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The effects of office automation in 2016

Office automation is a hot topic. Professionals have been tracking this trend for years now, and measuring the effects that it has on the human element in the workplace.

For the most part, getting a machine to do the donkey work is a great thing. Think about it: printers, automated emails, franking machines, and paper shredders are all a staple in today’s modern office.

But office automation has gone to the next level and we are feeling the effects in various ways.

Laptop computers and mobile phones brought along the flexibility to work remotely. Home offices sprang up, people were working from coffee shops, between meetings and from the beach. It sounds like some sort of utopia, doesn’t it?

However, a study conducted in 2015 by Workplace Trends shows that this ‘always on’ culture is being taken advantage of by employers. Mobile devices and flexible hours mean that employees are always reachable. In fact, 64% of managers expect their employees to be contactable outside of office hours. Late night Skype meetings, conference calls, and video calls on the run are all becoming the norm. This is great news for some who can still enjoy a healthy work/life balance. But for many, it leads to stress and burnout.

Within the next 20 years, it has been predicted that machines may be able to do half of our jobs. Think about it. Banks tellers, receptionists, telemarketers, and cashiers will all be redundant as automated functions kick in.

An interesting example of company automation can be found in McDonalds in Europe, where over 7000 touch screens take your order and track it to completion. (I wonder if it asks if you want fries with that?)

Scary news? Many think so. In a tight job market, automating mroe and more procedures will shrink the job pool even further. But in reality, like in the previous era, where old jobs are lost, new ones will surface.

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