Office workers seek to embrace automation, survey says

More workers would welcome benefits of technology

The majority of Irish office workers want to see more automation in their workplace, with almost half saying they would change jobs for a company embracing it more, a new survey claims.

The research, which was carried out by Censuswide for digital transformation specialist OpenSky and involved 1,000 people across Ireland, found 62 per cent would like to see their organisation embrace more automation, such as robotic process automation (RPA) which reduces time-consuming, repetitive tasks. That was more pronounced in Carlow, Dublin and Cork.

Just over a quarter believed automation would results in a four day work week, and 35 per cent said they thought automation would allow them to do their work more effectively.

Among the top benefits of the technologies were the ability to minimise boring tasks, to help during situations such as the current coronavirus pandemic, and to enable information to be processed faster.

Some 32 per cent said automation would reduce the pressure placed on the human workforce, while 71 per cent felt it would have strategic benefits to the organisation, such as reducing costs or streamlining processes.

However, almost 20 per cent voiced concerns about AI and robotics listening to and watching them in the workplace.


"Even though workplace operations were transforming before the pandemic, the current situation has highlighted, more than ever, how vital technology is in terms of supporting businesses to remain competitive and secure long-term continuity during a crisis," William Flanagan, technology and commercial director, OpenSky, said.

“Irish businesses really need to consider investing in technologies that increase productivity levels, reduce costs and enhance customer service levels, enabling them to achieve competitive advantage. The businesses that invest in the tools to uphold competitiveness are the ones that will survive in the long-term - the ones that don’t are more likely to see catastrophic implications, as so many have unfortunately seen recently.”

Mr Flanagan said automation was designed to benefit people rather than replace them. “While the role of emerging technologies, including AI and robotics, will continue to increase in the world of work over the next few years, the most effective strategy is technology and people working together to be innovative and drive growth,” he said.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist