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Dr Matt Tucker
Dr Matthew Tucker

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04 November 2019 Dr Matthew Tucker

The future workplace places people at the front over technology, says Dr Matt Tucker.

Everyone is forecasting what the future workplace will look like. Much is about the implementation and integration of automation through the IoT, AI and augmented intelligence. 

We see alarming headlines such as “Will all our jobs be taken over by robots?”  I doubt it, but when we think of innovation, it’s usually technological innovation; people can easily relate to it owing to its real output. 

In this media-portrayed apocalyptic AI revolution, heavy on drama, light on facts, it’s easy to think that humans could be replaced. AI and other automated technologies will replace many tasks (and do in many instances). The simplest explanation comes from AI consultant Katie King, whose shorthand for the most automatable jobs is ‘the 3 Ds’ – dirty, dull or dangerous. In the workplace and FM industry, this has huge potential to increase health and safety, reduce stress, and enhance wellbeing. 

But if we are to have a successful interface between machines and humans, then innovation in technological solutions will not be enough. Investing in people remains at the forefront of the future workplace because much of the work we perform is unpredictable: many decisions in our jobs rely on our ability to understand context, use gut feelings, instinct, and trust. 

A  Nespresso Professional report says that by 2030 we will spend 30 per cent more time on creative work because of automated technology. Other reports discuss the importance of increasing ability to demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving. So ensuring that people are dynamically developed, empowered, engaged and nurtured will remain the key differentiator in the workplace  past, present and future.

I was delighted to present the award for Innovation in People Development and Empowerment at the IWFM Awards and to have read the innovations presented by the finalists. This is a vitally important category.

Dr Matthew Tucker is reader in Workplace and Facilities Management Liverpool Business School, LJMU