Is Automation a Remedy for the Burnt Out Employee?

In all corners of the globe, business communities have felt the palpable change in the air. While the pandemic is certainly responsible for many reverberating changes, many other changes have long been afoot. Looking at this culture of business change, Adobe recently conducted a survey of 5,500 small and medium business leaders this spring. In it, they published key findings on the dynamics of the changing employee-employer relationship, and how our feelings about time are shaping it. Today, we’re going to unpack some of their findings.

The value of time is changing, and employees are stretched thinner than ever

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, for many of us, our offices were deserted and we logged on from home. In a lot of cases, what initially seemed like a respite from the humdrum of office life quickly became a situation where there was pressure to be “always on.” Remote work was no longer about home and work life balance, but rather, a blending of the two.

In the Adobe survey, nearly half of enterprise workers and 3 in 5 SMB leaders say they feel pressure to be reachable around the clock. In an interview with TechRepublic, Todd Gerber, vice president of product marketing for Adobe Document Cloud, explained that when this happens, most employees blame the company.

“Enterprise workers who work longer hours than they would like blame their company and its administrative processes and tasks, likely because a third of their workweek is spent on unimportant tasks,” said Gerber. Not only is this time an inconvenience, it’s also leading to inefficient work, creating a poor experience for both the company and the employee. But unfortunately, employees feel like they’re getting stuck with the short end of the stick. Gerber continued, “Many are struggling to be efficient during their designated work hours, meaning their work inevitably bleeds into [personal] time.”

Time pressures are driving “The Great Resignation”

Employees, especially Gen Z and millennials workers, crave flexibility in their schedules, and more than half report that they’re willing to switch to a different job that offers more control over their schedules. In fact, in the Adobe survey, they report more than half of Gen Z workers plan to pursue a job in the next year, driving what the company has dubbed the “The Great Resignation.”

SMB leaders felt the trend as well, with more than a third reporting they’ve struggled with employee burnout and attrition in the past year.

This consideration is an important one for employers to put on their scale—solving this problem now can help retain top talent that you otherwise may risk losing.

Solving for burnout with help from technology

Despite the scary headlines implying that robots are coming for our jobs, 91% of both enterprise worker and SMB leaders say they would appreciate tools and technology that would improve their day-to-day processes.

Last month, our new CEO Mike Magnifico published a timely piece on the same subject for the Forbes Tech Council titled 3 Tasks Employees Want You To Automate. Check it out when you have some time! In his piece, Mike points out that the kinds of tasks we’re most commonly outsourcing to automation are exactly the kinds that are contributing to ineffective processes and—you guessed it: employee burnout.

Adobe’s survey bears this out. In their research, the top culprits for delaying job productivity and increasing job dissatisfaction are all ones that also happened to be primed for automation:

  • Search, sharing, accessing files
  • Filling out forms, timesheets and expenses
  • Awaiting signatures
  • Invoicing and payments
  • Collaborating on documents

And to top off their data, they included one more stat that was particularly telling: In a recent Forrester report, a study showed employees who used automation tools from Adobe saved an average of 43 hours annually—that’s a week-long vacation!

The bottom line here is that burnout is real, and the pandemic exacerbated it in a lot of ways. But, with thoughtful integrations, employers can lean into technology to help alleviate some of the pressures their workers are feeling, and gain added productivity to boot.

When deployed with proper planning and strategic rollout, automation is the key solution for supporting employees.

If you want to talk more about your automation strategy or need ideas to help your own employees, our team of experts is here for it. Reach out any time.

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