Could the UK's productivity puzzle be solved by robots?

Almost two-thirds of workers feel that a robot would be more productive in the office compared to their colleagues, which could potentially help alleviate the UK’s productivity puzzle.

This is according to V1, whose poll found that 62 per cent of employees believe a robot would be more productive than their colleagues.

To add to the UK’s productivity puzzle,  the decline in productivity for the past decade, in October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that output per hour dropped by 0.5 per cent. This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of negative growth for labour productivity. This was the fastest rate of productivity has fallen in five years.

Dean McGlone, director of V1 believes the embracing idea of a ‘cobot’ (colleague/robot) is a matter of urgency to address the situation. Brexit has also been blamed for the drop in productivity.

A report undertaken by Advanced, found that 77 per cent of workers would be happy to work alongside robotic technology if it led to less manual processes.

Mr McGlone said:

Businesses need to get better at supporting their staff in winning back valuable time to spend on higher value activities. This means simplifying key business processes as well as eliminating mundane administrative tasks which can only be achieved with the support of technology. The good news is that robotic technology is increasingly recognised as a force for good in business. If all businesses can wake up to the benefits of automation, we will be able to reverse the productivity decline.

We are already seeing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software used to streamline basic processes and take care of low-value and tedious tasks. RPA has been a buzzword for some time, but now it’s clearly taking shape. It can handle certain tasks more quickly and accurately than humans can. And it’s this technology that will become a commodity – just as cloud technology is today.

V1, an automation company conducted a twitter poll of 1,300 workers to put these results together.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.