Regardless of whether an office handles development, managerial tasks, or houses the team on your customer service frontline, employee focus is essential. It makes for a good office atmosphere, it can boost productivity and efficiency, and it’s a signifier to high employee satisfaction.
Yet it was reported last year that a staggering 85% of employees aren’t engaged – or are actively disengaged – in the workplace. This comes from a variety of issues, from lack of creativity, to tasks that are too long-winded or confusing. Clearly, employees need a little focus pocus to get them through that long working day.
But what can be done about this disengagement dilemma? The answer may lie in business process automation and emerging artificial intelligence (AI).
Focus Enemy: The Mundane
Every job comes with its share of mundane, tedious, or just plain repetitive tasks. It could be necessary administrative duties, some manual data entry, or ordering supplies, for example. It’s all important stuff, but the monotony of this kind of chore is both a mood and productivity killer. These dull tasks often hold your team back from the ground-breaking, challenging, or creative stuff.
Mundane tasks are mundane because they don’t demand much attention to complete. As such, your employee’s behavior essentially becomes robotic and devoid of enjoyment. The human brain hates being idle, and when there’s little thought required to complete tasks, the brain switches off or starts to daydream. Focus disappears, and trying to claw it back when the tedious task is completed saps employee energy. As a result, the office atmosphere and employee mood become sluggish, and productivity is impeded.
In fact, repetitive, mundane tasks like manual data entry and suffocating administrative tasks can even lead to depression. No joy or sense of accomplishment is found in completing the work, and no sense of fulfillment is supplied to your long-suffering team. The worst part is that the work never feels finished. With every new email, complaint, or request, there’s more draining, mundane work to be done.
Fortunately, there is an antidote to this focus issue. AI and automation can help remove workplace repetition by handling our thoughtless or routine processes. Instead of making your human team act like robots, you can let AI or automation handle the robotic work.
AI and automation are also great at simplifying more intricate tasks. By breaking down complex processes into automated workflow steps, business process automation can take some of the burden away from your team. In fact, AI and automation can help your human team in almost any area – from maintaining IT systems, to managing data, to meeting customer support needs via smart AI chatbots.
Where the Magic Happens
It’s here, in the introduction of a little tech help, that the focus pocus magic happens. The assistance that AI and automation can provide your team doubles as a way to boost employee focus in four main areas.
- Frees up time
AI and automation free up time for more rewarding, meaningful work. Rather than plowing through the routine, employees can turn their attention to more interesting endeavors. Thoughtful work is more rewarding, as employees feel their efforts are adding value to the organization. It’s this interest that both demands and drives employee focus and attention.
- Restores workload control
One of the issues around focus-killing repetitive tasks is that they never seem to end. Employees find their morale and attention being buried by admin overkill. They can feel that they have no control over their workloads – which further damages mood and focus. Automating some of these tasks reduces their volume, which restores a sense of control over the working day.
- Simplifies processes
On top of handling simple processes, automation can support your employees with meatier tasks. By completing parts of a difficult process for your team, AI and automation make tasks easier and quicker to accomplish. This gives your employees an easy win to ease them into focus for the working day. Plus, because tasks are completed more efficiently, more can be accomplished.
- Improves employee mood
Perhaps the simplest way that successful automation use improves employee focus is the overall effect it has on the office mood and atmosphere. By improving employee workloads, feelings of control, and perceptions of work value, employee mood gets a boost. Productivity breeds productivity.
Unfortunately, there is a caveat to AI and automation in the workplace. Used wrong, the technology can also damage the mood of the office. It’s important to remember that you cannot completely replace your workers with artificial intelligence or automation software. Trying to do so will damage the working environment by causing heightened automation anxiety.
Automation anxiety is the fear of losing your job to technology. When automation anxiety hits your office, it can fester, spread, and ultimately annihilate employee focus. An anxious office atmosphere is both distracting and demoralizing. It reduces focus on the tasks at hand in favor of worrying about job security, and causes productivity to take a hit. In extreme cases, automation anxiety can even see otherwise loyal employees looking to jump ship.
However, this can be avoided by implementing automation correctly. That is, not to replace your team, but to support them – and making this intention clear from the offset. So, always remember that AI and automation are tools that should be used as a robotic assistant – there to help your employees, not replace them.
It’s All Focus Pocus
Sometimes, we all wish we had a magic wand to help us get more done in the working day. While there’s no such thing as wands, focus pocus in the form of automation and AI is readily available.
Automating the mundane, simplifying the complex, and giving your team a helping hand will boost that all-important employee focus. In turn, productivity and morale will spike. Why not reduce your toil and trouble with the right technology?