May 21, 2020

Covid-19 will accelerate workplace automation, say business leaders

By Ellen Daniel

The majority of professionals expect the Covid-19 pandemic to accelerate the adoption of workplace and industry automation.

This is according to a survey by Internet of Things company Pod Group, which found that 73% of the 500 UK business leaders surveyed believed that Covid-19 will spark a new wave of automation.

62% expect their own companies to speed up plans to use automation in some processes currently carried out by employees. This percentage is even higher in retail, catering and leisure, in finance and in IT and telecoms.

Respondents also said that the driving factors behind implementing workplace automation are reducing costs, being less reliant on human workers and improving work quality.

Workplace automation and Covid-19

Workplace automation refers to the use of software to automate part of a workflow, carrying out tasks that may be repetitive or mundane, the types of tasks humans are not well-suited to but robots are.

With many businesses re-thinking their remote working policies, and faced with significant changes once employees do return to the office, it is not surprising that workplace automation is part of this solution.

However, despite being confident that workplace automation will be more widely used, 39% of business leaders do not have or are unsure about their strategy for using automation technology in a post-Covid-19 world.

“Covid-19 has unquestionably accelerated the speed at which businesses are looking to introduce automation technology,” said Charles Towers-Clark, global chairman, Pod Group.

“With 73% of CEOs of the opinion that automation will help employees to fulfil their potential, the COVID-19 crisis has presented an opportunity to build on the change that many employees have already experienced. The results of this survey make me hopeful that CEOs won’t squander this opportunity by reverting back to command and control methodologies but instead will use digitalisation and automation to create a better working environment.”


Read more: London job vacancies fell by 23% in the week before lockdown easing.


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