Could automation protect company culture and productivity?
In this article we consider how working from home could affect businesses and individuals, we will go on to highlight how automation technology, such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation), can provide necessary support for long-term remote working.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, is working from home the ‘new normal’?
This is a much-debated topic as many companies are expected to offer more flexible, if not permanent, working from home for their employees following this extended remote working period. This expectation is accentuated by enterprises such as Twitter, Square and Facebook, announcing that their staff can permanently work from home, should they wish to.
So far, employers and employees appear to be supporting each other well. At the time of writing there are varying reports, some suggesting productivity has dipped and others showing increased productivity. Whichever side you believe or are seeing from your own experience, we can all agree that the long-term success of increased remote working is unknown at this time.
Se also: Making the most of working from home – lessons learnt from Hurricane Sandy
The current situation could be a misleading representation of what the ‘future of work’ could look like as there are so many restrictions still in place globally. Some workers may not mind focusing more on work now, it could even be a welcome distraction to the world around us, but will attitudes and priorities change as we return to normal life?
What can businesses and individuals expect from spending less time in the office?
We must keep in mind a few critical factors on both the business and personal side when considering this as a more permanent change. On the business side:
- How will working from home impact the employer?
- What can the employer gain from this?
A Forbes study of CFOs from April 2020 shows 25% of respondents would be happy for 10% of their workforce to remain offsite as it could have significant cost saving potential.
On the personal side:
- Is it something your employees want?
- What will employees gain from this shift?
This forecast from Global Workplace Analytics highlights that 80% of employees were interested in working from home prior to the pandemic and predicts 25-30% will continue to on a permanent basis, at least a few days a week, by the end of 2021.
For individuals there are several working from home benefits such as no commuting time, flexible schedules and no office politics.
However, there are also several negatives for individuals including longer working hours and feeling less connected to your company, as detailed in this Axios feature.
There could also be negatives for the business environment, company culture and team productivity.
How can you maintain company culture remotely?
The technology we have at our fingertips today with video conferencing and instant messaging has made this forced remote-working period manageable, we feel more connected than ever. However, for the success of the team and wider business, it is crucial to maintain team spirit and company culture. Learning from, interacting with, and building relationships with colleagues and customers is how future leaders are created.
These are things we can take for granted when in the office environment and it will take more effort, and more time, to achieve when working remotely.
Sadly, these could also be the first areas to suffer when staff are faced with longer hours, back to back meetings and an ever-growing pile of business-critical admin to complete each day.
See also: No, RPA Won’t Replace Phil in Accounting.
So, how can you motivate staff and keep company culture without sacrificing productivity?
Introducing automation, such as RPA, to complete high volume and low decision-making tasks could be a huge step in the right direction to keep productivity up. The admin tasks are essential to the smooth running of a business but are not the areas that excite, motivate or get employees noticed for promotions and pay-rises. Allowing bots to pick up mundane tasks supports your employees immensely by permitting them to spend more time focusing on building relationships, providing excellent customer service, complex problem solving and further progressing in their careers. These are the reasons they choose to work for your company over your competitors.
At Roots Automation, we call our bots ‘Digital Coworkers’ as we strive to provide the ideal teammate in digital form. A teammate who takes great human qualities – learning from previous tasks, adapting to change, keeping open communication – and great bot qualities – highly efficient, accurate, scaling automatically to complete higher volumes of work.
We provide automation across a variety of businesses, we can have your Digital Coworker trained and ready when you need it, and whether you’re new to automation or not, we have a team of experts on hand to onboard your new teammate.
Reach out to us today to see how Digital Coworkers could support your team: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rootsautomation.com
working remotely, RPA, Automation, working from home, productivity