Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder isn’t shy about his dreams of transforming his fast food chains into fully technologically automated utopias. Why do many CEO’s like Puzder dream of replacing their workers with machines? Robots can, at this point, be a much cheaper prospect than hiring employees. “[Robots are] always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” says Puzder of swapping employees for machines.
When CEOs like Puzder make the shift to semi or fully automated workplaces, it will be great for employers and potentially catastrophic for the modern workforce. Low skill employees will be left scrambling for a potentially smaller pool of jobs. The job market will most likely compensate for the losses, but it won’t likely be a seamless transition.
Thankfully, not all technological advances negatively affect employees. Technology has led to exciting shifts in the type of employee perks employees are offered. Perks that, without modern technology like the internet and online communication platforms, would not be as prevalent as they are becoming.
Brick and mortar workplaces are no longer a necessity for many jobs. The internet, cloud based programs, and online communication tools has granted businesses the ability to create fairly productive online workplaces. There are many examples of how multichannel management systems are helping online businesses at a web pos to seamlessly integrate their processes and values to provide a great user experience.
The technology has led to an increase in employers that create part or full-time remote work policies. As of 2015, telecommuting work climbed 37% in the US. Remote work has a number of perks. Employees can:
- Cut down on their morning routine.
- Eliminate the time and money wasted on their daily commute.
- Escape the perpetually uncomfortable temperatures of the modern workplace.
- Cut down on sick days by decreasing exposure to co-worker illnesses.
- Continue to work from the safety of their home during blizzards and other environmental hazards.
- Lead to a decrease in sick days by allowing ill employees to work from home when they can make up the time.
Telecommuting can transform an employee’s life for the better. Thanks to modern technology, individuals have the ability to find a job that will allow them to experience the many perks that derive from the ability to work from home.
Modern technology has also transformed how higher education is delivered. Between the various communication platforms and more robust personalized learning technology, has created online learning platforms that can offer education on-par with an in class learning environment.
The upsurge in well-reputed public and private schools offering a wide variety of online degrees has led many companies to a renewed interest in providing more robust educational perks. In
April of 2015, Starbucks worked with Arizona State University to create the Starbucks College Achievement Plan that offers 100% tuition coverage for bachelor programs at ASU to part and full-time employees.
In June 2015, Chipotles revealed their own partnership with the Colorado-based Guild Education to create their own tuition reimbursement program that offers employees tuition reimbursement from Chipotle and a slightly discounted tuition (in most cases) from Guild Education.
Before corporations simply created policies that allowed students to attend any college or university. The new realm of online learning has allowed national chains to work closely with their chosen university to create assistance packages (with potential discounted tuition for employees) that benefit the business, the college, and the students.
Advances in technology is not always kind to employees. Technology has a tendency to, at least in the short-term, gobble up jobs. Technology may take, but it also opens doors for companies to offer better perks for the jobs that do remain. Perks that just might be worth the growing pains caused by advances in technology.