An online workforce is the new normal
The world has gone increasingly online, something which has gained pace thanks to the scourge of the coronavirus. Owing to restrictions and fears over the spread of the pandemic, working from home, online transactions and virtual workshops have become the new normal. The overemphasis of the Internet has reached phenomenal proportions – for instance, more and more people are now holding video conferences via Zoom, the video-sharing application, simply as a precautionary measure to avoid physical contact. Owing to the coronavirus, the focus has turned from working in brick and mortar offices, which have been focusing on minimal attendance for health reasons, to staying at home and doing office work there. As organisations move away from physical locations and remote workforce is the order of the day, more than 70 per cent organisations feel at least half of their workforce will be digital workers post COVID-19, according to a new survey. One in four organisations expects that more than 80 per cent of their workforce will be digital in the world after COVID-19, said a poll by Automation Anywhere, a global leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA). “The pandemic has encouraged a new wave of digitisation that will revolutionise our life as we know it. The organisations are transforming their engagements with customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders and will leverage the current crisis as an opportunity to drive innovative digital models to gain increased efficiencies,” explained Milan Sheth, Executive Vice President of IMEA, Automation Anywhere. The research surveyed more than 5,000 senior executives from mid-sized to large organisations in over 20 countries across India, the Middle East and emerging markets in Africa and Southeast Asia. It found that more than 80 per cent plan to invest in digital technologies to build resilience in their future business plans.
The survey indicated that 57 per cent of respondents aim to acquire skills in RPA and AI in the post COVID-19 world, followed by 28 per cent being reskilled in analytics and 15 per cent in machine learning. These trends are seen across key industries, such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), global capability centres (GCCs) and pharma, healthcare and life sciences. The workforce has appeared to show a tendency to adapt to new technology. However, there have been fears that the overwhelming use of technology may underwhelm the importance of human beings, making them redundant. This is farther from the truth, as contrary to some predictions, technology is likely to create more jobs than it destroys. As a recent report in a section of the Indian media puts it, 67 per cent of digital workers in India said emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) are increasing their effectiveness at work, according to a survey. In terms of tools that employees use for real-time collaboration, digital workers in Singapore and India use real-time messaging and social media network tools more frequently than their counterparts in China, France, Germany, the US and the UK. At a time when a red flag has frequently been raised over privacy breaches, forty-five percent of digital workers in India do not mind having their work habits tracked and monitored by digital technologies. This figure is the highest among the surveyed respondents. The survey also showed that digital workers not only want formal training which consists of classroom modules and workshops but are also willing to undertake on-the-job (OTJ) and just-in-time (JIT) training to enhance their digital skills at work.