Workers warm to robots, report finds
Popular culture has postulated the idea that robots will eventually take over our jobs and lives. But contrary to this theory, most workers aren’t intimidated by the prospect of robots in the workplace.
According to the recent Digital Insights report into the Future of Work (FOW), people are open to man and machine collaborating to improve conditions at work.
Based on over 3 million FOW-related social mentions across several digital platforms between 2016 and 2017, the report found that 89 per cent of people are positive about the role robots can play to help them in the workplace, as opposed to taking away jobs.
Mentions of automation doubled year-on-year, the report found, while there was a corresponding 70 per cent YoY increase in the average daily mentions of robots and jobs.
Getting robots to perform mundane tasks
Despite some concern about the impact of automation in the workplace, the report found plenty of positive sentiment about how automation could be responsible for mundane tasks, freeing staff to focus on their creative and strategic functions that matter the most to them in their careers. Topics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence were the most popular on social conversations related to automation.
Promising workplace future
“The power of technology has had a positive impact on all aspects of our lives, and the tremendous value it delivers in the workplace has been no different. The Future of Work looks promising, as robotics and automation gear up to enable employees to be more productive and creative in their roles. The Adobe Digital Insights report reiterates the importance of workplaces embracing the benefits of digital transformation as the technology revolution advances,” Abdul Jaleel, Vice President, People Resources India, Adobe, said.
The study found that people analytics, work environment and transportation were common areas of conversation in regards to the future of the workplace.
● People analytics: the report found that conversations about people analytics within the Future of Work context have increased 20 per cent YoY as more and more companies focus efforts on improving workplaces for their staff. Analytics is helping HR heads to revisit their strategies for recruitment, employee management, and performance reviews.
● Work environment: flexibility and impact are key employee motivations, and the report highlights the emergence of the gig economy or contractual workforce. Mentions of the gig economy have experienced a threefold YoY rise as more people urge companies to incorporate mandatory office shutdowns and flexibility in work schedules. The investment of people analytics in combination with demands from the gig economy are key determinants to improving work environments.
● Transportation: the report found that faster and more self-propelled transportation can change how people travel to work. With Hyperloop and self-driving cars receiving more than 1 million mentions, the future looks bright for transportation. The Hyperloop and its space-age look and speed had 50 per cent more positive sentiment than buses and twice as much as taxis. Tesla, BMW, Ford, Volvo, and GM are the top five brands mentioned for self-driving cars.
Based on the study, the FOW is promising, especially regarding the automation of traditionally mundane tasks.
“Automating document and signature processes, for example, could open up new possibilities for people as the tech revolution advances. In other categories, faster transportation and self-driving cars could revolutionise local travel. Moreover, the virtual office has a lot of potential in the workplace of the future. Work environments should continue to improve as employees demand more from their space,” Jaleel said.