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Editor's note: The following article is from Chris Gabriel, the chief strategy officer at Sapphire. An Automation Anywhere partner, Sapphire is the largest digital operating transformation provider to mid-market and mid-enterprise clients.

A growing number of employees believe online collaboration and communication tools hurt productivity. To help employees reduce mistakes and do their jobs better, they want their companies to deploy Digital Workers, or in other words, intelligent automation software bots.

At Sapphire, an Automation Anywhere partner, we sponsored a study by the independent research firm Kantar that surveyed more than 1300 workers in March 2022. The study delves into whether using tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Cisco Webex increased employee productivity over the past two years—an assumption that took hold when people started working from home.

When asked, most respondents stated that rather than aiding productivity, the collaboration and communication tools caused the respondents to be distracted, disengaged, and dispirited, and, as a consequence, they struggled to do their jobs properly during that time.

Only 32% of workers found life on Zoom benefited their working lives.


A productivity paradox

Of the respondents:

  • 71% said distractions caused by the tools resulted in mistakes when completing day-to-day tasks
  • 78% said that using these tools added stress to their jobs
  • 81% stated that the constant interference such as chat distracted them from work they needed to get done.

People have had enough of making mistakes—examples quoted in the study include keying in the wrong data, failing to update the right spreadsheet, and sending an email to the wrong address. The performance of anybody required to do repetitive tasks or tasks prone to error is bound to be worse under this new working paradigm. So, what’s the solution?


Where Digital Workers can help

Forty-two percent of respondents wanted their companies to make the processes they use to carry out day-to-day tasks simpler and faster. What jumps off the page from the research is that 1 in 5 workers specifically requested a Digital Worker to help them improve their productivity.

That request didn’t come from IT departments or department heads but from people on the ground who wanted a better way to do their job. Digital Workers can automate, accelerate, and streamline tasks, eliminating errors and freeing employees for higher-value work.


Automating for the future

Digital Workers can not only help today but also going forward. In that regard, companies should consider another finding from the study: 55% of respondents aged 16-24 found their online working existence unattractive, compared with only 37% of 49–54-year-olds.

The writing is on the wall. Unless we give that younger, digital generation the tools they believe they need, the productivity paradox could be replaced by an accelerated great resignation as they vote with their feet and find a company that will provide the tools to solve their frustration.

The appetite for digital innovation to give people back a sense of belonging, connection, and job satisfaction could be a great business case for Digital Workers.



What Can Digital Workers Do for Your Employees?

About Chris Gabriel

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Chris is the chief strategy officer at Sapphire.

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