing engineer could spend less time setting up a laser welding contour on a new part and more time focusing on bringing new programs to market.
3. Changing How We Perform Activities.
In the study mentioned above, over 2,000 work related activities were analyzed in many different professions. They judged these industries using 18 different skills that could be automated. Additionally, with the help of newly developed technological resources, 45% of activities at work could be automated.
4. High-wage Impact.
It isn’t just low-wage workers who are impacted by automation. The top wage professions like lawyers, senior executives, physicians, and financial planners will also see their occupations change dramatically.
Lawyers can use text-mining technology to filter through thousands of documents at an incredible rate. This allows them to flag certain items for further review by their staff.
Sales people on the front lines can use automation to generate specifically targeted leads to spending their time more wisely, and reveal hidden opportunities for cross-selling.
CEO’s spend much of their time analyzing data, assigning staff, and reviewing reports. These tasks can all be automated with today’s technology.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, lower paid occupations such as nurses, construction workers, landscapers, and teachers have a very small percentage of their activities within their jobs that could be automated. Hourly wage rate by itself is not a good indicator of whether your job could be automated or not.
Management goals for the new reality include a firm understanding of the economics of automation, watching the speed of automation to be ready for change. These fundamentals apply to any industry.
Advanced robots and artificial intelligence are here, and they are changing how we strategize daily work operations. Workplace automation has the potential to redefine what we do and how we do it. It may, therefore, give us the opportunity to create more meaningful work and automate several distinct work activities. There is no doubt, however, that automation will have an impact on the high-wage job sector and embracing these fundamentals will be a large part of what shapes a company’s future.