Digital dexterity is the key to improving efficiency, productivity, and knowledge in the workplace, and robots present a unique opportunity to drive technological fluency. While it may sound like a technical term, digital dexterity simply refers to the ability and willingness to adapt to and utilize technology.
It also goes well beyond using a word processor or researching things online. Digital dexterity has an important role to play in business, cybersecurity, and employee education.
The Importance of Digital Dexterity
With the rise of hybrid work and working from home, digital dexterity has become more important than ever. In a workplace where laptops and computers, as well as advanced video conferencing tools and cloud-based software, are the new mobile office, technological fluency affects employees’ ability to work well and keep work-related files secure outside the office.
From a purely business-related perspective, digital dexterity can also impact market performance. Technology opens up new doors for improving efficiency, sharing ideas, and creating new and better products and services. There are a few core areas where robotics and AI in particular can help businesses achieve widespread digital dexterity among their employees.
Automation is one of the quickest ways to increase productivity in the workplace. Robotic systems can help employees work more efficiently by taking over or speeding up repetitive tasks. For example, maybe your office has worked exclusively with paper records for years. Employees have to file, organize, and store records in a physical space, taking time out of their day to locate the right filing cabinet, arrange their files properly, and make sure they get categorized correctly. Finding a folder afterward in such a system can be time-consuming.
Robotics could drastically cut down this process by filing records automatically. The same logic applies to other repetitive tasks. This technological integration would then free up large chunks of time for employees to work on more important tasks, thereby increasing productivity along with digital dexterity. Even little things like having a robot vacuum the office floors can boost efficiency!
Digital dexterity can be something of a positive feedback loop when it comes to employee involvement. Technology has proven to be highly effective for educational purposes, so utilizing robots and AI for employee training will not only provide a more effective learning experience but will also naturally increase digital dexterity.
Many employees may lack digital dexterity because they either aren’t proficient at using technology or don’t see any motivation to use technology more. Implementing systems like machine learning, robotic training tools, and AI teaching programs for employee training will get people more involved in using technology out of necessity.
For example, using an AI or a help bot to walk new employees through training and initiation may help them realize how useful technology is. They can ask their personal AI teacher questions anytime and get an answer right away. Without that technology, they would have to wait for a live person to be free to help them out.
Even if using robotics and AI for training doesn’t convince some employees of the value of emerging technology, it will at least familiarize them with it, making them more digitally dextrous even if they don’t realize it.
Digital security is arguably the area of highest concern for businesses in the new era of online work. This is also the area where digital dexterity is most critical. In hybrid and work-from-home platforms, cybersecurity tends to rely on individual employees taking the necessary steps to protect data. Too often, though, employees lack the knowledge, tools, or motivation to sufficiently safeguard their home office system.
This became evident in the early stages of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when many businesses rapidly moved to remote work. The pandemic created stressors and struggles in nearly every industry, with a ripple effect that went beyond empty offices and fabric masks. It sparked a historic spike in cybersecurity breaches, due to everything from phishing attacks to swift hacking of unprotected home computers. This clearly shows how important digital dexterity is for protecting businesses from cyberattacks.
Robots and AI can help fill in the gaps and act as a shield against breaches. For example, machine learning bots can identify phishing emails and other suspicious-looking content and systematically block it from harming computers or gaining access to sensitive data.
Assistance, Not Competition
Popular culture is riddled with theories that robots will steal countless human jobs one day. While some jobs have been adapted for automation, the reality is that robots aren’t meant to become competition for employees, but rather helpers.
In fact, using robots to improve digital dexterity is the very act that will ensure employees in all jobs, industries, and fields stay ahead of robots with their wealth of knowledge, skills, and adaptability. At the same time, robots and AI will make their jobs easier, safer, and more efficient on a daily basis.
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