With COVID’s scars on the economy continuing to be felt, there is ongoing uncertainty as to what longer term changes the pandemic will have on employment. Part of the conversation will include the extent to which work from home stays with us; however, for those whose work cannot be done from home. the question may surround automation.
The move toward automation is not exclusive to the pandemic, with places like McDonald’s using computers to take orders, but if nothing else the pandemic has underscored some issues around jobs involving interaction with the public, as well as ways to streamline activities such as delivery.
In one case, Walmart is looking to automate its delivery service, as it tests self-driving cars. This continues efforts around self-driving vehicles that could alter several industries, including gig economy drivers, taxis, and even shipping. In the service industry, companies are looking at cheaper ways to provide service through automation, which avoids issues like employees calling in sick and customer concerns over interacting with others during a pandemic.
However, the most obvious concern is how many jobs automation of this kind could cost the economy. While automation can lead to more jobs in the long-term, there will certainly be short-term pain and the long-term gains may leave out lower income workers.
Since automation is not likely to stop, it’s key for businesses to understand how they can best implement it. It can be important for their bottom line but the long-term considerations for their business, community, and the employment market must be taken into account.
With the constant changes that can impact a business, an experienced legal team can help navigate a difficult time for businesses, particularly with the ever-changing landscape for companies during the current crisis.