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Technology: Friend or foe to frontline workers?

Whether frontline workers embrace or fear technology hinges on how effectively organizations integrate it.

Technology has had a monumental impact on frontline work. Many advancements ramped up since the onset of the pandemic, spurring the implementation of tech such as QR codes and self-checkouts, while 2023 ushered in a new era of generative AI.

These innovations have streamlined everyday life, but the question remains: have they disadvantaged frontline workers? To answer this, we polled 12,500 frontline workers within retail, hospitality, and warehousing as part of our State of the Frontline Workforce report.

Here’s what they had to say:

Tech as a tool

Many frontline workers (51%) are optimistic about integrating technology into their everyday lives. AI can automate specific tasks, which 60% of frontline workers believe will help them to perform their jobs better and faster. By leaving repetitive tasks to the robots, 55% anticipate an improvement in the quality of their jobs, allowing them to concentrate on duties that involve a higher level of skill.

Automation anxieties

Some workers (55%) expressed concerns that technology will make their positions redundant. Senior workers, in particular, felt a heightened sense of apprehension regarding the future of tech and AI in frontline work.

This reflects the widespread uncertainty surrounding the automation of jobs across various industries. Organizations must allay these worries and ensure frontline workers feel valued and supported if they want to maintain employee engagement and satisfaction.

Digital friction

Job redundancies due to new technology are just one of the concerns plaguing the frontline. Nearly half (40%) of the deskless workers we polled expressed worry that technological malfunctions could create frustrations rather than solutions. This concern isn’t unfounded–technical glitches can interrupt workflow and productivity, and even impact the quality of customer service. 

To ensure a positive frontline employee experience, organizations should invest in technology that enables frontline workers to easily access their tasks and schedule and perform their duties more efficiently. But it mustn’t stop there. Comprehensive staff training reduces the risks caused by tech malfunctions, equipping your workforce with the skills and knowledge to overcome challenges as and when they arise.


Although there is plenty of positivity surrounding the use of AI and technology in frontline work, many employees still express worry and skepticism. Your customer-facing employees often serve as the first touchpoint of your organization, and their experience can make or break your business.  

It’s essential to prioritize transparency in the adoption of tech solutions to build trust, enhance employee engagement, and quell any of their uncertainties. Moreover, rigorous training empowers employees to adapt to new technologies and successfully integrate them into their day-to-day workflows.

Are you curious about the future role of technology in frontline work? The full State of the Frontline Workforce report offers more insights and takeaways. 


Read the report


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