It’s almost amusing to think that, just over a decade ago, people were worried that automation would kill off jobs, and leave workers destitute. At the same time, tycoons like Jack Ma were supporting the ‘996’ work ethic of ambitious young Chinese workers; that’s where you work from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week.
But then it dawned on management and staff alike, that you can get more out of your talented employees with goal-directed work, with more time to reflect and refresh, than an exhausting schedule that often leads to burn-out.
The tipping point was reached with automation; robots and smart programs can do the drudge work, leaving company members free to follow more challenging ventures. Everybody wins, or they should.
Which is not to say that the transition was all painless. Many older staff were not keen to change careers and learn new tricks; often disgruntled, they shuffled off into early retirement. By the same token, young graduates increasingly found there were no jobs waiting for them, and they were forced into entrepreneurship to make ends meet.
But in the middle, productivity soared, as shorter work weeks promoted creative thinking, and automation became increasingly reliable and accepted as the norm. With more leisure time and breathing space, purpose-driven employees can dramatically improve the innovation culture in a company.
Now company members at all levels are realizing that work is not equal to jobs, and that being busy is not necessarily the key to good business. Finding and delivering value to customers is where real success in business lies, and the work necessary to achieve that can mostly be outsourced to machines.
That’s what robots are for – to take the work out of jobs!