Our world is currently in the midst of what is commonly called the fourth industrial revolution, a reference to the continued connection of everything in society—from the digital to the biological to the physical.
Headlines about automation, AI, and subsequent job losses are everywhere, and we can’t predict the way our jobs will look in the future. So, what are some of the ways you can prepare for change in your workplace? How can you ensure your continued success in a world that is completely redefining the workforce as we know it? Read on to learn a few ways jobs are changing and how you can stay relevant.
Fluidity in the Workplace
One of the biggest changes in the corporate workplace is the loss of the traditional, rigid corporate ladder in favor of the more fluid corporate “lattice.” Though the change is not yet complete, there is a trend toward this lattice-like structure in the corporate workplace. In this way, employees have a different path forward; rather than the restrictive framework of only moving up through management tiers, more and more workplaces are allowing employees the freedom to move sideways or diagonally as well.
With increased diversity in the workplace and continuous technological advances, flexibility and collaboration are slowly becoming the standard expected at work. Employees can gain new skills and opportunities for advancement by taking opportunities to work outside their traditionally defined job description, helping ensure their continued relevance by collecting a portfolio of various transferable skills.
Now more than ever, business owners expect their employees to be ready to anticipate and adapt to the ever-increasing changes in our society. Employees should tap into their capacity for learning new skills, which can drive growth and innovation at work. The trick is getting employees to see these changes as positive rather than detrimental to their job security.
However, businesses must be flexible and agile as well so they can anticipate changing markets, new technologies, and different business landscapes.
Digital Literacy and Virtual Collaboration Skills
It’s now more common than ever for employees to work remotely from all over the world. With the increase in digital technology being used for meetings and collaboration in the workplace, it’s important for employees to be digitally literate and comfortable adapting to new and changing technologies.
Remote workers are becoming an essential part of the workforce, and as a result, the management structures at some companies will need to be reassessed and updated to work most effectively. Those still working in the office or on the job site have to learn how to collaborate effectively with remote teams to sustain productivity. Meanwhile, becoming comfortable with virtual meeting tools will position you as an essential worker in your field.
It’s past time to get comfortable with media and digital tools, so if you haven’t started learning how all these things work, now is the time. Mobile devices, iPads, laptops, and social media platforms drive sales and business for all types of companies, not just retailers. Do you know how to look for trends in your field? Get comfortable with digital tools and learn how to adapt quickly—the only constant in the workplace now is more change.
Creativity and Critical Thinking Skills
Automation and artificial intelligence tools are driving change throughout all different industries. Low-level, skills-based jobs are increasingly being taken over by machines, but there are some things that machines cannot yet do and may never be able to replicate—you should be focusing your attention on developing your skills in these areas.
Creativity, innovation, and critical thinking have always been valuable workplace skills, but now you can leverage these skills to your advantage more than ever before. Use your creativity to come up with new ideas, streamline processes, or find new and elegant solutions to workplace issues. You will prove your value to the company and demonstrate your ability to adapt to new circumstances at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things; creative minds understand the value of failure, and they are able to glean important knowledge from why something didn’t work. Learn how to turn your failures into learning opportunities and use your new knowledge to come up with innovative ideas that no one else has considered yet. As traditional skills (like learning how to operate a machine, for example) are increasingly relegated to machines, these so-called “soft skills” are becoming more and more important. Develop your creativity and critical thinking skills, and robots will be no match for you at work.