In the foreseeable future, we will all be working in a high-tech environment. At least that is what you could conclude based on the speed at which technological developments follow each other.
Take Intel's office in Israel: inside and outside the building some sensors help you find a parking space and let you in through facial recognition. There are even experiments with smart technology that learns from the behavior of employees. Based on this, for example, the advice given is to take the stairs if you move too slow.
Research agency Gartner investigated which digital trends will play a role in the workplace between 2022 and 2026. The technological trends are listed here.
The first two trends are related to digital skills. For companies that want to keep up with digital change, employees that have the right skills are crucial.
Trend 1: The speed of technology adoption is increasing
The impact of technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and 3D printing is already noticeable. But between 2022 and 2026, these trends will really transform the way we work. Currently, ideas and new technologies are being launched to a large audience at an early stage, which has already set the consciousness process in motion. In addition, more and more organizations are already using digital technologies, setting the tone for further digital transformation. An organization that has embraced digital can change again faster and this speeds up this process.
Trend 2: Digital skills are monitored and measured
As the importance of digital skills grows, so does the demand for measuring them. By linking surveys or observations to other data, for example, data from the IT or HR department, the skills of employees can be measured. It is important that the staff is agile and can switch quickly. Companies that have already come into contact with technological developments will confirm this. After all, they have learned to constantly adapt their way of working to new technologies. The more agile the employees of an organization, the sooner they can keep up with the latest developments.
As an employee, it is extremely important to be aware of these technological developments and to continue to develop digital skills. Research shows that today one-third of employees say they do not have the right digital skills to be successful in the future. Further training is necessary and the vast majority look to the employer for this. Renzo Taal, of Salesforce Netherlands, states: “Companies would do well to invest in their people by providing them with the right tools to develop further. This not only benefits the workforce but also ensures that organizations remain competitive in the long term in an increasingly rapidly transforming world.”
When you invest as an employer in, for example, interactive whiteboards or innovative office software, it is important that your employees have the right skills and knowledge to work with them. Only then will the investments actually lead to higher productivity.
The next two trends have to do with artificial intelligence (AI). Through AI, machines, software and devices can solve problems independently. Its development will have a huge impact on the way work is assigned, completed, and evaluated. Matt Cain, a leading analyst at Gartner, says AI will provide a number of applications in the workplace in the coming years, but employees will only really experience the impact of Robo bosses and smart workplaces in more than five years.
Trend 3: ROBO boss on the rise
A Robo boss is an AI-powered machine manager who performs performance measurements faster, takes on supervisory tasks, and makes staffing or management decisions. The data obtained in this way can be used to improve the performance and achieve the goals of the employees. Between 2022 and 2026, the introduction of Robo bosses will be commonplace, and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) will be our work partners.
Trend 4: Smart Workplaces
Facilities have changed dramatically and we are on the cusp of moving towards smart workplaces controlled by a network of signals, sensors, and control devices. This requires both AI and IoT applications. IoT connects devices to each other via the internet so that they can exchange data with each other. Consider, for example, a workplace where an employee uses an app to be taken to the nearest parking lot. Facial recognition is used in the elevator so that music preferences can be taken into account, and a work or conference room has already been reserved for you upon entering. Meanwhile, a smart badge continuously tracks the location of the staff to ensure safety.
AI is still in its infancy but is already poised to automate complex processes, identify trends and deliver forward-looking intelligence based on big data. It will impact business models, employees, and customers of companies across all industries within four to eight years. So it's important that AI isn't just a priority for technology companies.