Are Digital Tools Rehumanising Work?


I recently attended a presentation at the RSA from Frederic Laloux, author of ’Reinventing Organizations,’ and he was talking a lot about how to rehumanize the workforce. His thesis was that with the unstoppable rise of digital technology in the workplace, there has been a tendency to almost strip humanity out of how we interact and engage with one another.

Automated tools have undoubtedly changed the way work is conducted, but are more recent digital innovations, such as the new wave of collaboration tools and social media, making our work more human again? Are they breaking down the usual barriers and boundaries within our organisations? Are they really underpinning the reorganisation of our work into more open and collaborative environments?

See also: Will Human Augmentation Change the Workplace?

A recent infographic produced by consultancy company Accenture argues that far from dehumanising work, this new wave of technologies is actually adding some humanity back into the workplace by democratising how work is performed and changing the norm of how organisations should operate.

For instance, they claim that over 90 percent of organisations have adjusted their operating model in the last year, with the rise of flexible work teams one of the more obvious trends to emerge.

There has also been a big rise in the use of collaboration tools, with around 80 percent of organisations seeing big productivity gains from the deployment of such enterprise social networks.

Extending the workforce

Interestingly, over 80 percent of organisations are planning at some point to extend their workforce by tapping into underutilised talent pools, whether that’s retirees, disabled people or even people from other industries and locations.

Central to all of this, of course, is the ability of leaders to develop these new, network-driven organisations. Over 80 percent are confident that they have this talent within their organisation.

That change is taking place in our workplaces is hard to dispute. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how your own organisation is managing this transformation. Do you feel that work is becoming more human as a result of the new wave of digital tools? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below...




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