Lose the Fear of Automation in the Workplace

Lose the Fear of Automation in the Workplace

Lose the Fear of Automation in the Workplace
Reading Time: 5 minutes

When people talk about automation, the first image that might come to mind are those of machines taking over factory jobs. Even though that’s not happening at quite that level, automation in the workplace is here, and it’s staying. In fact, 52% percent of companies surveyed by the Harvard Business Review have accelerated their plans for automation.

But to dispel any negative mental image, let’s rewind just a bit to answer a fundamental question: what is automation in the workplace?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, automation can be defined as the “automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor.”

In short, some examples of workplace automation include:

  • Computers instead of handwriting
  • Scheduled payroll 
  • Email marketing

Technology and automation in the workplace 

Workplace automation has been around ever since the industrial revolution. In a way, the takeover of the machines has already been streamlined into modern-day processes.  For instance, even something as simple as writing things down was replaced with the use of typewriters, and even that was a form of automation, leaving handwritten documents behind. 

If you really think about it, you most likely see traces of automation in some shape or fashion all around you. It’s not necessarily in the big factories, although machinery does many of the most hazardous jobs that humans used to do–nowadays it’s usually chatbots, software, and other digital tools. The bottom line of this innovation is not to displace jobs but to make them more manageable by taking the most mundane and repetitive tasks out of the way.

Workplace automation tools in different industries

As previously mentioned, workplace automation is everywhere. Just look at your computer and how you can research, type, send, and receive emails all day long without the hassle of going to the library or post office. 

Digital Marketing

Marketing has changed a lot since its inception, with the latest version of it being digital marketing. Through email marketing automation, marketers don’t have to create each ad manually. Instead, through tech-savviness, marketers can design ads, send newsletters, schedule social media posts, and more.


In the construction industry, there are three possible pathways for the future of automation: manual, industrial, and digitalization of design. The first one centers on the manual tasks done at construction sites, like laying bricks, breaking rocks, and more; at this point, these duties haven’t been drastically changed, but we have seen some improvements with the machines that help ease its burden. The second path it’s all about production, such as creating better mixes for different purposes at the molecular level. While the third it’s all about the tools for planners and contractors. 

Human Resources and Recruiting

In the human resources area, they face a bit of a pickle when trying to automate the hiring processes. For one, it’s ironic that a machine can handle many human resources functions, but also, that so many functions actually depend on automation as well. 

Automating some tasks, like payroll, scheduling interviews, onboarding, and time-off requests, can make things more manageable for professionals in this field. Still, overtly relying on these systems when looking for talent can lead to errors like disposing of CVs because they’re not in the proper format. To avoid losing that human touch, HR departments should contact specialized recruiters.


Lawyers, unlike other professions, are actually being somewhat left behind by automation. Because of the complexity of their services, there are little AI tools that are specifically designed for law use. Yes, there are some routine tasks that could be automated, but the truth is that since most things vary case-by-case legal automation still has untapped potential. 

Customer Service

This business is well known for its high stress and turnover rate, even before the pandemic and the Great Resignation loomed before us. For many companies, automation has been a saving grace, adopting things such as chatbots to filter and reduce the number of messages that customer service agents receive.


According to a report by Deloitte, the finance industry is starting to see changes in their way of working, but most managers predict that the big revolution will arrive in the next five years. Not only that, they predict that by then transactions, routine activities, and manual tasks will be fully automated.


Since the pandemic, the vet industry has faced many changes that are here to stay. Some of the most popular ones are telemedicine, curbside appointments, and general prescheduling for their patient’s comfort.

Pros and cons of automation


  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced human error
  • Safer for humans


  • Loss of nuance
  • A steep starting cost
  • Constant training for the personnel

Pro: Increased productivity

Going back to “office-life,” there’s so much more that you can do in a day just with your computer. Manual work still exists, of course, but the constant, immediate communication all around the world that the digital revolution has offered has wholly uprooted the way business is done.

Con: Loss of nuance

Machines are not humans, let’s get that clear, and even though artificial intelligence has made significant progress, it doesn’t quite match our communication differences. Whenever it comes to chatbots and automated customer service, AI can be helpful with taking the repetitive tasks off the professionals’ hands, but still, there is only so much that it can learn.

Pro: Reduced human error

One of the most attractive benefits of automating some processes is that it minimizes the time spent on them and the possibility of mistakes. If you’re filing numbers in a spreadsheet day-in and day-out, its pure monotony and boredom can unwittingly produce errors. 

Con: A steep starting cost

Whether your company is considering software, hardware, machines, or full-on robots, there is a cost for all these things. With time and proper use, though, the price tag will balance and help with the workflow, ultimately increasing productivity and being cost-effective.

Pro: Safer for humans

Even though the idea of robots taking over jobs was a dystopic outlook in the past, right now we know that there are some good outcomes for some jobs and sectors. Before, hazardous jobs were just the norm, but as technology has marched on, we have found ways to make machines work for us to phase more dangerous tasks out. 

Con: Training the personnel

The speed at which the information updates can be a little hard to follow for those who are not technology natives, especially when new software keeps rolling out. To combat this, constant training might be the best option, even when that means investing time away from their jobs to learn how to make the most out of the tools provided. 

The future of automation in the workplace

Bottom line, as a candidate, you shouldn’t worry too much about automation in the workplace. It’s already happened, and it won’t stop, but you must learn how to adapt. According to a study by McKinsey, all technological skills will be in high demand. Meanwhile, depending on the area of practice, physical and manual skills, along with basic cognitive skills are in decline.

If you want to roll with the punches, here’s the top growing skills:

  • Advanced and basic technological skills
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Higher cognitive skills

If you feel like you have the skills and are ready for a career change contact a recruiter.

find a job

Contributed by Ana Martinez

The Key to Find Top Talent
Workforce Trends: Closing the Skills Gap
3 Facts on How COVID-19 Changed Recruitment

Subscribe to our blog


By clicking Send you agree to the gpac privacy policy and Terms of Service and you authorize gpac to contact you regarding gpac’s services at any phone number or email you provide, including via text message using an automated dialing system and/or artificial or prerecorded message.