From collaboration tools to cloud computing, innovative technology is transforming offices throughout the UK. We take a look at four of the latest tech trends and the skills you’ll need to make the most of them.
of all employees would consider moving jobs for a
more technologically advanced office
As mobile devices and applications evolve, some companies are moving away from using email as their main form of internal communication. Instead, they’re opting for collaboration apps like Trello and Slack. These provide employers with a visual platform for scheduling and tracking workloads, as well as allowing employees to collaborate on tasks from any location.
Why is collaboration so important? Well, according to a Stanford study, even the perception of collaborating on a task enhances performance among teams. The study showed that participants who believed they were collaborating on a project focused on tasks for 64% longer than their solitary colleagues. They were also more productive and experienced less fatigue.
Three popular collaboration apps
Used by millions and available on mobile and desktop devices, Slack allows employees to send direct messages and files to an individual or a team. Conversations about specific projects can be organised into different channels and the app also supports video calling. Slack is compatible with Google Drive and Dropbox.
This project management software enables users to organise projects and collaborate on them with colleagues. Working with boards or lists, team members can set up to do lists, delegate tasks and comment on individual cards for quick feedback. There’s also an option to use emojis.
Launched in 2008, Asana was designed to help companies track their employees’ work. Employers can organise projects in a list or board format, create to do lists, set reminders for deadlines and send requests. Posts can be commented on and there’s also a search function that enables past work to be located quickly.
Collaborative Tools like Trello, Asana and Slack are enabling many employees to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of remote working. They also make it possible to collaborate internationally. However, relying on digital communication to build good relationships with people from other countries often requires strong communication skills and cultural sensitivity.
If you’re a millennial or a member of generation X , you’ll have grown up in a tech-integrated world where getting things done on the move is second nature. You’re also more likely to apply for a job if it involves working flexibly. This could include working from home or even from your favourite cafe.
Cloud computing facilitates flexible working by providing on demand computing services. These include apps like Office 365 and online data storage like Dropbox. Once a company has rented access to the software they need from a Cloud service provider, their employees can access their files and emails from anywhere, as long as they have a secure login and internet access. Everything an employee saves is stored safely online.
Companies that make the move to cloud computing tend to use less energy and less physical space, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. However, if you’re used to working from 9-5 and having your own fixed workstation with a desktop computer, it may take some time to adjust to a flexible working mindset. You’ll also need to be confident when it comes to switching between various mobile devices.
Artificial intelligence is software built with algorithms to complete a variety of tasks that are normally completed by people. This innovative technology is changing the way we work, by taking on basic admin jobs and automating repetitive tasks. AI is also capable of using basic reasoning, analysing information and interpreting speech.
We’re already using AI in our homes, in the form of voice activated personal assistants like the Amazon Echo. Now Amazon and other companies are focusing on business owners, who are discovering that the Echo and similar tools can save time by setting up meetings, booking conference rooms, accessing sales figures and switching on equipment. Office 365’s intelligent search feature also utilises AI, as does Microsoft’s MyAnalytics , which summarises how a user spends their time and suggests ways to make better use of their working hours.
If you work in customer service you may come across chatbots, which are used to provide an interactive customer support experience. Also known as virtual agents, chatbots are computer programmes that respond to questions or commands round the clock. More sophisticated bots use AI to provide highly personalised interaction based on information from previous conversations.
Jobs Artificial Intelligence is predicted to destroy
Jobs will be created with Artificial Intelligence
While there’s no doubt that jobs will disappear due to Artificial Intelligence, experts predict that AI will create more jobs than it destroys. According to an Adobe survey, around 68% of professionals aren’t worried about the growth of AI in the workplace, as they believe that their roles will require uniquely human qualities.
AI might be clever, but it can’t match human emotional intelligence. Because people are built to enjoy social interaction, there are many jobs that will continue to require their ability to empathise, communicate and negotiate. In fact, as AI takes on more routine workplace tasks and automation increases, experts believe employees will be freed up to enjoy more interesting roles, some of which don’t currently exist.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Ever played Pokemon Go or used a Snapchat filter? Then you’ve already experienced AR. This state of the art tech uses a mobile device’s camera, gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS to overlay characters, objects, images and text onto the real world. But while the gaming market has popularised Augmented Reality, many other industries are starting to demonstrate its true potential.
How is AR changing the workplace?
If you’ve ever ended up with a nasty bruise after a blood test, you’ll be glad to know that medical company AccuVein has come up with a very clever solution. They’ve created an AR device that allows health care professionals to view a map of veins on the skin’s surface. This will enable them to locate veins much more accurately when they’re taking blood.
In 2018, Mercedes Benz adopted AR when they began to use Microsoft’s HoloLens app. Over 100 headsets were distributed to managers, product developers and sales employees, so that they could explore 3D models of vehicles, examine computer systems in detail and see a car’s internal workings without stripping it down. The company is even using the headsets to enable new customers to view safety features and see vehicles in a variety of colours.
Boeing also introduced AR to its workforce by giving some of its employees smart glasses. By making each instruction appear in the users field of vision, the glasses have simplified the process of assembling the wire harnesses that transmit signals and electrical power in planes. Adopting AR has cut assembly time by 25% and reduced the error rate to almost zero.
Experts in Augmented Reality have suggested that AR headsets could eventually replace desktops in the workplace. If this happens, employees will use hand gestures to check their emails or access files. When a machine breaks down, AR will even be able to identify the problem and fix it or connect the user to an expert. This interactivity, efficiency and speed of access to information may mean that future employees would be expected to work across more than one discipline.
A desire to enhance human potential is at the heart of every innovation we’ve explored, so why not embrace change and learn to work in tandem with technology? After all, employees who work flexibly, collaborate more and have a good work/life balance are happier, healthier and more productive.