Adam Greenwood-Byrne, CEO at RealVNC  discusses the value of emotional IQ as AI usage increases

The rise of emerging technologies within the workplace makes it an exciting time for businesses to grow. The introduction of automation, remote access technology and Internet of Things applications within the traditional office setting has meant that employees are beginning to shift their roles from being task-based to becoming far more strategic. While there has been some concern over the loss of jobs to ‘robot workers’ and autonomous processes, there is huge scope for the human workforce to become far more effective, creative and emotionally intelligent than ever before with the introduction of innovative technologies.

The increasing use of technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence in the workplace will enable employees to analyse, identify and respond to changing trends in real-time, meaning humans will be able to focus more on having a bird’s-eye-view on whole processes. Using remote access technology, employees can also improve interpersonal interaction and have more opportunity to develop soft skills. A combination of these skills will enable workers to develop their emotional IQ and advance  their careers.

Communication is Key

Artificial intelligence will automate more and more analytical tasks traditionally carried out by humans – everything from reviewing website traffic to analysing key documents and book keeping may become automated, meaning employees can focus on higher level tasks. This puts workers in a good place to develop their own careers much quicker but it will also mean they have to develop a new understanding of what it means to carry out their jobs. We will see a shift towards softer skills being nuanced and those that will thrive within the workplace will be the people who embrace technology to improve communication skills. For example, remote access technology which allows humans to be physically present in more places at once, replicating the advantages of face-to-face interpersonal interactions over long distances. Cumulatively, this will mean that human workers will have more opportunities to communicate with colleagues and customers.

People in any number of job roles, from customer support agents to doctors and even teachers, will be able to replicate the benefits of face-to-face interaction from any location. They will not only be able to communicate from anywhere through video and audio but also view and physically interact with customers, patients and employees’ smartphones, servers, smart TVs or other devices.

The combination of these factors will mean that in an age of digital transformation, the quality of human interaction and emotional IQ – the extent to which workers can empathise with and influence others – is more highly valued by employers than analytical skills.

An example of this is within the traditional accountancy setting. With activity such as auditing documents being outsourced to machine-learning algorithms, accountants will be able to spend more time communicating with clients and understanding the context to their financial situation. As more technical solutions are automated with ‘virtual technicians’ able to apply fixes, human staff will have more freedom to interact with customers and personalise solutions to their individual circumstances, making customer service more interactive and effective and increasing brand loyalty.

When machines take over many of the components of the traditional job role, this will also transform the qualities recruiters look for in potential new hires. Instead of the traditional hiring checklist that consists of numerous requirements in terms of admin capabilities, emotional intelligence will become a central factor. Hiring processes will consist of determining whether candidates can utilise the technologies – and the insights gained from these – to make strategic decisions and communicate effectively with colleagues and customers.

Although there has been some uncertainty around the jobs that will and won’t be replaced by automation, what is clear is that a digitalised workplace will provide new opportunities to grow. Employees will have the chance to develop soft skills that have previously taken a backseat to technical skills in many roles and become far more strategic than their current job spec has ever allowed them to be.