Communicating change to your FM & Cleaning teams

Anxiety around robots and artificial intelligence (AI) replacing human jobs has been around for centuries. As early as 1830, agricultural workers in England rioted and burned down farmers’ barns out of fear that threshing machines would make them redundant.

As technology has got better, smarter, and more widespread in the years since, today, both in Europe and the US, around 70 percent of workers are worried that technology will replace their jobs.

But much of this enduring narrative is misguided. An often-repeated statistic from the World Economic Forum (WEF) is that 85 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2025. An alarming number, yet many people ignore the next part of the WEF’s prediction: technological innovation will create something like 95 million new jobs.

The truth is that technological progress doesn’t destroy labour. Instead, it changes the work that humans do. Even after the Swing Riots of the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution that followed created incredible economic growth and many new kinds of jobs.

Mostly, robotics-, AI- and automation-based technologies replace dull, repetitive and time-consuming work tasks, leaving humans do more complex or nuanced works. Across soft facilities management services such as cleaning and catering, vacuum and tray-delivery robots take up much of the slack, freeing people to focus on more customer-facing and value-add tasks. Our Whiz vacuum sweeper robot can take responsibility for much of the vacuuming across large floor surface areas, providing cleaning teams with more time to ensure that high-traffic areas are clean and spaces such as hot-desking rooms are constantly ready for new users.

Nonetheless, any business unit manager who is looking to Whiz or any other robot cannot ignore the fears that their FM teams might have thought about being replaced. That’s why communicating this change, specifically why the robots have been acquired and how they will help support employees is essential. If people become resistant to the evolution, it can be very challenging to support them through the process and execute a smooth transition.

Good communication is the difference between people feeling excited and positive about the upcoming change and people actively working against the organisation to hamper the project.   Look out for our next blog, where we provide step-by-step guidelines to internally communicating the implementation of AI, to help support your activity, ensuring a smooth transition towards the future of maintenance.

In the meantime, find out more about Whiz, our autonomous vacuum cleaner here.  And our innovative tray delivery solutions here.

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