Thursday, 4th March 2021

Employee wellbeing and Covid-19: Driving automation within IT support services

The unprecedented impact Covid-19 has had on everyone is well documented, and as the world grapples to find a sense of normality despite the ever-changing circumstances, businesses face the responsibility of protecting employees in this unfamiliar new normal. By Kevin Turner, Digital Workplace Strategy Lead, EMEA, Unisys.

Technology is playing a vital role, and the vast growth of remote working has accelerated digital transformation investment in many businesses. The sophistication of automation—artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics—is driving this digital transformation, with the practical applications of these technologies fast becoming part of daily life.


Yet, that’s only part of a wider wellbeing picture, with employer responsibility for protecting their teams from localised virus outbreaks under increasing emphasis and scrutiny. IT support must adapt rapidly to enhance both employee experience and wellbeing as well as customer experience for the business.

How will automation impact those who provide support services and the workforce they serve, amid such challenging times? The future of IT support in the digital workplace is brighter than lights-out predictions, with automation enabling providers to deliver better support experiences to end users.

Does working from home work?

The change in working patterns brought on by the pandemic has caused mass upheaval for businesses, with latest reports indicating such disruption is leading to increased risk of employee mental health issues.

In fact, the number of tech workers who say they are currently worried about their own mental health has jumped from 16% before the pandemic to more like three in five. In addition, the majority which accounts for 87% of workers who had started working remotely during the crisis, said they felt pressured to be more productive to “prove the case for working from home post Covid”, while 36% employees reported their mental health and wellbeing had suffered as a result of working longer hours during lockdown.

IT workers have felt this pressure more than other areas of the business – their function is crucial to the smooth operation of a distributed workforce. Technology has become central to every effective Covid-19 mitigation strategy, and this remains true for employers operating or reopening their workplace. In particular, automation can play a vital role in the short and long term.

Driving employee wellbeing through automation

As we now know, remote workers will no longer “touch base” as often, and the physical worker may well never come into the office. This means that the experience offered by the IT team will need to

ensure high level of performance in systems and support so that business as usual in a digital world continues – the performance of the business now rests on their shoulders.

But with the new dispersed workforce, IT teams have been met with a huge increase of tickets and support requests which have added to their workload, and made it more difficult to work on strategic initiatives. This is where automation can play a part in easing the strain felt by IT teams.

By monitoring and analysing IT consumption in a business, IT teams can deploy automation to pinpoint the causes of frequent IT issues, and deploy fixes quickly and easily, allowing them to take a more proactive approach to their day-to-day tasks. Automation gives workers time for more higher-value tasks such as problem-solving, finding solutions and developing new ideas. This will empower employees, and generate a more engaging and challenging work experience, and play a part in alleviating the pressure that the IT team is under.

Technology is by no means a perfect substitute for direct human contact and presence. But we have already seen the rapid development and deployment of technologies that can enable colleagues, customers, friends, and family to connect in new ways, from virtual planning sessions, new business pitches, right through to virtual Friday drinks and even birthday celebrations.

As we continue to adjust to the new normal, it is vital that businesses harness the power of technology to mitigate risks to employee health and business operations. Business leaders must harness the power of automation to empower IT teams to deliver the support needed for employees during such testing times, to build confidence, boost trust, and give leaders the insight needed to make the right decisions.

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