What does automated office automation mean for us?
The future is coming.
That’s the takeaway from the latest findings from a recent study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
The study’s authors say they were inspired to look into the topic by the way many of their colleagues have been embracing automation over the past year.
“We wanted to see if the way people were using the office automation technology they had around was going to be the same in a year or two,” said Daniel D’Agostino, a computer science professor at Stanford University and co-author of the study.
The researchers analysed the use of the office productivity suite by more than 1,000 office workers in the United States over a 12-month period.
They were looking at whether the software had improved productivity and the amount of time employees spent doing work.
“Our findings showed that while there has been a lot of buzz around the office as an area of innovation, automation and the work-from-home phenomenon have had a limited impact on productivity,” said D’Arghonio.
“There’s been a bit of a dearth of research that looks at the impact of these technologies on employees, and how they affect productivity.”
The researchers found that when employees are able to use the productivity suite in their offices, their productivity levels improve by about a third compared to using the same technology at home.
However, when the office was also set up with an Office 365 cloud-based service, the productivity gains were reduced by a similar amount to what the average person was able to achieve using that software.
“What we found is that it’s not really clear whether the productivity improvements of using Office 365 in an office environment are directly attributable to Office 365 or whether there is some other, deeper reason for the productivity improvement,” said Dr David Siegel, co-lead author and assistant professor at the Department of Information Systems and Management at the University of Toronto.
“When you have this much of this stuff in your office, you want to make sure you have enough stuff going through the system so that you don’t end up with more things to do than you can manage.”
Dr D’Aguostino says that while productivity improvements are likely to be a result of the increased automation, it could be even more profound.
“If the productivity benefits are really there, then there’s more to it than just productivity,” he said.
“It’s really hard to find a scenario where the productivity of people is actually worse when you’re using the Office 365 platform, because productivity benefits can be quite dramatic.”
The research team was surprised by the results.
They also found that, despite the increased productivity, employees were still struggling to find the time to do tasks in the office.
“The most interesting finding was that people still felt they were not getting the same amount of work done,” said Siegel.
“While they were able to get a significant amount done in a short period of time using the productivity solution, there were also more issues in getting people to do what they were actually looking for, such as doing tasks that require a lot more time than they had previously.”
This suggests that the productivity benefit of using the cloud may not necessarily be the only benefit that Office 365 provides.
“What is office automation?
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a cloud-hosted software suite that allows users to work from anywhere.
It includes a suite of tools and services that help businesses manage the digital infrastructure they use in their organisations.
The service was launched in 2016 and is available to organisations that have up to 50 employees.
Office 365 offers a wide range of productivity tools, such at how much time people spend working and what tasks they are allowed to complete.
The most recent Office 365 release, which was released in March, also includes new productivity features.
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