Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming one of the key drivers in changing the face of the workplace by 2025, and many of today’s working practices, productivity tools and physical environments will become obsolete over the next eight years, according to a recent whitepaper created for Fujitsu by leading independent research firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC).
The whitepaper highlights that although many businesses are already struggling to keep up with employees’ changing workstyle preferences, they should be planning for an era in which AI is pervasive, workers are always connected, freelance and flexible work are commonplace, and traditional industry systems are broken down and reinvented.
Fujitsu commissioned PAC to explore the question ‘What will an effective workplace strategy look like in 2025?’.The resulting white paper ‘Workplace 2025’ focuses on social change, technology evolution, environmental impact, business considerations and demographic shifts as the main factors reshaping the future requirements of the workplace.
The intelligent workplace and the unstoppable march of Artificial Intelligence
A key whitepaper prediction highlights the unstoppable rise of AI. PAC analysts predict that the pace of change will continue to accelerate between now and 2025, and will impact all aspects of future workplaces. AI is already capable of an ever-growing range of tasks, and starting to have far-reaching impact on almost every aspect of the workplace and how people live and work.
Ramanan Ramakrishna, Head of Service Innovation and Portfolio at Fujitsu EMEIA, comments: “In order to cater to the needs of today’s multi-generational workforce, each with its diverse needs and expectations, it is important for businesses of all sizes to plan right now and invest in their future workplace strategy. This is a crucial step to remain relevant whilst retaining employees and providing a consistent digital user experience both for employees and the enterprise as a whole. With more technologies such as AI being readied for prime time, we are starting to see the emergence of a more personalised user experience which dynamically adapts to recognise context, location and preferences. These technologies, when coupled with virtual agents, voice control and wearables, are now leading to a more seamless, immersive and collaborative experience. If enterprises are to keep pace and create an adaptive framework for the workplace of the future, they will need to develop a vision of the critical roles and skills they will need in the medium- to long-term range in order to effectively plan and lay the foundations for everything from the implementation of office space and infrastructure, to the technical skills they will need to build and support a workforce that will be reshaped by AI.”
Fujitsu recommends that an effective workplace strategy for 2025 and beyond should be based around the pervasive use of AI-powered systems throughout the working day. AI will free up employees to focus on more complex, interesting and value-add activities, as well as provide support via intelligent assistants, help forge new business connections based on a machine-determined best match of skills, deliver a highly personalised, dynamic and context-based experience for work-day task scheduling, and use real-time dynamic routing to avoid traffic congestion as well as optimise journeys and modes of transport. Employees working in offices will be dynamically allocated hot desks close to colleagues with whom they interact the most frequently, and digital assistants will take care of calendar scheduling and administrative tasks such as travel booking, while wearable devices will help people authenticate and gain access to information and systems anywhere, anytime.
The whitepaper predicts that businesses can expect a transformative effect on their workplace driven by changing demographics, the rise of AI and the disappearance of the traditional office environment. Workplace 2025 whitepaper author, PAC Research Director, Nick Mayes comments: “The majority of organisations are starting to lay the right foundations to future-proof their workplace – for example by introducing technologies such as digital virtual assistants – while the move towards the ‘digital workplace’ is being driven by business leaders as well as IT heads.”
However, the whitepaper also warns that businesses today must start to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, both inside and outside their organisation, and highlights that outdated technology and outmoded working practices can stifle productivity and demotivate employees.
Businesses need to make a start in developing a vision of their future workplace
Forward-looking businesses are already developing a vision of their future workplace, and making plans to embrace the different role played by employees in a workforce reshaped by AI. Fujitsu recommends that this vision extend to future processes and working practices, and technology should be viewed as a tool to address business needs, rather than a standalone solution.