In the coronavirus pandemic, millions of workers have retreated to safety and isolation found in working from home. Even for those able to return to offices, social distancing practices and virtual meetings have profoundly changed the global workplace.
In December, a CCC Town Hall program examined the surprising ways remote work is remaking work. Organizations are recognizing there will be lasting impacts on people and operations, even when the new normal ends.
Dr. Tracy Brower is a work environment sociologist and a Principal with the Applied Research + Consulting group at Steelcase. In a world that relies more every day on technology, she emphasizes maintaining strong human relationships is a critical survival technique.
“We have so much need to infuse empathy. That is the human component that AI cannot replace for us. I love to think about AI not just as artificial intelligence, but augmented intelligence,” Brower tells CCC.
“AI is about coming alongside what we bring as humans and doing potentially more of the rote, more of the routine, more of the work that is routinized. That gives us an opportunity to raise our purpose, to raise our value, and to think about how we bring those connections, how we really bring an opportunity to think in a more sophisticated way, in a way that brings in nuance.
“This is all part of what we do uniquely as humans, is we can weigh nuances, and we can think about those vital social connections in decision-making and in the way we get our work done.”