The Future of Work – Lawyers take note.

October 25, 2019

2020.

This brand new decade is now a mere 68 days away, at the time of writing this post. The decade that is earmarked for transformation of well, everything, including the workplace. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, diversity and inclusion are set to extend to intelligent machines when it comes to the composition of the workforce.

So, would you be comfortable reporting into an intelligent machine? Including one in your succession plan? How about having a first interview with a bot? Or having your KPIs, performance and productivity evaluated by AI?

Will AI assist gender inequality in the workplace? Will leadership and management be assessed Trip Advisor style? Will staff have visible performance ratings? What will the team dynamic be like with more entrepreneurial gig workers than permanent staff? How much of our jobs will really be automated?

In a recent collaborative study between Marketforce and Pega, 845 senior executives working globally in financial services, insurance, manufacturing, telecoms and media, technology, the public sector, health care and life sciences, energy & utilities, travel, transport, logistics and retail were surveyed about the future of the workplace.

Here are some of the findings.

  • 88% of respondents are comfortable with the prospect of working alongside intelligent machines, but 4 out of 5 say they would not comfortable with an intelligent machine managing them.
  • More than 7 out of 10 employees think it will be common to use to evaluate employee performance and set rewards in the next 10 years.
  • 66% believe the widespread use of AI will give rise to a more transparent meritocracy in the workplace, and 35% look forward to decreased office politics.
  • 86% expect algorithmic matching of tasks to the most suitable worker to become standard practice in the next ten years.
  • Best in class technology solutions will be more influential to talent, than a company’s premises.

Interestingly, the legal profession was not included in the study. However, it does not mean that the law is exempt from the same disruption – the uberisation of lawyers is dominating headlines frequently enough. The findings hold incredible relevance to our service-based profession. Lawyers, take extra note!

And in case your mind goes there as soon as you see the two letters, AI: First, in the case of the legal profession, a recent study by McKinsey found that only 23% of a lawyer’s job can currently be automated. Secondly, “Contrary to doomsday headlines and widespread job losses, our findings suggest AI and automation’s impact will be much more nuanced and could even have a positive impact on how we work”. Staff are likely to have a higher level of job satisfaction due to an increase in the quality of their work.

Thus, it seems that AI is here for good going into this much anticipated decade. There is no doubt it will bring with it new challenges for workplace cultures, their structures and rock our familiar ways of working, executing, leading and collaborating.

From a legal perspective, a hybrid workplace highlights the need for good governance and strong decision making. As an efficiency focused lawyer working from a hyperconnected standing desk, I am incredibly curious to see the pace at which the future of work unfolds over the next decade, especially in the legal profession.

Shall Siri and I meet you at the virtual water cooler to discuss the latest data on the must see doco on Netflix, The Game Changers?

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I’m on a mission to inspire others to “do law” differently, with a progressive mindset. Learn more about unlocking your legal innovation potential and all things transformation in my eBooks Legally Innovative and The New Age Lawyers which you can access here.

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