Future of Work: how WFH, AI, and automation are affecting job security

Tsubasa Nakazawa, Managing Director of Kintone Southeast Asia

As we continue to navigate the uncertain landscape left behind by the global pandemic and confront the rapid advancements in technology that are redefining the world around us, it is natural for employees across various industries to be experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety about the future of their jobs. This unease is not without merit: The emergence of ground-breaking artificial intelligence and automation technologies like ChatGPT is undeniably revolutionising the way we work, ushering in an era of unprecedented change.

In the face of such transformation, it is essential for us to recognise that the traditional modes of work and career paths we once took for granted are evolving. We are witnessing the dissolution of long-established job roles and the emergence of new opportunities, driven by the increasingly symbiotic relationship between humans and technology. In order to adapt and thrive in this dynamic environment, we need to shift our perspective and embrace technology not as an adversary or a force that threatens our livelihoods, but as a partner that can enrich our professional lives.

The conundrum of workplace transformations

Remote work has left its mark, as more companies embrace flexible work arrangements and enable employees to work from anywhere. This shift has provided employees with numerous benefits, including increased flexibility and reduced commute times. In fact, employees save 72 minutes in daily commute time on average when working from home, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). This reduction not only saves employees time but can also lead to less stress and better overall work satisfaction.

However, the transition to remote work has also introduced challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining visibility within organisations and fostering meaningful connections with colleagues. According to a survey by Buffer in 2021, most remote workers found difficulties in collaboration and feelings of loneliness or isolation to be their biggest struggles.

To successfully counter the challenges posed by remote work, employees must place a strong emphasis on communication, collaboration, and building robust professional networks. By prioritising these key elements in a remote work environment, team members can more easily bridge the feeling of distance from one another. Improved collaboration can also help tackle common obstacles associated with remote work, such as the feeling of isolation.

Embracing new skills and workstyles

In recent years, the global talent pool has undergone significant expansion. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, it is expected to reach an all-time high by 2040. This expansion has resulted in heightened competition and concerns about job security, with more candidates vying for the same positions.

However, this shift can also be seen as an opportunity to reflect upon the professional skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow. As AI and automation streamline routine tasks, employees should focus on developing skills that complement these technologies. According to estimates, as many as 375 million workers worldwide will potentially need to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030. A Deloitte study highlights the growing importance of soft skills such as creative thinking, decision-making, and adaptability. Continuous learning and embracing new workstyles are bound to become staples of a standard career path and are already increasingly sought after by employers.

Leveraging technology in the modern workforce

One promising development amidst this transformation is the rise of no-code platforms. These platforms empower employees to create software applications without programming knowledge. They streamline processes and workflows and enable the more efficient management of data. The ability to access these platforms anytime, anywhere ensures remote workers stay connected and engaged, fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork while assuaging concerns around job security.

No-code platforms also offer a glimpse into the future of work – a landscape where automation frees us from repetitive tasks, allowing us to focus on higher-level thinking, strategic planning, and innovation. Embracing these tools gives employees greater autonomy, control, and responsibility over their careers, driving efficiency and purpose within organisations.

Uncertainty equals opportunity

It is no secret that automation has become an integral part of modern-day businesses, and is here to stay. By 2025, 50% of enterprises will have devised artificial intelligence (AI) orchestration platforms to operationalise AI, according to Gartner. While this may cause some concerns about the changing nature of work, it is essential to remember that work has always been changing.

Throughout history, innovation has on countless occasions brought both uncertainty and opportunities. Looking at the transportation industry alone, in a few centuries we went from horses and sailboats to steam engines, to the internal combustion engine, to electric cars, to autonomous vehicles. Each disrupted the former, but also created new and unforeseen opportunities. Similarly, the internet and mobile devices transformed the way we communicate and interact with machines, opened new possibilities for businesses, and ultimately led us to develop disruptive technologies like ChatGPT.

As we move toward a more automated future, it is crucial to embrace the change and focus on the opportunities it presents. Automation can help organisations streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency, while at the same time allowing workers to focus on high value-added, deeply purpose-driven tasks.

By focusing our attention on the creative uses of new technology, we, as professionals, can ensure that AI and automation become forces for good, driving growth and development in years to come. We’re already seeing positive change through no-code and DIY automation. The shift is underway. People aren’t being replaced by AI; they’re using it as a tool to redefine and improve their jobs.