UK workers seek automation over collaboration tools amid productivity crisis

New research by Sapphire Systems, the digital operating platform provider to mid-market and enterprise organizations, has revealed that British workers feel collaboration tools are a distraction and cause them to make mistakes, and are instead calling for employers to invest in helping them work faster, smarter, and simpler.

The survey of over 1000 UK workers commissioned by Sapphire Systems reveals that the overuse of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom during the pandemic has led UK workers to make more mistakes after becoming distracted and stressed by multi-tasking and intrusive colleague interactions.

Just 32 percent of workers surveyed found collaboration tools enabled them to complete their day jobs more effectively, with 81 percent stating that the constant interference such as chat distracted them from work they needed to get done.

71 percent of workers stated that distractions caused by these tools have caused them to make mistakes when completing day to day tasks, and 78 percent feel they spend too much time in meetings, reducing their available time to get their normal tasks completed.

Moreover, 56 percent of workers said they found the tools excluded them from contributing their individual points during meetings, with 69 percent of 16–24-year-olds finding it most difficult to find their voice compared with only 48 percent of 49–54-year-olds.

According to the research, 42 percent of workers want employers to make routine tasks easier and faster to deliver, improving their personal productivity and reducing stress as a result. 39 percent want their employers to improve systems used to do their day jobs, and 20 percent would like their company to provide a ‘digital robot assistant’ to complete their repetitive tasks for them automatically.

Chris Gabriel, chief strategy officer at Sapphire Systems, said: “With British companies already facing a perfect storm of the great resignation, a skills shortage, and an inflation crisis, the last thing they need to do is to overwhelm people with tools that don’t help them do their day jobs and force them into making frustrating mistakes.

“There is clearly a place for collaboration tools, but companies simply may have lost touch with what employees consider truly necessary to do their jobs effectively and productively – and that can only harm employee satisfaction and our economic recovery. 

“This survey shows that your average worker wants their company to reduce the confusion, exclusion, and mistakes, for people whether working from home or in the office, all of which is diluting productivity and causing frustration. Workers are very clear they want their companies to refocus on the things that help them work faster and smarter, with 1 in 5 already asking to be given personal digital robotic assistants to automate repetitive day to day tasks.  It is clear, workers want less Zoom and new investments in the tools that take them forward faster into a new era of digital productivity.”