Conversations surrounding the future of the workplace include fears of jobs getting digitalised or “going to robots,” which will displace a lot of human employees. And while it’s true that many jobs are most probably going to be automated, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of human workers. Automation may indeed replace jobs over the next ten to fifteen years, but this future development can only mean the rise of skilled human workers. This means that new technology will create new kinds of jobs, and these jobs will utilise different skills and may require higher educational attainments.

Think about Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Before its inception, many bank tellers were worried that they’re going to lose their jobs and that they won’t have anything to do anymore. However, contrary to their expectations, ATMs didn’t really make them lose their jobs. The technology just led to their transfer to other jobs where the bank can better utilise their skills. ATMs just took their previous task of dispensing cash, so that they can be free to do other jobs such as sales or customer service. Their jobs didn’t go. They changed. You see, technology doesn’t always replace jobs. It just leads to a reduction of human error in the process while creating new jobs.

With automation, humans can learn new skills. A job automated isn’t necessarily a job lost. Machines don’t replace jobs. They replace tasks. As such, automation and AI will change what jobs will look like in the future. They make your job more efficient so that you can do more human tasks and human skills with peers, clients, and suppliers.

If you think about it, a lot of the jobs today were unthinkable in the past. Today, we have SEO managers, front-end developers, and virtual assistants. These are new jobs that weren’t present before because a lot of things were manually operated. But now that technology is continuously developing, humans are free to discover new jobs that can optimise processes and improve society.

When you automate, the right technology can expedite and add value to your business. Automation eliminates the need for repetitive tasks and mitigates a large number of common failures and risks to ensure long-term sustained success. Always keep in mind, however, that new technology can also make or break a business. It doesn’t always lead to success. You still need to strategise and be careful with your deployment to sustain your new processes. Organisations must acknowledge the gap between strategy and execution in order to take the right step forward. 

Know and understand what you have first before evaluating which parts can be automated. Don’t immediately jump into the “automation” bandwagon. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t reject new technologies quickly. Diagnose your processes and know when it’s time to automate. In this economy, you can’t afford to be stubborn about the old ways. Times are changing fast. The workplace of the future is evolving. If you don’t adapt, you are bound to get overwhelmed by your own limitations. What will you do then?