Here’s How AI Can Drive Greater Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 10: A chorus of iPal robots sing for attendees at the AvatarMind booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 12 and features about 3,900 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 170,000 attendees. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Workers feel that their productivity is declining despite longer working hours – and are now ready and willing to embrace the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tackle this, according to a new study from Fujitsu. Meanwhile, they perceive businesses’ IT as failing to support them, with inadequate security, service failures and challenges in accessing the information that they need to be effective.

However, as the competition for skilled workers intensifies, today’s workplaces are failing to live up to the expectations of their workforce. In fact, almost half of all employees (46 percent) believe that their current workplace does not have a positive impact on the recruitment and retention of people with core skills.

Fujitsu’s new study, conducted by research firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), looked at the challenges that businesses are experiencing as they evolve, from the perspective of their workforce. Findings highlight that not all businesses have the right culture, environment policies and technology to enable their employees to be effective, or to attract talent in the future.

Although employees feel they are working as hard (45 percent) or harder (47 percent) than two years ago, more than 40 percent of respondents think their actual productivity has stalled or declined. This is potentially why most professionals surveyed now consider AI to be a positive force – as they recognize how it helps improve workplace productivity. Today, more than 80 percent of participants believe that AI, experienced via digital virtual assistants or personalized and adaptive user experiences, will have a positive effect on their daily working lives. And it isn’t just the digital native employees who are ready to embrace AI, with this positive outlook shared by both entry-level and more experienced workers.

As employees find themselves working longer hours, they are looking for ways to achieve balance between work and personal lives. This can be accomplished by flexible working hours and practices, with more than half (53 percent) considering this to be “very important” in terms of enhancing productivity. However, more than a third (35 percent) rate their employer’s ability to support a good work/life balance as only adequate or poor. A stimulating and healthy working environment was a close second at 49 percent, with access to the right productivity tools also named by 40 percent as the most important factors in their effectiveness.

Robin Lipscomb, Head of Strategy for Digital Technology Services at Fujitsu EMEIA, says: “The consumerization of IT across the enterprise is blurring the lines between the corporate world and our personal lives. By recognizing this, putting people first and equipping them with the right tools to do their jobs, we will see work and private lives starting to blend together more seamlessly. We are focused on helping realize business outcomes while driving a wider impact on society, and delivering tangible value for customers.”

Nick Mayes, research lead and Principal Analyst at PAC, comments: “The survey findings show that many of today’s workplaces and working practices still prevent employees from maximizing their productivity. Businesses must focus on effective practices by getting their data and processes in order and making it easier for employees to access the information they need, when and where they need it. With these fundamentals and the right technology in place, the possibilities for enhancing productivity are endless, from providing adaptive experiences based on context and location, to intelligent assistance and a highly-personalized service for each individual. And these are key factors that help ensure the retention of top talent, in a highly competitive market.”

In the near future, Fujitsu expects workers to place a greater emphasis on the ability to effectively blend personal and work life. As AI, machine learning and robotic process automation technologies become more widely adopted, people will expect basic processes from their employers, such as onboarding activities and seamless service request automation. Enterprises that succeed in delivering this balance will ultimately be will be able to address the challenges of productivity and will win the war for talent, by attracting and retaining skilled employees. 

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