Are you prepared for the New World of Work in 2018?

Posted on: March 5, 2018 by Marianne Hewlett

Placing humans at the centre of technology transformation in the workplace is gaining pace for many employers. By focusing on their employees, businesses can even accelerate their digital transformation journey. Imagine your robot colleague greeting you when you enter the office or the lighting, colour and frequency intelligently adjusting to best suit your mood. The future of work is just around the corner and many of these technologies are already becoming a reality.

Wellbeing takes centre stage

Advances in technology like this will also have an important role to play in helping us achieve wellbeing at work and in our personal lives, both of which will continue to blur. In 2018, we’ll see wellbeing becoming a board priority, not just the domain of the HR department. Tracking our health with wearables can already check blood pressure and heart rates and in the future, advanced devices will be able to anticipate potential declines in mental health so we can take preventative action. Innovative companies will adopt wellness initiatives that help their employees to be healthy and happy, both physically and mentally, while also boosting work performance. These are just some of the shifts that are heading our way. Here I explore my thoughts on trends for you to watch out for this year.

Meet your colleague, the robot

At this year’s CES voice-activated personal assistants dominated the conference, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistants stealing the headlines. Alexas are commonplace in the home, so it’s not unthinkable to imagine how robots and AI could assist us in aspects of our working lives. The Consumer Technology Association predicts sales of smart speakers are expected to nearly double in 2018, to $3.8 billion.

While some reports claim that robots will take over many jobs, in reality robots will only replace set areas and tasks within a role. For instance, repetitive or dangerous work, or data-entry. Which tasks do you currently do manually that you wish could be automated? How would you like to be freed up to deliver more value to your bosses or customers? At Atos, we have our very own robot hostess. It’s only a matter of time before chatbots and cobots become more commonplace.

Nurture your soft skills

While AI can often process actions quicker than the human brain, there are some skills where humans have the upper hand, such as creative thinking, complex problem solving and empathy. In our Future of Work report, problem solving and critical thinking will be the leading top two skills for employees by 2020. In recent years, STEM skills, in key areas like cyber security and engineering have been a critical focus for businesses and educators, but in the future, demand for soft skills will be an equal or higher priority.

Make time for bite-sized learning

As automation will overtake many menial tasks and existing job roles, you will need to adapt to a culture of lifelong learning to remain competitive. Automation will make way for new jobs that may not even exist yet and every one of us will need to adapt quickly to keep up with advances in technology.

To be more adaptive for the future of work, you should engage with on-the-go or bite-sized learning to improve your knowledge in real-time. In doing so, you will be able to continuously learn new skills and progress along your chosen career path at your chosen speed.

An increased focus on quality work

Last year, the pros and cons of the gig economy were hotly debated, and notable court cases were brought against many of the major players. While workers enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being a gig economy worker, concerns have been raised about job security and workers’ rights.

According to the Financial Times’ 2018 trends, to get the balance right, employers will focus on the quality of jobs as well as the number of jobs available on the market. As the gig economy grows in size, it will mature to offer non-permanent staff a fuller and more inclusive benefits package.

Indulge your imagination

As mentioned, soft skills will be critical, and having an active imagination will be one of the most in-demand skills. It can be make-or-break for winning a sales pitch, or inventing a new product or process. In an increasingly fast-paced and digital world, having the time to stop and think can be a challenge.

In the future of work, it will be important to make time to be mindful in and outside of work. This can help to cultivate your imagination, take in your surroundings and be more present when you interact with people. There are many techniques that exist for embracing mindfulness at work, but something as simple as going for a walk at lunchtime or taking time out to read a book can help. Not only can this advance your performance at work, it can also improve your general wellbeing.

For further information, find out more in Atos’ Future of Work report.

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About Marianne Hewlett
Senior Vice President and member of the Scientific Community
Marianne Hewlett is a Senior Vice President at Atos and a seasoned marketeer and communications expert. Passionate about connecting people, technology and business, she is a member of the Atos Scientific Community where she explores the Future of Work and the impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society. She is a strong ambassador for diversity and inclusivity – and particularly encourages female talent to pursue a career in IT – as she believes a diverse and happy workforce is a key driver for business success. As an ambassador for the company’s global transformation program Wellbeing@work, she explores new technologies and ways of working that address the needs of current and future generations of employees. A storyteller at heart, she writes about the human side of business and technology and posts include insights into the future of work, the science of happiness, and how wellbeing and diversity can drive success.

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