Things are definitely different and big changes are in the air. But do not despair
We are about to close the book on 2019 and open up on 2020. Somehow, the symmetry of the number gives it a special feel. Indeed, all of us are quite aware that these are “special” times and just about anything seems possible; both good and bad. But life goes on and our species continues to be challenged by our own complexities. The following is a list of what a recent survey elicited from a random group of business leaders on what was felt to be the main concerns in order of priority.
2020 promises to be an exciting year in global politics, from the impact of Brexit to the United States presidential potential impeachment and election in November. An uncertain political climate can often impact business, as it can lead to fluctuations in the economy that can affect things like consumer spending, which makes up over 70% of the US economy. It’s important for business leaders to keep up to date with changes in the political landscape and react accordingly, which will directly impact the business planning process as well as create opportunities and challenges.
In the past few years, there has been a shift in data protection, putting much of the responsibility on businesses. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) changed the way businesses deal with data in the EU, which represented a big challenge for international firms, and individual states now have their own regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act. In 2020, data protection and cybersecurity will be key, which is why it’s important to use secure platforms for hosting. Indeed, there is growing concerns on how all personal data is being trafficked and used. The promise of social media and data in general will be coming under closer scrutiny and changes in user attitudes.
Businesses are nervous about taking risks in the current economic climate, but innovation is important to keep business relevant in today’s changing world. Changes such as embracing the use of big data, The IoT, creating more flexible work environments, and encouraging the use of idea management are all ways in which management can innovate while still taking small steps at first. While innovation has been a major buzz word for that past few years, time has come to bear fruit from the new technologies that will be transforming the workplace in 2020 and beyond. This will be a huge challenge as it will take some big investment as well as bit risks. Many businesses have already found that through being innovative over the past year that they are staying ahead of the game; however, nothing is guaranteed and innovation is not necessarily linear and will require continual vigilance as the unknown knock-on effects of new disruptive technologies will have in the workplace. Therefore, it is vital for business owners and managers to learn ways to stay innovative to ensure that they aren’t left behind in the fast-paced business world.
Automation of jobs
It’s predicted that, in the early 2020s, automation will affect a small percentage of jobs, estimated to be about 3% globally. However, within the next 10 to 15 years, that percentage could rise significantly as machines become capable of autonomy, so it’s something that all industries need to think about. But the very fact that AI becomes a trend, many workers as well as professionals will begin to look over their shoulders as the uncertainty will cause insecurity and all the inhibitions that come with that. Remember, the USA is a consumption-based economy and based very much on the psychological well-being of consumers.
By the mid-2030s, up to a third of your workforce’s jobs may be automated. Is that something you want to embrace, or would you prefer to keep the human touch, even if it means falling behind the competition? Indeed, the American public may need to get used to wrestling with some complex existential questions about the values and how we want our society and culture to evolve.
However, it is important to note that automation and people can work alongside each other if done correctly (always the main factor). With a combination of the two, business could have the best of both worlds without getting behind. But as with many “revolutions,” there will most likely be unintended consequences-both good and bad. This is nothing new and the idea of security may continue to be a driving force for a powerful wave of entrepreneurial vigor such as seen with the rapid growth of the “gig economy.”
More and more businesses now have employees who are based in a number of different locations. A study by Upwork predicted that nearly 75% of teams across the world will have remote workers in the next decade, which could mean major cultural shifts. If remote work becomes the norm, there are a number of advantages to business, including:
- A much larger pool of candidates to fill roles
- Potential salary savings as workers aren’t paying to commute
- Increasing employee productivity
- Boost in employee happiness
However, having a remote workforce does represent a number of challenges, such as making it difficult to encourage teamwork and ensure that people are at their most productive. Technology is making it easier to overcome these challenges, but in some cases, face to face work is still going to be needed human touch.
Change is the natural state of the universe and in the recent past, we may have lost perspective about what “security” really means. Indeed, our instincts are built on thousands of generations that lived day-to-day and did not have the luxury of any safety net at all. We lived by our wits and the ability to innovate or consequences could be dire. It’s in our DNA and we will meet the challenges and learn to adapt. Indeed, the only security we really have is our own abilities for critical thinking and adaptation.