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According to a recent survey conducted by automation software firm UiPath, a substantial majority of workers (approximately 60%) believe that AI-powered automation solutions can mitigate burnout and significantly improve job satisfaction. Moreover, 57% of the respondents expressed a more positive perception of employers that integrate business automation to support their employees and streamline operations than of employers that do not, reflecting their favorable attitude towards such practices.
As workloads intensify, 28% of individuals report taking on extra responsibilities due to layoffs or hiring freezes. A full 29% of workers worldwide experience burnout. This is fueling an escalating dependence on AI tools for alleviation.
The automation generation
These factors are contributing to the emergence of what has been called the “automation generation” — professionals who proactively adopt automation and AI to enhance collaboration, foster creativity and boost productivity, regardless of age or demographic.
These individuals actively seek technologies that enhance their professional and personal lives, as they strive to avoid feeling dehumanized.
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One of the survey’s primary revelations is that 31% of respondents actively employ business automation solutions in their workplaces.
The automation generation subgroup believes they have the resources and support they need (87%) to carry out their responsibilities effectively. Furthermore, 83% of these workers believe that business automation solutions can effectively mitigate burnout and enhance job satisfaction.
“With more than half of respondents stating they believe automation can address burnout and improve job fulfillment, it is clear that AI-powered business automation technology is already positively impacting business and technical workers and helping them to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks and focus on more critical and gratifying work,” Brigette McInnis-Day, chief people officer at UiPath, told VentureBeat.
She emphasized that this assertion is reinforced by the fact that among the respondents who are already using business automation solutions, 80% believe that these solutions enable them to perform their jobs more effectively, and 79% hold a more positive perception of employers that implement business automation than of those that don’t.
The survey, administered in March 2023, was conducted in partnership with Researchscape. It garnered online responses from 6,460 executives worldwide. Topline results were weighted to ensure representation of each country’s GDP, with the following distribution: U.S. (55%), Japan (10%), Germany (9%), India (8%), United Kingdom (7%), France (6%), Australia (4%) and Singapore (2%).
Tackling office workloads through AI
The survey reveals that workers worldwide are increasingly embracing automation and AI-powered tools to tackle mundane tasks.
Specifically, respondents expressed their desire for automation to assist in tasks such as data analysis (52%), data input/creation (50%), IT/technical issue resolution (49%) and report generation (48%).
When questioned about the sources of their burnout and work fatigue, respondents highlighted working beyond scheduled hours (40%), pressure from managers and leadership (32%), and excessive time dedicated to tactical tasks (27%) as the primary causes.
“AI-powered automation emerges as a solution to alleviate these leading causes of burnout, enabling workers to swiftly and effortlessly locate and analyze data while streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks,” McInnis-Day told VentureBeat.
Workers of the automation generation emphasize flexibility, career advancement and focused work time. In terms of where automation tools impact their jobs, respondents expressed the desire for enhanced flexibility in their work environments (34%), allocated time for acquiring new skills (32%) and dedicated hours for critical tasks (27%).
“Unlike the previous defining generational categories, the automation generation encompasses all ages and demographics,” explained McInnis-Day. “It is the professionals embracing AI to be more collaborative, creative and productive as well as using these technologies to deliver more satisfying, positive workplace experiences, enrich their personal lives and prevent them from overall feeling like robots themselves. They are looking for a renewed and revived sense of purpose in their work — and automation is helping them realize that.”
Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that younger employees are more receptive to these new technologies. Majorities of Generation Z (69%), Millennials (63%) and Generation X (51%) respondents firmly believe that automation has the potential to enhance their job performance.
“Among the workers surveyed, 31% of respondents said they were already utilizing business automation solutions (of this group, 39% were Millennials and 42% were Gen Z). Additionally, of the 31% already using business automation solutions, 87% feel they have the resources and support needed to do their job effectively,” added McInnis-Day. “The findings prove that employees using AI-powered automation believe in its ability to advance their careers and support work-life balance.”
According to McInnis-Day, persistent economic uncertainty and the need for organizations to accomplish more with fewer resources will drive increasing demand for automation and AI-powered tools. She said that companies that adopt an open and adaptable approach to deploying AI are best positioned to attract skilled employees who can contribute to their success.
“The top resource the automation generation identified as the key aspect that would help them do their jobs better and/or advance was technical tools and software,” she said. “Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they were looking for these technology tools to help them respond to today’s economic and labor market pressures.”
She advises business leaders to equip their workers with AI-powered automation tools to thrive in an automation-first world and alleviate resource constraints.
“These survey results provide compelling evidence that incorporating AI-powered automation across the organization is not only a wise investment but also aligns with employees’ preferences,” she said. “With workloads on the rise and employees seeking careers that offer a healthy work-life balance, the integration of AI-powered automation becomes crucial in delivering more fulfilling and positive workplace experiences.”
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