Written by: Abdulrasaq Adesanjo Amolegbe
“At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended.” That was the 1918 Spanish flu.
In similar manner, there are currently no effective drugs and vaccines to treat this killer virus and people are being ordered to wear mask. With over 7.8 billion of the world’s population following a stay-at-home directive in the last few weeks/months, questions about the post-pandemic life has filled the atmosphere. What would be the fate of workers and workplaces? What would turn out between employers and employees?
It’s no news that the unemployment rate has hit its worst in decades and the next few weeks or months are laden with uncertainty. With offices and business closed, fear over job losses grow every hour. Millions are losing their jobs. Imagine the bureaucracy faced when applying for a job and having worked for just a few years or several years, then out a Blue Moon, one gets fired without prior notice or preparation. It’s hard!
Even at that, it is important to know that no matter the case, while the burden will be borne by some, others who have the right resources will flourish. The current pandemic is a glimpse of the once –dreaded automated takeover of jobs. Yet, let’s be reminded that current job losses aren’t due to automation but the ongoing pandemic. Even at that, the stone that was turned down by some companies has turned to be the cornerstone giving hope to both consumers and producers. Despite being in the midst of great job losses not caused by automation, automation has been of immense help during these trying times.
In an attempt to ensure the safety of front-line workers, different companies are adopting and harnessing the benefits of automation. For instance, in banking services, job roles such as bank tellers and cashiers will be completely automated. Current self-service options such as ATMs and checkout kiosks will make this a natural progression. CEO of UBA, Tony Elumelu, posted on his LinkedIn account recently that UBA Group held her first virtual Annual General Meeting in the over 70 years of her corporate existence. An advancement that befits both the current situation and the inevitable future of automation.
Not just that, the role automation is playing in delivery services is incredible. Even as there’s a spike in food demand, it has become crucial that the frontline workers of delivery services take adequate precautions. Yet, this is to not only protect themselves but to prevent any spread to their panic-buying customers. Food delivery service Ele.me used robots to deliver meals to quarantined individuals held in a hotel who were suspected of having the virus. Starting from next month, CVS and UPS will start using drones to deliver prescription medications to a Florida retirement community. As the world battles coronavirus, Singapore started its first drone delivery service as it delivered vitamins to a ship on Wednesday. Shipping giant DHL has been looking to robotics adopt well over 1000 robots.
For fast food service, it was estimated that the present decade will see complete automation of front-line fast-food service production and distribution. We are already seeing sophisticated self-service kiosks within many fast-food chains, whereby ordering food is as easy as a few touches on a screen. As automation gradually sets in, the fast-food chain will be automated with one or two human(s) to oversee the entire facility.
And several other ways.
Now, it has been touted from time to time that most jobs will become automated in the future. But questions about the successful workers remain unanswered. However, those who succeed will have to be curious, creative with resilience to adapt to changes. In fact, an important skill necessary to thrive on future jobs is flexibility. It means not just the ability to adapt to change but the potential to manage the change. Flexibility entails adapting to changes and managing the changes rising in workplaces. Otherwise term adaptability, flexibility revolves round most soft skills. As changes in every day life occur, responding and adjusting to such changes might sound harsh but it’s way more important than we think. It is said that about 80% of the jobs that will be taken by Gen Z are yet to be created. How then do we prepare for a future other than to arm ourselves not with skills that will become redundant eventually but with “soft skills” who need will be necessitated by the jobs that w9uld be created in the future. Leading among such skills are identified below.
Yes! Time waits for no man- not even the wealthiest in the world- For instance, time is a constant factor in everyday life. No matter the day of the week, there will always be 24 hours in a day. Striking a balance between the increasing workload and the constant number of hours is portal a good time management skill.
Can you solve real life problems and not just bubble in multiple choice questions? Most workers will be hired not because of what they know but because of what they can do with what they know. In other words, the knowledge one has is not as important as the impact one is making with the knowledge. Certificates are becoming so common so what’s the difference? In essence, having more degrees than a thermometer doesn’t depict success. Creativity goes beyond drawing the dots. It has to do with connecting the dots to make a line.
In a report by Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Small businesses lose tens of thousands of income when there’s no collaboration. Lack of collaboration has greatly affected companies that they are on the lookout to hire the right team members. An African Proverb says “if there’s no enemy within then the enemy outside can do us no harm. With the increasing pace and pressure of today's workplace, collaborating with others is indispensable skill that new workers need to possess before getting on the job and continue to develop while they are there. Other important skills include problem solving, people management, coordinating with others, decision-making, negotiation, and serving others will all be important going forward as well.
“They [the skills] may sound soft but there’s a hard reason recruiters are looking for these skills” said Glenn Leibowitz, one of the LinkedIn Top Voice in marketing and social media.
In my opinion, it’s because these skills can’t be replaced by automation at least not yet. Plus they are the right sets of skills needed to thrive on jobs that will result from technology and automation.