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3 Critical Dangers of Repetitive and Mundane Tasks in the Workplace

Workplace digitization and technology was once welcomed as the cure-all for manual tasks, but it turned out to be the source of a host of repetitive and mundane tasks. A study sponsored by Automation Anywhere discovered that workers waste more than 3 hours daily on such computer tasks every day.

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The same study also revealed that the top three tasks most hated by employees are data entry, managing email traffic, and filing of digital documents. Such tasks expose employees and the organization to problems such as:

  • Physical, mental, and psychological health hazards
  • Repetitive tasks kill creativity and high-level productivity
  • Culture and employee engagement starts to suffer
  • High business process costs in labor, employee error, and reduced productivity

Today, this doesn’t have to be a problem. There are bots for the most common repetitive digital tasks which organizations can use to solve these challenges. Organizations that are willing to explore the benefits of robotic process automation can shield themselves from these common dangers and get on the right side of change.

tired-team-resting-at-workplace
Tired team resting at workplace.

1. Impact on Employee Health

Repetitive tasks such as typing and mouse clicks are common causes of repetitive stress injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition alone is the cause of the second-highest number of surgeries performed in the country and was once named the “chief occupational hazard of the 90s.”

A less publicized health of repetitive tasks is its impact on the mental health of employees. They are not just boring and dreary, they can lead to an adverse mental state. Employees are likely to become demoralized, desperate, depressed, and likely to change their jobs.

In addition to the resultant costs of high employee turnover, workplace mental health issues represent another hidden cost in lost productivity – up to $51 billion per year in the US.

These statistics should make employers pause and think about how their employees can benefit from the automation of business processes using RPA. With RPA software stacks so easily implemented, you can take repetitive and mundane work off the menu and create a healthier workplace. 

While not all low-level tasks can be automated, you likely have one or two repeatable, rule-based tasks you can start with. It will make your employees happy, not to mention the added benefits of a high-functioning workforce, as we shall explore below.

bored-man-looking-at-computer-screen
Bored man looking at computer screen.

2. Repetitive Tasks Kill Creativity and Innovation

Have you heard about Google’s “20 percent time” strategy? Since its inception, the company gives its employees 20% of the workweek to work on a Google-related passion of their own choosing. This is the strategy that gave rise to Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps, and more.

These kinds of results only arise when employees are highly engaged, motivated, and happy with their work. Your organization may not yet be as high-flying as Google, but there are proven upsides to having mid-level employees enough time to strategize and innovate. 

Repetitive tasks affect organizational health from the lower levels up to the highest rungs. According to a 2016 study by ServiceNow, 70% of managers said that manual processes leave them less time for strategic thinking. 

Another study by SnapLogic in 2017 revealed that 90% of workers admit being burdened with boring, repetitive work.  When employees feel “burdened” by their work, there is little room for innovation and creativity. Such organizations don’t find enough time to pause and recalibrate, which is a dangerous situation for business growth. 

Automation helps you to free up the time your employees would otherwise spend on menial tasks. The most boring repetitive tasks are usually the same ones that bots can do very well. Estimates show that one bot can handle the equivalent work of 5 employees at only 30% of the cost. 

Today, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning has also led to a new generation of advanced bots capable of complex tasks. This not only increases your organization’s efficiency but also increases your overall capacity as an organization. 

RPA implementation gives employees time to take care of complex tasks, collaborate with others, engage with the management, and generally create a more productive atmosphere.

3. The Threat to Your Bottom Line

For many business executives, the delay to RPA implementation is because they see no need to fix what’s already working. However, this non-progressive mentality results from a failure to see just how expensive not implementing business process automation can be.

In addition to reduced productivity, manual business processes are expensive to maintain. As a case in point, manual financial processing is especially susceptible to many of the factors that make it impractical to hold onto manual or legacy systems. These factors include time, cost of labor, risk, and compliance costs.

A whitepaper by BlackLine examined the global scale and impact of financial data inaccuracies, revealing that 70% of leaders said they’d made a significant decision based on bad financial data. These inaccuracies were attributed to manual data input and lack of automated checks or controls, highlighting a key problem area where RPA can be used to solve a critical problem.

This in addition to the numerous audit and compliance problems that arise when inaccuracies are detected. As the regulatory landscape expands, financial institutions are under greater pressure to be more accurate, maintain better documentation, and observe reconciliation. This requires the kind of visibility and oversight that only automated processes can offer.

In another example, the 2020 PWC Benchmarking Report suggests that finance automation can help to save 30-40% of the time compared to paper-based processes. 

This data is representative of not just the financial industry, but also many others that suffer from the same expensive challenges of lost time, erroneous information, and regulatory issues. Robotic process automation solves all these and allows organizations to operate more safely and sustainably.

Let Robotic Process Automation Cover You

Despite many organizations remaining comfortable with their current manual processes, the signs of this danger are there for those who are willing to look. Robotic process automation doesn’t just make a good thing better, it solves existing business problems and helps organizations get ready for the future.

If you aren’t sure what mundane or repetitive tasks you can automate with RPA, we can help. Tagence has the team of business technology experts you need to face this wave of change. Get in touch with us for an expert consultation today.