In just the last century, the workplace has changed immensely—yet, in many ways, some aspects remain very much the same. The office concept is timeworn and well-tested, and the idea of assembling teams to work together in the common pursuit of a business goal has driven the workforce for decades. However, the way we work and interact while doing that work has changed dramatically, even if we only go as far back as 1980.
From the advent of computerization in the workplace, there has been an unending drive to figure out how to do more in a day with the same resources or less. In the past, businesses most likely comprised an entirely human staff. Even if they worked on computers, it was still the people ultimately responsible for the major efforts of every day. As technology advanced, a blend of full and part-time staff became more economical.
In some businesses, perhaps up to half of all the day-to-day work comes from machines—not people. With the rapid growth of advanced automation platforms and a dramatic societal change triggered by a global health crisis, the future of the workplace has begun to take shape.
How RPA Functions in Today’s Workplaces
Robotic process automation, or RPA, is one of today’s most popular tools for task automation because of its accessibility. Although just one piece of the larger picture for automation, RPA delivers exceptional outcomes when applied to rules-based tasks that typically follow the same workflow repeatedly. Organizations investing in RPA typically do so to take menial, time-consuming, and unsatisfying tasks out of the hands of humans so those workers can refocus on more valuable opportunities.
RPA can achieve many things. In modern workplaces, it is often used for automating tasks such as:
- Moving data between different computer systems or software programs.
- Automating reminders and keeping teams up-to-date on task progress.
- Extracting and migrating data, such as moving invoice information into accounting software.
The Growing Influence of Remote Work
As RPA has taken over many kinds of work, countless companies have suddenly transitioned to remote work. By mid-2020, more than 40% of US workers were operating remotely. Although that number has declined as offices have reopened, the preference for remote work has remained strong. According to Pew, 36% of people said they chose not to work in the office in 2020—by 2022, that number had grown to 61%.
More importantly, the growth of remote work has altered the traditional “9 to 5” principle of the workday. With remote workers more in control of managing their time and their own responsibilities, work may often occur outside of typical hours. While that can boost productivity and employee satisfaction, it also creates challenges for administration and management—but luckily, we already have the perfect tools.
The Fusion of Human and Machine Intelligence
RPA is the perfect tool for integrating a growing remote workforce into a “hybrid” approach that leverages the best of both worlds. With RPA working behind the scenes, it can interface with remote workers who need to access key business systems securely from home or on the go. In an increasingly global economy, RPA and remote work also provide vital opportunities to achieve a truly 24-hour presence. By embracing the potential in remote work, it is possible to build a team of worldwide talent that lets your business escape the constraints of a 9-to-5 day spent solely in a brick-and-mortar building.
Instead, teams remain connected, work happens faster, and RPA ensures everyone stays on the same page. Even huge distances between team members or satellite offices hardly matter when the instant efficiency of automated processes interfaces with the ingenuity of the human workforce. Considering that RPA is just the first step in the intelligent automation of business-wide processes, it’s easy to see the truth: investing in cutting-edge automation today means staying ahead of the competition tomorrow.
Embracing the Future of Work
With the tools available today and the new technologies already emerging, one thing is clear: the next sea change in the way we work is well underway. By embracing the hybrid model and combining office workers, remote staff, and robotic process automation, your teams can achieve substantially more than today’s traditional approaches. The digital transformation of business is here, and now is the time for companies to start a serious consideration of the next stage in their growth and evolution. How can you embrace the best of both worlds and build the workforce of tomorrow?