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High-performing robots, are workers at risk? Is this the cost of automation?

Nowadays, robotisation and automation have become a reality in the workplace. Indeed, there are many industrial and logistical processes that are seeing the implementation of machines capable of performing faster and better than human workers. So is this really the case? Well we think it depends!

For instance, we believe that it depends on the context and how the innovation is introduced, especially if we consider the relationship and confrontation with the workforce.

In this regard, a renowned expert like Paolo Crepet, in a book published in 2018, stated:
“People say that new skills and new tasks are emerging and will continue to emerge, but we should try to understand at what actual conditions this will occur and what the final balance will be between old jobs lost and the new jobs created with the digital revolution”.
Reflecting on Crepet's quote, which embodies a widespread fear of being replaced by a machine, a robot, an algorithm and losing your job. Our cleaning industry is certainly not exempt from this concern which hovers over the world of work. Just think of the stories circulating of automated floor scrubbers being intentionally sabotaged by workers for fear of being replaced by new machines, thus jeopardising their jobs.

Even without getting to the point of losing one’s jobs, there are still many other fears that workers have about the introduction of automated machines. For example, fear of not being able to train properly, lack of human contact by interacting solely with machines as well as fear that machines are able to carry out work more effectively.

It would be useless to dismiss these fears by simply extolling the virtues of innovation and progress, telling workers that this will allow them to do non-repetitive work and value-added duties.

Of course, the concept is right. In our opinion, this is what innovative technology is all about, relieving man and facilitating his role.

The point is that once a worker has been relieved of their monotonous and repetitive work, there must be the conditions where they can use their time constructively and satisfactorily. This can be done by giving them access to sufficient economic resources and, why not, even in activities that they can be passionate about.

So the very essence of the question is not so much whether or not to introduce the most innovative technology such as automated floor scrubbers, but how it can be integrated into the workplace.

At Adiatek, we decided to carry out some research with our R-Quartz model to see what our operators thought about working with the automated scrubber drier. It was really important to get their feedback but also to involve them in our continuous innovation of how workers can work together with technology which we believe cannot be compromised.

The results of our research were very reassuring and we found out that R-Quartz had actually created new opportunities for technicians, salesmen etc..and just to add nobody had lost their jobs.

Furthermore, the technicians who took part in the survey were asked to give their opinion from 1 to 5 on various aspects of the machine. Surprisingly, the highest score was given for the positive interaction between worker and machine. However, there were still some concerns with the machine related to communication, safety and learning how to interact.

To summarise, will this saga of the eternal dualism between nature and technology continue? Like everything, there are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, it will be up to man to find his balance between progress and well-being.

We believe they can work alongside each other! Let us know what you think?

Tell us what is happening in your company.