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UK workers: More robots in the workplace please

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  • 27/09/2017
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UK workers: More robots in the workplace please
The majority of UK office workers would welcome the rise in artificial intelligence and robots in the workplace.

Currently British workers spend only 40% of their time on their primary duties, according to a report released today by Workfront, a cloud-based work management company.

As email, meetings and non-essential tasks take up the bulk of their working week, the research found that UK workers are largely optimistic about the impact automation will have in the workplace.

“Popular culture may depict automation in dystopian terms, but the reality is that the majority of workers are optimistic about automation because they understand how it helps them focus on high-value tasks at work,” said Alex Shootman, president and CEO of Workfront.

“British workers are currently spending only 40% of their time on their primary duties because email and status meetings take up the bulk of their working week,” added Shootman.

While the overwhelming view on automation was positive, 38% feared that “rising automation will place humans and robots in competition for the same jobs in the future.”

The research showed that 84% agreed with the sentiment that “the use of automation in the workplace will let us think of work in new and innovative ways.” Moreover, 82% expressed excitement at the chance “to learn new things as the workforce moves toward more automation.”

However, 92% agreed that “no matter how sophisticated artificial intelligence becomes, there will always be the need for the human touch in the workplace.”

Grant Hendry, head of digital community at Mortgage Gym, said the current process brokers use to do background checks is time consuming and creates uncertainty for consumers. 

“Through a digital advice model, the broker can focus on delivering thoughtful financial advice while some carefully designed AI automatically populates a customer’s details into an affordability calculator and sifts through thousands of mortgage products and criteria to come up with suitable options,” said Hendry.

Jenny Watts, chief operating officer at Habito, said the mortgage adviser can let the robot get on with the things it is good at – form filling, document collation and product research – leaving them free to add the real value for the customer.

“More and more people want to be able to research, ask questions and apply for their mortgages online and that is what we provide at Habito. We use the technology to empower our customers and create capacity for our advisers,” she said.

The report, called the State of Enterprise Work report, is based on a survey of 2,000 office workers in the UK.

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