U.S. Employees Welcome Robotics in the Workplace
Soft® Corporation, a leading enterprise office solutions provider, announced results of a workplace survey that assessed employee’s attitudes of working alongside robots. As organizations implement Digital Transformation initiatives for productivity gains, including robots, concern about jobs and workplace change is natural. The survey results indicate that robots would be welcomed in the workplace by most if they added value and were used for repetitive and menial tasks.
The Fear of Robots Replacing Jobs Is Unfounded
The findings show that a robotic workplace of the future is not perceived as all doom and gloom by employees: 83.7% of respondents don’t think their jobs will be replaced by robots. However, among the small percentage who are worried, those under 30 are more afraid than their older counterparts. Concerns include lack of human emotions in decision making and not having a friend to chat with at the water cooler.
The top three areas U.S. workers see robots as useful are manufacturing and product testing, administrative tasks like paper processing and receptionist, and/or an internal help desk. Fewer than 5% thought jobs involving creativity, deep thinking and the human touch like finance, marketing and sales would ever be replaced.
A Positive Outlook
Many robot workplace positives were cited: 455 workers said that they look forward to getting trained in how to work with robots, so they can learn something new. A small percentage of respondents were already working with robots. Additionally, slightly more than half of respondents indicated they would be comfortable working alongside robots as it would allow them to focus on the core aspects of their job.
The overwhelmingly positive response affirms YSoft’s view that robots can help relieve humans of repetitive, tedious, or physically-strenuous tasks. As an example, YSoft Labs, an internal innovation center within YSoft, develops robots for testing the UI experience on its hardware, embedded software, and mobile phone applications.
“Internet of Things devices are entering the business world and IoT Edge is accelerating adoption of IoT in offices and industrial workplaces. Vigorous function and user experience testing is critical and the need for new, more efficient testing approaches is emerging. Using robots for this work can speed a company’s time to market and allow workers to focus on their IoT solution’s core value by enabling multi-disciplinary tests and accurate and repeatable validation”, said Ondrej Krajicek, Chief Technology Strategist, Y Soft.
Key survey findings:
- 83.7% or 852 people don’t think their jobs will be replaced by robots.
- There is some worry. 463 people or 45.5% of respondents are worried that machines will make decisions that lack the human element/touch.
- Age is a factor. Nearly 23% of workers under 30 are worried of being replaced by robots, compared to nearly 9% aged 45-60, and even fewer — 4% of workers over 60. Most of the worriers thought it would happen within a decade.
- About half, 51%, said they’d feel comfortable working alongside a robot because it would allow them to focus on more interesting parts of their job.
- The top three areas where people see robots as useful are in manufacturing and product testing (34% or 342 people), administrative tasks like paper processing (12% or 127 people) and receptionist and/or internal help desk (8% or 85 workers.)
- 44%, the largest group of respondents, look forward to training to work with robots so they can simply learn something new.
- Is an all robot workplace possible? 59% cannot imagine an entire work environment that involves robots. However, 24% said they can imagine an entire work environment that involves robots in the next 10 years.