[Report] Samsung Finds European Workers Defying Facebook Bans
British employees are the most likely in Europe to ignore workplace restrictions on social media, messaging apps and cloud storage apps, according to a new study involving 4,500 office workers launched today by Samsung Electronics.
The research reveals that two in five European office workers (40 percent) are banned from using Facebook at work, or have restricted access to it. Nevertheless, more than two in five UK employees (41 percent) who know their companies restrict Facebook defy their employers by using it at work.
The next highest were the Germans (34 percent), followed by the Spanish (33 percent), Italians (32 percent), and Belgians and Dutch (31 percent).
The nation most obedient to company Internet policy is France, with only one in five (20 percent) French workers knowingly accessing social media against the instructions of their employer.
Similar proportions admitted to using cloud storage apps (40 percent), messaging and telephony apps (39 percent), video streaming services (41 percent) and Twitter (40 percent) at work. These employees either ignored workplace bans, or used their own technology to overcome work-imposed restrictions.
‘Trust gap’ is fuelling unauthorised Internet use
The research suggests that corporate restrictions on Internet use are fuelled by a lack of trust shown by some European bosses. This ‘trust gap’ is revealed in the finding that barely half (51 percent) of all workers in the survey said that their employers gave them freedom to use technology as they wish, and treated them as if they had good knowledge of technology.
Almost a fifth (17 percent) said that their employers assume that they have very little technology knowledge and impose extreme restrictions on technology.
Commenting on these findings, Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Consumer and Business Psychologist at University College London, said: “From a security point of view, it’s perfectly natural that employers should want to control their employees’ use of technology, to a degree. If, however, they also neglect the contemporary needs of their workforce they may face reductions in employee productivity and engagement.
“The days when employees would simply follow the rules without questioning them are truly behind us. Trust, clear communication and meaningful frameworks are far more effective at facilitating constructive behaviour – both at work and at play.
“Banning technologies and websites in the workplace often has the opposite effect to that intended, as this study shows. Real trust must be mutual. Organisations are far better off observing how employees are working, and then finding ways to make this behaviour compatible with the workplace.”
The need for clear boundaries
Rob Orr, Vice President of Enterprise Business, Samsung Europe, said: “The younger generation is showing what workplaces will look like in just a few years’ time. Businesses cannot afford for their employees to break corporate security and Internet policies as a matter of routine.
“Add in the fact that workers are increasingly using their personal devices at work, and their work devices for personal tasks, and it is evident that organisations need clearly-defined boundaries between both that are understood – and obeyed – by employees.”
The pan-European findings are based on a study conducted by independent market researchers, OnePoll, between 27 May and 9 June 2014, with office workers who use mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops, in some way for work.
This research involved 4,500 respondents: 1,000 each in UK, Germany and France, and 500 each in Spain, Italy and Belgium and The Netherlands
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”