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November 21, 2017

The Technology Revolution and the Impact on the Workforce

technology revolution in the workplace

Technology Revolution: Never before has the availability of information been so widespread and generalised as is currently the case with the Internet.

The Internet is often the first port of call for purposes of research if an employee wants to obtain information whether at a personal level or for some work assignment.  Along with the availability of, and the quest for, information comes the need in the workplace to do things faster, more efficiently and better.

This, after all, is how companies are securing competitive advantage. Agility, responsiveness and speed of delivery are some of the ways in which a company can differentiate itself from its competitors and they would want to do whatever they can to secure this advantage. This need for agility and the drive for greater efficiency in the workplace then convert into a search for ways to expedite work processes and methods of work and to automate processes that are currently being manually performed.

As part of this search, investigations into the availability and role of technology in the workplace and how it would contribute to a more agile and efficient organisation are becoming the order-of-the-day. As technology then begins to play an ever increasingly dominant role in the workplace, and will continue to do so into the future, this will require a fundamental change from the workforce and employees at both management and non-management level alike.

Some of the ways in which the technology revolution will change the workforce are the following:

  1. Employees will need to develop a mindset which is change-friendly and they will need to be adaptable to changing processes, systems and work methods. The pace of change will be much faster as iterations of technology change and systems upgrades are performed.  This will mean that all users of the tools and equipment will have to change equally as quickly;
  2. Employees’ job roles will become wider and there will be fewer boundaries as technology makes it essential for staff to collaborate across all departments to be able to deliver work priorities;
  3. The skills and competencies required of employees of the future – make that the present- will change.  They will need to be much more  tech-savvy and will need to spend extensive time on upgrading and improving their skills and updating their skills to mirror changes and the constant improvements in technology;
  4. The technology revolution will rationalise the ways that work is performed in companies. Employees will need to be open to changing the traditional ways in which work has been performed and to the methods by which work has been delivered.  As part of this mindset, employees will need to be extremely creative and innovative and constantly be reviewing how work methods can be improved bearing efficiency and agility in mind;
  5. As technology becomes more prominent in the workplace, the demands of customers for delivery will also heighten. They will expect that work be delivered more quickly and that the time taken to satisfy their wants and needs will reduce dramatically.  This will convert into significant stress being placed on employees to perform work at a more rapid rate and to ensure that they deliver on the very stringent customer demands.    Employees will need to find ways to be able to process and manage this stress effectively.   This may even require that organisational leaders invest heavily in wellness providers or specialists who will have to deal with and assist employees to remain healthy, to deal constructively with high levels of stress and tension so that they can remain productive and functional.

Technology and the digitisation of the workforce is unlikely to go away any time soon. Organisational leaders can either choose to embrace and harness the transformation that technology will bring in the workplace or they can fight it and shelve it.   I believe that it is infinitely more prudent to embrace the transformation as by so doing, the organisation stands a better chance of becoming more efficient and more profitable whilst, at the same time, ensuring that employees remain skilled, sought after and at the cutting edge of what is happening from a technology revolution perspective.

Andrew Butters, motivational speaker, Inspiring Performance

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