An insight into how Robotic Process Automation is paving the way for the future of workplace wellbeing.
Wellbeing is important, but it hasn’t necessarily been an organisational priority, as much as it is now.
The disruptive transition to remote working and how it affected employees’ wellbeing has refined the narrative, and why automation is a matter of necessity rather than a luxury.
Equally, it redefined the need for organisational leaders to take a driver seat to better support their employees remotely, and steer the corporate direction of the importance of wellbeing and how automation will very much be a core part of that conversation.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA is a type of automation that can mimic the way a human interacts with a computer. With it, anyone can record the steps they follow to complete a work process once, then have a virtual worker follow those same steps and manage that process for them. For many, RPA is a solution that has long been a source of burden for staff to perform tasks that can now be independently performed zero errors.
It's a great low-risk, high-reward branch of workplace automation to start with for quick ROI. This makes it a commercially attractive technology to address core challenges faced across industries, such as resource allocation, and performing administrative tasks.
Wellness Tech Trends
How the future workplace will look like: 2021 Wellness Tech Trends
Wellness tech trend 1: Hybrid working - the return to the office
Many adapted to remote work in 2020, but technologies like cloud computing can offer workers a more flexible work model.
Facilitated by hosted desktop services, cloud computing can give workers the same computing power they'd have at their office desk and freedom to work anywhere with an internet connection.
For hybrid workers, the physical workspace will be repurposed to maximise productivity in a post-Covid world. Returning to the office after a period of lockdown may understandably cause unease and anxiousness about employees’ safety and their environment.
Remote collaboration is more difficult, but the transition back to in-person work might be just as hard.
So the success of these plans depend on how safe the employees feel returning to their physical workspace and more importantly, if they want to.
1 in 4 employees in the UK would consider resigning from their current job if their employers required a compulsory attendance to the office. And with ‘Freedom Day’ creeping up, employers will have to consider if a return to the office will play out well with their workers.
How automation can help
Technologies like occupancy sensors are an effective way to measure the capacity in the office. These devices, connected to a building’s Internet of Things (IoT) network, provide data back to the booking system that informs workers of real-time office capacity.
Even mobile-based access systems can play a crucial role for making the workplace a safer environment by removing the need for shared surfaces in return for secure office access.
Remote work hasn’t been easy for everyone. Naturally, as wellbeing becomes a more prevalent topic across corporate strategy, mental wellbeing support deservingly falls under this category,too.
Wellness Tech trend 2: Employee mental wellbeing - Your automated chatbot therapist
Organisations are recognising the link between wellbeing and mental health.
As wellbeing jumps the queue on the corporate agenda as a result of the effects of remote working, the more active measures are taken to support employees’ wellbeing.
In fact, £1 invested in boosting mental wellbeing in the workplace yielded an average return of £4.2015.
But, unfortunately, mental health stigma is still a notable issue in society, much more so in the workplace. In fact, 11% of employees that disclosed their mental health issues at work were later found to be dismissed, demoted or even disciplined.
And whilst this is becoming less of a thing in the workplace, there’s still some degree of hesitation to disclose personal mental health issues in the workplace.
The appeal of discretion is a far more attractive option for many who would feel more comfortable disclosing personal issues to others. So how can corporate awareness of mental wellbeing be turned into tech-based measures to support employees?
How automation can help
Artifical intelligence (AI) chatbots.
Mental wellbeing could mean a rise in AI chatbots to provide employees with an outlet within organisational settings.
Automated chatbots can offer 24/7 availability for workers to disclose their mental health concerns, with 82% believing that robots’ impartiality and judgement-free nature would support their mental wellbeing better than humans would.
Wellness tech trend 3: Personalised digital wellbeing -Gamified Wellness
The term ‘gamified’ describes the added ‘gaming’ element to physical wellness, with health apps incentivising reward-based engagement in fitness in exchange for prizes.
Technology’s role in wellness is re-defining the meaning of personal wellbeing, with 24/7 accessibility that extends beyond the workplace.
To capitalise on digital innovation to foster a ‘wellbeing-first’ culture, automation allows employees to adopt a proactive approach to their health by emphasising a personal sense of responsibility.
And employers in the UK have taken notice, making use of app-based health platforms such as Vitality to empower personal wellbeing accountability to their employees.
How has the development of technology affected our wellness?
Forget heavy workflows, repetitive, manual-based tasks. Let RPA handle it all for you.
One of the main value propositions that RPA brings is the offloading on teams that enables employees to maximise their time and skills to critical tasks, instead.
Why? Increased productivity and higher morale that drives down the rate of absenteeism caused by fatigue. And the best part is, it’s a low-risk, high ROI investment that doesn’t cost companies much. Win-win.
Alternatively, automation technologies might be best explained visually, as demonstrated below:
Wellbeing at work
Wellbeing is a concept that goes beyond the workplace where technology can act as a powerful intermediary to support workers.
Whereas previously portrayed as the ‘absence of illness’, technology’s key role in re-defining wellbeing has become synonymous with a personalised and user-centric digital wellbeing experience.
And organisational leaders have started taking note of this. Of the 2,000 UK workers surveyed, 48% find hard to ‘turn off’ from work, and their organisation’s investment in better tech could support them to work more efficiently.
Why is workplace wellbeing important?
Insights taken from CIPD's Health and Wellbeing at work 2021 report, available here.
In some cases, people are working outside their contracted hours and, in extreme ones, going on annual leave to catch-up on work.
For organisations, it's in their best interest to look after their employees' wellbeing - and automation can help facilitate that.
In fact, our internal automation use has transformed the sick-day request process completely – listen to our podcast here.
Wellbeing innovation : Setting the tone for the future
As remote collaboration has set the tone for what lies ahead on how work might look like, greater emphasis will be put on organisations to make room for alternative ways gettings things done.
Wellbeing innovation will continuously set new benchmarks for what the future of the workplace will look like, with wellness trends continuously evolving to ensure employees, as much as corporate priorities, are equally aligned.
Even the future introduction and wide integration of technologies like 5G, that will further enrich the remote employee experience, wellbeing innovation will largely prioritise an employee-centric focus that aligns with organisational ones.
Beyond WFH, an equilibrium between remote work and in-person collaboration in the office will demand different expectations from organisations moving forward. This means shifting the emphasis of wellbeing to support employees both virtually and in-person – but what does this mean exactly?
Much like technology enablers like cloud computing in simplifying remote work, RPA will play a key part. As previously mentioned, as technology re-defines wellbeing and what this means for organisations, RPA will be a crucial part of this narrative in helping teams to offload tasks and improve productivity, with employee wellbeing at the forefront. The growth and relevance of wellbeing will be parallel to that of automation in the workplace, in that it helps employees become the best and happiest versions they can be.