This Robot’s After Your Job, But That’s Not As Bad As You Think!

Hello, Mr Chips - whether you like it or not, robots are taking over workplaces - but we should embrace the change
Colin Sinclair is Director of Workspace at Bruntwood. Having managed bands on international record labels he now leads the Liverpool office of one of the UK's largest property firms. @colindsinclair
Colin Sinclair is Director of Workspace at Bruntwood. Having managed bands on international record labels he now leads the Liverpool office of one of the UK’s largest property firms. @colindsinclair
MEET your new work colleague, Robot Smith. In case you haven’t heard, we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. That’s the verdict of the World Economic Forum, which recently stated that the advent of robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace is firmly upon us. Indeed, global firms like Amazon have already begun using robots in their despatch warehouses and have mooted using drones for deliveries, while the likes of BMW and Audi expect to unleash driverless cars on to the market well before the end of this decade. The WEF claims that new robotic and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies will “blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres” – whatever that means – and “fundamentally” change how we as interact with each other at work. It also warned that these advancements could lead to the loss of more than five million jobs in the world’s 15 leading economies during the next five years. So what does this all mean in terms of everyday workplaces? The first pretty obvious concern is about the future of those people whose jobs will be impacted by this new disruptive technology. Should we all fear the rise of robots? While the obvious conclusion is that no job losses are ever good, it’s fair to note that mechanisation has replaced human labour in many forms for the past two centuries – from washing machines to combined harvesters – and in the main this has led to a positive impact on country’s economic growth and prosperity. Besides which, don’t we all work too hard anyway? Emailing all night and weekend. Writing those never ending reports. So rather than worrying about job losses let’s be positive and think instead that the march of the robots could give us all a better work life balance. Let’s picture our new robot workmate making repetitive tasks easier and leaving us, the humans, to do all the creative, fun, stuff! Liverpool – Shiny Happy People So, Liverpool is officially one of the UK’s happiest cities to work.  In fact, it’s second only to Norwich. According to findings by business psychologists OPP, the city is ahead of places like Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham in terms of work-life balance and career happiness. I’m sure this news won’t come as a surprise to many of you of who work in Liverpool every day.
Norwich's finest - Alan Partridge (as played by comedian Steve Coogan)
Norwich’s finest – Alan Partridge (as played by comedian Steve Coogan)
One of the most important things in all our lives is how we feel when we get up to go to work. It’s not just the job you do or the people you work with but, increasingly, it’s the place that counts and that’s where Liverpool ticks every box. Working in Liverpool is truly like a breath of fresh air. We have a beautiful world heritage waterfront and an equally beautiful filmic quality Georgian quarter. When the sun is out and the sky is blue, with seagulls flying overhead, there is no better place to be. Unlike the ‘Shiny happy people holding hands’ in the Chinese propaganda video that the REM song refers to we are, like the birds wheeling overhead, free. That freedom is evident in the very spirit of Liverpool. It’s the people that make the place and this place is great. Liverpool has probably been the UK’s best kept secret – until now. As for Norwich, we can thank Alan Partridge for that… Aha! Business Confidence Reflected In Latest Office Report A recent survey of the UK’s nine largest regional cities revealed a major boost in office take-up in Liverpool. The review by Bilfinger GVA found that total lettings reached 113,216 sq ft in the final quarter of 2015, well beyond the city’s five-year quarterly average of 76,760 sq ft. This report offers one the clearest signals yet that Liverpool is now at last enjoying the benefits of the UK’s economic upturn and that businesses feel confident enough to make decisions and investments for their longer term future. The creative and digital sector in Liverpool is going from strength to strength and, alongside science, health and tech, advanced manufacturing, shipping and logistics, tourism and leisure, the office market that accommodates our ever more creative business sector plays a key role in ensuring we have a continued platform for that growth to flourish. Why We Need To Get Back To Workers’ Playlist Time Liverpool’s place as one of the UK’s happiest cities got me thinking about the importance of music in bringing happiness into our lives and my own personal crusade in this digital age where streaming is easy, to get music played in offices and workplaces. Music brightens our day and lifts our productivity. But what would your playlist be? Something to appeal to everyone, of all ages. Not just your favourite tunes (I’d have at least one by Radiohead in there and something by Imelda May too), or the coolest or most current, it’s music to make the workday go by. To get you started, here’s the latest Bruntwood Liverpool office Friday top twenty – in no particular order (shuffle).
  1. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
  2. Happy Hour – The Housemartins
  3. Fast Car (feat. Dakota) – Jonas Blue, not the Tracy Chapman original
  4. Dream Catch Me – Newton Faulkner
  5. Blame It On Me – George Ezra
  6. Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon
  7. Best Day Of My Life – American Authors
  8. Mr Brightside – The Killers
  9. Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon
  10. Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
  11. Bohemian Like You – Dandy Warhols
  12. Coffee & TV – Blur
  13. Dakota – Stereophonics
  14. Drive By – Train
  15. On Top of The World – Imagine Dragons?
  16. There She Goes – The La’s
  17. Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve
  18. Last Nite – The Strokes
  19. I Get Around – The Beach Boys
  20. Motorcycle Emptiness – The Manic Street Preachers
What do you think of that lot? Email us your top 20 work-tunes and we’ll compile a list of the most popular.