De-stress your process: how integrated work & automation beat burnout

Smart tools and smarter processes can take a lot of stress out of the workplace.

The Virtual Workplace

Nobody really knows how much workplace stress costs. Estimates range from $300 billion per year in the US alone, including healthcare costs, to $1 trillion globally in lost productivity. Whichever number you land on, stress is a major drag on businesses and on economies as a whole. And the toll it takes on human well-being is impossible to quantify.

It gets worse. The more persistent stress is, the more likely an employee will hit the complete emotional and mental exhaustion known as burnout. Roughly two-thirds of workers experience burnout on the job, including 23% who say they're burned out "all the time." Some 40% of employees who resign cite burnout as the #1 cause. So you can add the expense of filling those positions - typically 50% of the salary - to the spiralling costs of workplace stress.

Some stress at work is inevitable. Indeed, there's such a thing as "good stress", when our responses are heightened because we're highly engaged and excited by a challenging activity. But there's also an awful lot of "bad stress" - anxiety, frustration, confusion, and fear - directly caused by inefficient, confusing business processes. Here are six ways that integrating your tech tools, automating your routine tasks, and streamlining your processes can bring your team a lower-stress future.

Low-friction workflow

Think about all the little snags along the way to a completed project. Hunting for that one key piece of information. Realizing that some of the team missed some crucial feedback.Juggling multiple apps in multiple windows. Personnel changes that mean digging through old emails and private messages to get new people up to speed. We could go on, but we're sure you're feeling those pains.

When work management is streamlined into one operating system of record (OSR) and a consistent set of smart processes, those pains melt away. All of the communication and information for a project, from briefs to production to reviews to publication, is centrally located for everyone to access. Employees can interact with the system without leaving their favorite tools. There will still be bumps in the road - your team is only human - but you'll save a lot of unnecessary stress.

Better communication, and less of it

Technology sure has brought us many amazing communications capabilities. We're tempted to say too many. Between emails and texts and virtual meetings and Slack channels and private Slack channels and comments in Google Docs - and don't forget those old standbys, voice calls and in-person meetings - there are a lot of words flying around a lot of different places. No wonder we miss so many of them.

A centralized OSR means you can say something once and reach everyone who needs to hear it. The perceived need for redundant meetings disappears, as this hub means asynchronous work actually works. Of course, a good digital transformation partner will help you implement clear guidelines for what channels to use when. Planning a birthday party? Sure, throw it in Slack. Reviewing the latest round of assets? An OSR like Adobe Workfront will make sure that's in its proper place, too.

Fewer mistakes

Mistakes happen. But they happen a lot less often when information is automatically shared across platforms than when humans have to enter it by hand. Or when files have to be manually dragged into new folders.

To minimize the kind of stress that sparks panic, cranks up pressure, and mounts into burnout, minimize mistakes. 88% of workers who've used AI on the job say they have confidence it completes tasks without errors. Automated, integrated solutions can set people up for success by giving us fewer opportunities to mess things up.

More balanced workloads

It happens all the time. Things are a little too quiet when suddenly multiple deadlines fall at the same time. Or maybe one team is absolutely slammed while another team is looking for more to do. Managing resources so everyone's busy, but not too busy, is one of the big challenges for any team. And it gets bigger the bigger the team gets.

Unlike typical project management software, an OSR like Workfront looks at all work across the entire organization, both planned and unplanned. And it can include both the organization's strategic priorities and historical data about how long similar tasks have taken. Managers can assign tasks confident that they're not overloading anybody, or leaving resources on the table. This holistic view also makes it easier to see when there's capacity for less time-dependent work, helping avoid those frantic deadline pileups.


Fewer rote tasks, more satisfying work 

What makes creative workers and knowledge workers indispensable? It's right there in the names: creativity and knowledge. Innovative thinking, inventive problem-solving, deep insight, emotional intelligence: all the things a machine can't do.

So it's a real waste when these same workers spend so much time doing repetitive tasks, from moving data around to re-sizing creative assets. Integrating your tools and platforms with Adobe Workfront and automating processes with Fusion can eliminate a lot of this rote manual work. Employees are freed up for more higher-level work that has real impact. That means much greater job satisfaction, turning bad stress into good stress. 

Less managing work, more managing people

Finally, AI is changing the role of manager. Harvard Business Review predicts that up to 65% of current managerial tasks could be automated by 2025. Approvals, QA checks, performance analytics, processing forms, making sure tasks have been completed: that kind of work administration could be partially or completely AI-driven. We're already there for much of the workflow-related management, with the current capabilities of Workfront augmented by Fusion. 

And that's good news for managers and their direct reports. Why? Because it means being a manager can be less about managing work and more about managing people. Rather than spending their precious face-to-face time on project status updates, managers and employees can spend more time on professional development, morale checks, and strategic grounding. 

It's the difference between a foreman counting widgets and a coach bringing out the best in the team. Since 40% of departing employees cite lack of development opportunities as a reason for quitting, that difference could be decisive for your organization.

But it's not just about the tech

All these technological developments are exciting, but not enough in and of themselves to de-stress your process. Tech tools should be deployed intentionally and strategically to enable efficient processes. And they should be rolled out with expertise in change management and sensitivity to the human beings who will use them. That's what WNDYR does. From integrating tech platforms and automating tasks to process design and training, we build solutions that recognize the human factor. Drop us a line. We'd be happy to tell you more.

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