As technology is becoming more ubiquitous in the workplace, a number of jobs are directly impacted by automation which is raising the concern of – what would happen to humans. However, several experts believe that both technology and human can work together to benefit both companies and the workforce. By applying the right approach of getting the Division of Labor right, encouraging the human workforce to double down on human qualities and framing future with less labor and more leisure, the companies can build a human-friendly workplace while leveraging automation.
Division of Labour
The current trend of automation generally discusses how automation facilitates with financial and practical benefits by letting robots do the dull and mundane work of sifting through data, and free up humans to provide their specific expertise as people can go off-script, and can deal with non-routine information, outliers in the data.
In practice, a cybersecurity platform can employ artificial intelligence to predict cyber threats but if left alone can spit out numerous false forecasts. To avoid such a situation, human security experts intervene to assess outliers. They provide an opportunity to machine to better learn how to identify security threats from the new human input.
But some experts believe that such division of labor should take into account the moral strengths of both humans and machines. Although robots can provide cost-benefit assessments, humans prove to be better trusted to make the decision in some aspects such as – whether people are discriminated against or physically harmed by a decision. Also if an AI-fueled business is producing goods then it will definitely need humans to ensure that the product is meeting the real human needs and what could be the potential consequences of machine-made decisions.
Some experts suggest that companies should consider the qualities of human work should encompass not just what they can and should do, but also what they find invigorating and meaningful which would be good for employees and businesses both. A human possesses a quality of ‘variety’ and to extract its true meaning companies should expand the array of tasks employees do and the skills they are encouraged to flex. Providing employees with a variety of work can also combat employee burnout which WHO refers to as ‘occupational phenomenon.’
Sociability is another quality that should be taken into account for fostering connections as robots haven’t yet learned social intelligence, empathy, or the ability and willingness of people to interact and understand each other.
To enhance this quality, some organizations have focused on connecting workers with beneficiaries of their products while others have created pro-social bonuses. In prosocial bonuses, a portion of employees’ bonuses is donated to charities of their choice. In a competitive time like this, it is advantageous to provide employees with a purpose to work harder.
In the time when most of the time-consuming monotonous has been taken over by machines, people have a better opportunity for leisure that would provide them time away to focus on their well-being and it would also keep them engaged and sharp.
Providing amenities like food trucks, foosball tables, and extensive schedules of social events may seem really cool but they are still at the workplace which does a disservice for both employees and the employer. Therefore, companies need to emphasise more on actual leisure by allowing workers to leave the office completely to refresh.
Companies can expand vacation offerings or dial back expectations that employees check email outside of business hours in order to increase their leisure time. The time away from work can help the employees re-prioritize work cultures and deemphasize better views about work. Although this culture may seem difficult to implement and might require a brave and bold leadership but the less collective assessment of human worth is instrumental in economic terms in the long run.