Over the last few years, there have been drastic shifts in how people work. Technology and the COVID-19 pandemic are the two main drivers of these changes. Businesses now face the challenge of keeping up with technological developments and providing work flexibility.
The Benefits and Challenges of Technology in the Workplace
Automation, AI, and remote work are becoming the norm in these unprecedented times. And while they present various benefits to the workplace, they also come with challenges.
Efficiency and accuracy are the top benefits of automation for businesses. With automated processes, employees no longer have to dwell on repetitive tasks and can focus on higher-level functions. Automation also reduces human error, allowing companies to produce quality output consistently. The challenge of automation is that people need to upgrade their skills so they can oversee the computerized systems.
AI is another advancement that can give businesses a significant competitive advantage. Early adopters can make better decisions through real-time and predictive analytics. They can also access improved security and customer support solutions. But custom AI software is not cheap. Even if the ROI is massive, not all businesses have the funds to invest.
Another benefit of technology is that it makes non-traditional work arrangements possible. Remote work has bolstered employee productivity, engagement, and retention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through video conferencing software, employees and clients can communicate seamlessly. Virtual workspaces allow teams to come together online for feedback and to socialize. However, remote work does come with challenges, such as managing time effectively and keeping work and home life separate.
The Importance of Upskilling and Reskilling in an Evolving Workplace
Reskilling and upskilling are now essential parts of running a business. Companies must ensure that their employees’ skills don’t become obsolete and that they can keep up with technological advances. These include the cloud, AI, cybersecurity, IoT, and machine learning. As technology advances, the following skills are becoming more invaluable in the workplace:
- Software programming and development
- Cloud computing
- Data analytics and visualization
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Aside from technical knowledge, organizations should also develop their employees’ soft skills. No matter how much the workplace evolves, good communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership skills are always of high value.
Embrace Technology That Supports Your Business Objectives
Technology is driving long-term changes in the workplace, and they come with positive and negative effects. Businesses should learn to embrace technology to thrive in the evolving workplace. But at the same time, they should navigate unfamiliar terrain with caution.
Not every new digital tool or software is the right fit for your business. Before automating a business process or leaving everything to AI, consider how it will affect your employees and customers. Instead of just following the trend, rely on data and evidence before committing to new technology.