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29 November 2017 | By Ramanan Ramakrishna Community

AI and the workplace of 2025

The future is not as distant as you might think. Businesses must start to plan now

How will artificial intelligence change my business? It might feel like a question for next year, the year after or even decades down the line. However, by 2025, artificial intelligence will be pervasive in our professional lives – and the workplace will be radically different. So what will the workplace of 2025 look like, and why is it crucial that businesses start to plan now?

The rise of the machine

By 2025 the workplace will have transformed. Technology, specifically AI, will be a major driving force behind this change.

AI is already used in many contexts, from diagnosing disease to providing quality control in complex manufacturing. It’s something we are coming across more and more in our personal and professional lives, with the rise of personal assistants on our smartphones and chatbots that can provide interactive customer service, without human intervention.

This pace of development is only set to accelerate. The sophistication of AI systems is continuing to increase, and we are uncovering new ways that this technology can support us in the working environment. This will have a profound impact on our professional lives, making many of today’s working practices, tools and physical environments obsolete.

The workplace of tomorrow

But what will the workplace of the future look like in practical terms? In a nutshell, AI will support employees throughout the working day in many different ways. For example, digital assistants will take care of calendar scheduling and administrative tasks such as travel booking.

Wearable devices will help people gain access to information and systems anywhere, anytime, while employees working in offices will be dynamically allocated hot desks close to colleagues with whom they interact frequently. Intelligent assistants will also help forge new business connections based on a machine-determined best match of skills and preferences.

All of these changes and many others will combine to create a work experience that is very different. Workers will be constantly connected; freelance and flexible work will be commonplace; and employees will be able to enjoy a highly personalised and collaborative work experience.

Even the very nature of the work we’re doing will change, as employees will be free to focus on more complex and interesting tasks, using time previously spent on more repetitive work. The changes will be widespread – and exciting.

Preparing today

Importantly, while the workplace of 2025 will offer incredible opportunities for businesses, these changes represent a serious challenge too. Many workplaces are already struggling to keep up with employees’ changing workstyle preferences, such as flexible working hours, remote working and the latest digital tools. These issues are expected to accelerate further when Generation Z enter the workforce.

Workplace environments and their technological capabilities are likely to become an important employee consideration and a differentiating factor for businesses looking to attract the best talent.

So, how can we begin to plan for the impact of technologies that are still developing? Organisations shouldn’t feel that they have to answer all the questions immediately. Nonetheless, it’s an issue that leaders and HR teams must take seriously today, both for the workforce and the future of the organisation.

Businesses can begin to ready themselves for the advent of AI by creating a framework that is adaptive and ready to incorporate new technology. They should consider not only the needs of today, but a medium- and long-term perspective. This will help to lay the foundations for everything from a changing office infrastructure to changing skills requirements prompted by AI.

There are many changes to come on the route to Workplace 2025, but it’s a journey that we must all at least begin today.

For more information about the Workplace of 2025, visit: https://digitalworkplace.global.fujitsu.com/category/future-workplace-2025/

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