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Fourth industrial revolution to be vital to rebuilding after the pandemic

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 25 Mar 2021

The advances in technology refined through the pandemic will serve us well to rebuild after the pandemic, writes Lucy Ingham for the Financial Services Faculty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kickstarted the fourth industrial revolution and will play a vital role in post-pandemic rebuilding, according to experts from across technology and finance. 

Kirstin Gillon, technical manager at the ICAEW’s Tech Faculty said that the pandemic has “had a big impact in terms of acceleration from what we've seen amongst our members”.

Multiple experts also report that the pandemic has forced professionals who were reluctant or disinterested in adopting new technologies to engage with them – with positive results.

“We were mainly forced to go down this road and it turned out to be very manageable and very accessible,” said Professor Juani Swart of the School of Management at the University of Bath.

However, with the rollout of vaccines now heralding an opening up of the economy, companies are faced with the need to re-evaluate and rebuild their businesses for a changed world. And here the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution are set to be key.

The fourth industrial revolution’s role in post-pandemic rebuilding

According to experts, the key goals for many businesses in the post-pandemic environment will be resilience and agility. 

This will require a greater focus on lean working, which can and will be aided by automation to enhance not only what individual employees can achieve, but how they can adapt. 

“There is a great deal of interest in reducing costs and automating, and also just reducing reliance on people,” said Gillon.

However, while experts anticipate a desire to return to the office for many, there is little anticipation that all employees will be back in offices all of the time. 

Instead, it is thought that firms will need to adapt to having a continuous, changing blend of employees working in the office and remotely – accompanied by a greater variation of working hours. 

Members of the Financial Services Faculty can read more about the fourth industrial revolution on the faculty’s dedicated page.

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