December 18, 2020
By Anne Gaviola, BNN Bloomeberg
Canada’s first robot barista kiosk emerged in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighbourhood in September. The Dark Horse Automat espresso bar offers specialty coffee on demand, delivered without any human contact to the caffeine-seeker.
This is one of countless innovative new ways of getting work done that were born out of the pandemic. The automat is an example of technology that can replace several shifts of work, perhaps even a barista position or two, though it requires servicing and regular maintenance. In fact, there are few facets of the way that we approach and perform our work that haven’t been impacted by the pandemic.
While 2020 has served as a test for businesses’ pivoting and survival skills through a crisis, it has also been an inflection point in the way workplaces view automation, diversity and inclusion in Corporate Canada. As companies look to the future, there will be long-lasting effects of this work-from-home and automation experiment, during which women left the workforce in unprecedented numbers and a racial reckoning forced companies to acknowledge systemic racism.
Following a year of human crisis after human crisis, experts say organizations will need to put the lessons from this year of soul-searching into action – and place innovation and diversity as top priorities for 2021 and beyond.