August is the month we traditionally get away for the summer. And while this year might be different and you may be in Manchester instead of Malaga, it’s likely you have, are, or about to ditch the working environment and set off for a recharge.
While the weather, company and change of scenery is always important, this year it is even more so. 18-months on from the start of the pandemic people are desperate to create some headspace and relax. According to this article in The HR Director, Google searches for ‘stress symptoms’ peaked throughout 2020 with COVID, isolation, job security, and home-schooling among other concerns putting workers under the microscope. Searches for these terms peaked in early October, coinciding with the second lockdown announcement in the UK. ‘Symptoms of stress’ was a ‘breakout’ search term of 2020, meaning the search term grew more than 5000% compared to the previous year. There was also a 50% increase in the search term ‘chronic stress symptoms’. Put simply, we need a holiday.
But is a couple of weeks nearly enough? Data suggests the pandemic is in retreat and while it won't disappear overnight we are getting back to some kind of equilibrium. From an employment perspective, this must absolutely not equate to how life was pre-March 2019. Yes, burnout, stress, boredom and a dissatisfaction with work/life balance are symptomatic pressures of the recent past, but they were present before, too.
For all the problems COVID has caused, one of its potential blessings is that it has forced employers and employees to re-evaluate what is important from work. Individuals are now empowered - to a degree - to choose how and what they want to do in a work context which is why freelancing has taken off in popularity. According to Freelance UK, 34% of UK freelancers began their work at the beginning of March when the pandemic hit. But the world also requires full time employees operating at the behest of bosses. Unable or unwilling to go alone, what is this group to do when it comes to ensuring a bright working future?
People want purposeful
Eradicating mundane work has been held up for sometime as the totem to which businesses and employees should collectively gather around. The difference between now and previous points in history is that we have been presented with a burning platform for change. As this 2019 article in the Harvard Business Review opens with, ‘People want purposeful work, and managers know it’. Moving away from mundane work isn't just good for employees either but also the bottom line. Cutting time spent and/or wasted, reducing errors and duplication and improving efficiency - no matter how small - all add up and, for global organisations, can make a huge difference.
We are at a flection point now with businesses slowly opening back up and workers returning to the office. Yet doing so having proven that jobs can be done remotely, digitally and autonomously. Having been able to largely shed elements of unwanted aspects of work, like the commute or filing, businesses shouldn’t expect to see an orderly queue of employees wanting to revert to type. Conversely employees know that tools and technology exist to take on the boring, mundane and repetitive work so any reluctance for businesses to embrace and use them long-term will be met with anything from disgruntlement to outright fury. This will be an issue as people will ultimately vote with their feet and innovative, forward thinking companies will attract the best talent, keeping them ahead of the competition as this Raconteur article looks at (free subscription required).
Move away from the mundane
Just like we all enjoy coming back from holiday to a clean house, so too do we want to return to work with an office set-up for 21 Century commerce. This means that, for businesses looking to move the mundane jobs away from people, that it is done in the correct and most efficient manner - failure to do so will create more work, not less. This is why process orchestration is so critical. It takes the notion of bots doing administrative jobs one step further by ensuring that they’re connected, talk, share information and operate in sync and sequence. And it is orchestration that is at the core of successfully moving away from the mundane.
So let’s make Summer 2021 the start of a permanent holiday from this type of work. A time to say adios to admin, ciao to checklists and bye to the boring. To let us help you get there, drop us a line here and one of the team will be in touch.