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Could Robotic Process Automation Help Alleviate Work-Related Stress?

Blog: Expandabot - RPA

Robotic Process Automation can help alleviate workplace stress

Office woman in obvious stress at her desk.

Is this just another outrageous claim to get business owners onboard with RPA?  The last article claimed Robotic Process Automation could help reduce common office place injuries.  Now, are we to believe that this new technology can help with feelings?  Stress is defined by the


MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia


as “a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.  Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.”  Stress in the workplace is thought to be the major source of stress for an adult in a developed country.


What damaging effects can this workplace stress cause?  According to the


Better Health Channel


(a website managed and authorized by the Department of Health & Human Services and the State Government of Victoria, Australia) there are many physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms that stem from work-related stress.  These include fatigue, muscular tension, headaches, heart palpitations, skin disorders, depression, anxiety, irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed or unable to cope, difficulties concentrating, absenteeism, aggression, diminished creativity or initiative and a drop in work performance to name a few.


What are some of the common factors that cause work-related stress?  Again, according to the Better Health Channel, these factors include a heavy workload, long hours, tight deadlines and boring work.  The


2017 ComPsych StressPulseSM Survey


says “workload is the primary cause of stress for 39 percent of employees.”  Interestingly, “fifty-six percent of employees see accomplishing basic work responsibilities as their top priority” and 59% of all employees “have high levels of stress, with extreme fatigue” and or “feeling out of control” according to the survey.  The


American Institute of Stress


states: “One survey showed that having to complete paperwork was more stressful for many police officers than the dangers associated with pursuing criminals.”


So, what are we to do?  An article on, entitled “25 Ways To Cut Employee Stress And Boost Productivity”


, suggests things like “Walking Groups”, switching to Decaf, “Inspirational Quotes”, “Sincere Compliments” and perhaps a “Puppy Play Day”.  While many of these suggestions would definitely boost employee morale (who doesn’t like puppies?), one suggestion, far down the list, stood out to me for obvious reasons.  Under the subheading “Invest in Technology”, the Forbes article states that technology could be “our greatest friend” or our “greatest enemy”.  The author is correct.  We don’t just deal with a word processor anymore.  We have mobile apps, email clients, spreadsheet apps, CMR apps, EHR/EMR apps, web-based apps, several websites to check insurance or credit eligibility and the list goes on.  While all these applications help us to complete individual tasks more efficiently, to complete a full process like insurance eligibility on one patient can still take several minutes to complete.  Then, trying to repeat the process several times throughout the day, without mistakes, while answering the phone, completing other office tasks and maintaining a courteous manner with office visitors can get quite stressful.  Most office workers I meet say that they just need help.  They know what to do.  They just need someone to do exactly what they do, the way they do it, so they can catch up on the more important things like customer interaction.


Around this time is when I introduce them to Robotic Process Automation or RPA for short.  RPA is that link in between all our apps; the link between our tasks that can help us complete our processes.  It doesn’t want our job.  RPA doesn’t have feelings and it doesn’t get stressed when we ask more of it.  RPA just does what we ask it to do, how we ask it to do it, every single time.  RPA can’t ease the worries of a customer or get creative and try to outshine us.  RPA can simply follow the steps in completing our processes that we outline with complete accuracy and extreme speed.


If the main cause of office-related or work-related stress is from an overwhelming workload of boring, menial, basic and repetitive tasks, doesn’t it just make sense to reduce that workload?  And doesn’t it make sense, instead of hiring and training a person to do these boring processes, to let Robotic Process Automation keep this workload in check?  Think about it.  If those boring processes are being completed, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the business to hire/train someone to handle the more sensitive, the more human and the more customer oriented tasks?  With our back office operating costs now fixed and under control, we could focus on expanding our business.  Instead of hiring a person to do robotic work, we could hire more marketers, salespeople and customer service representatives.  All of this would reduce work-related stress while increasing the satisfaction of our customers, clients and patients.


With the way things are going in the world, couldn’t we all benefit from less stress?  What do you think?  Could Robotic Process Automation or RPA help in alleviating workplace stress?


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