AI and its impact on the future workplace. Are you ready?

Written by Angela Ferguson


Why young Aussies shouldn’t fear technology and three tips to embrace AI and prepare for the future of work

Technology has the potential to improve the physical design and management of our workplaces, increase digital interaction, support productivity and free up time that can be spend on high value, innovation led activities. Artificial intelligence (AI) is already an integral part of our everyday lives, often without us even realising it. Zoom for example, is an online communications platform that has built an AI tool that can extract information from video call transcripts to help people close deals. Marketing chatbots, social media monitors and smart assistants all use AI to streamline and create efficiencies in our daily lives and empower hybrid working.

Accelerated by the pandemic, businesses have become more reliant than ever on technology to remain agile, connect with clients and reduce unnecessary time spent on administrative tasks, leaving many employees wondering what will happen to their jobs in the next 10 years. Our research recently found that a quarter (24%) of young Australians aged between 18-24 years believe that artificial intelligence will replace parts of their jobs in the future, with more than 1 in 3 (37%) attempting to upskill in different areas to compensate for automation.

Technology is rapidly changing the future of work, offering businesses more cost-effective, time-efficient, and agile ways of functioning. However, this has made many employees, particularly young graduates, concerned about artificial intelligence eliminating their jobs in the future and reducing their earning potential. While technology can efficiently execute repetitive, well-structured, and mechanical tasks, most jobs require critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and stakeholder engagement which, unfortunately for robots, is not an aspect that can be replaced easily.

Our research also found that 1 in 5 (20%) Australians are upskilling in different areas as they prepare for AI and automation, with 1 in 10 (10%) considering a career change. However, some are sceptical of the changes, with over half of all respondents (52%) saying they didn’t believe that their jobs will be impacted by AI and automation. In open ended questions, several respondents saw a positive side to technology replacing aspects of their jobs, whilst others admitted that they feared AI intervention:

  • “There are certain elements of my job that will be automated. This is a positive improvement for my business and will mean I spend my time more productively.” Said 42-year-old CEO from Brisbane.
  • “I think we should all be very worried about artificial intelligence /robots. Very worried indeed.” Said a 48-year-old-Healthcare worker from Sydney.

There are however advantages for businesses and employees to embrace the benefits of technology and become more digitally agile to adapt to the future of work.

1. Implement AI to empower your workday

Between commuting to work, traveling to client or customer meetings, completing administrative tasks, and attending team meetings, many of us lose time on things we’d rather cross off the list.

Implementing AI to tackle the mundane and repetitive admin tasks, frees up time to spend on more fulfilling high value work which brings in revenue and creates business impact. The popularity of digital technologies like Siri, Alexa and other versions of ‘smart assistants’ can be attributed to many of their useful functionalities, but most predominantly their ability to save people time.

2. Use automation to upskill in new areas and grow your expertise

With more time available due to intelligent automation, C-Suite leaders and employees can look for opportunities to upskill and acquire new skillsets to grow their personal expertise and add value to their business.

Being able to attend training courses or conferences, running workshops with new graduates, and enrolling in additional forms of education has also been made more accessible with online options thanks to AI. The goal is to understand and embrace technology to work for us, rather than against us. Neglecting the power of innovative technology will see businesses fall behind while businesses who harness the power will surge ahead.

“Artificial intelligence remains an extension of human capabilities, not a replacement.”Accenture

3. Let technology increase your flexibility

The future workplace is flexible, agile and an ecosystem of places and spaces. Technology allows us to work from where we want, whenever we want offering a greater work/life balance. Prior to the pandemic, working from home or abroad was often viewed as both unproductive and implausible.

Now that it’s been proven employees can effectively complete focused work from home, outside the traditional 9-5 hours, we should leverage technology for its ability to work around our lives. From hybrid work to ‘work from anywhere’ policies, businesses should use technology to align with employee values and adapt to the future of work.

Additionally, digital Workplace Management tools like Calven and Floor Sense also play an important role in creating an engaging workplace experience, providing people with confidence that their preferred settings and environment are available when working in the office.

At Future X Collective we’ve always believed that people are the product of their environment … it has been our experience for more than 20 years of strategizing and designing workplaces that the better environment you create for people – then the better their experience of work is, and in turn the happier and healthier they are.

To learn more about how we can help you optimise AI in your business contact one of our workplace strategy experts today.