COVID-19-related workplace safety automation here to stay, manager survey shows

Photo: Mongkolchon Akesin/iStockphoto

Waltham, MA — Managers envision a future world of work full of COVID-19-related safety protocols and automation, according to the results of a recent survey.

MindEdge Learning, a developer of virtual education courses, conducted an online survey of 830 managers in January. An overwhelming majority of respondents – 87% – stated their organization already has introduced new health and safety measures related to the pandemic, and 46% expect such measures to remain in place for some time.

Automation and robotics have grown increasingly prevalent in workplaces as a result of COVID-19, findings show, as 52% of the respondents said their organizations have increased their use of the technologies since the onset of the pandemic. Thirty-nine percent of the managers whose organizations adopted automation reported the move was done mainly to protect worker safety and health, while 33% said the maneuver mostly was tied to cost cutting.

The ongoing transition, however, doesn’t come without concerns: 53% of the respondents indicated their workers are “very” or “fairly” worried about short-term job security, compared with 25% who said their employees are “not at all” concerned. Additionally, 63% of the respondents said COVID-19 has prompted a reduction in their workforce, with 13% anticipating continued significant reductions after the pandemic ends.

“Workforce reductions due to the pandemic have led more workers to take over new workplace responsibilities,” MindEdge Learning Director of Research Frank Connolly said in a press release. “In this ‘new normal,’ it is critical that companies find ways to upskill and retrain their employees.”

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