Workers prefer robots to humans in supporting mental health

Stress and burnout are a fact of life during Covid-19. A study by enterprise software firm Oracle and HR research and advisory firm Workplace Intelligence found that 70% of workers are experiencing more stress this year than any previous year, and 25% are burned out at work. However, the survey for the report found that only 18% of people would prefer humans over robots when it comes to supporting their mental health.

Why did the respondents choose this? The survey found that 34% believe robots provide a judgment-free zone, 30% cited an unbiased outlet to share problems and 29% cited quick answers to health-related questions.

In addition, 68% would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work, and 80% of people are open to having a robot as a therapist or counselor, according to the survey.

‘Internet of Behaviors’ is big trend for next year

The “Internet of Behaviors,” or IoB, is one of the top strategic technology trends to watch in 2021, research firm Gartner Inc. reported. IoB takes existing technologies such as facial recognition, location tracking and big data and then connects them to associated behavioral events such as cash purchases or device usage.

“Organizations use this data to influence human behavior,” according to Gartner. “For example, to monitor compliance with health protocols during the ongoing pandemic, organizations might leverage IoB via computer vision to see whether employees are wearing masks or via thermal imaging to identify those with a fever.”

Half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB program by the end of 2025, the firm said. Gartner also listed hyperautomation as another trend.

“Hyperautomation is now inevitable and irreversible,” said Brian Burke, research VP at Gartner. “Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.”

Non-inclusive culture is top reason that women leave tech jobs

The No. 1 reason women leave technology jobs is a “non-inclusive company culture,” according to research by the group Girls Who Code, a nonprofit aimed at increasing the number of women in tech. The research was done in partnership with Accenture plc.

Girls Who Code reported that 37% of women cited non-inclusive culture as the reason they left tech — making it the top reason they left. There are things that can be done to help fix the situation.

“Our research over the past three years has identified three pillars of an inclusive culture: bold leadership, comprehensive action and an empowering environment,” said Kathryn Ross, global open innovation lead and the Black Founders Development Program lead for Accenture Ventures.

“We hope to inspire other companies to understand that with a stronger focus on these pillars, the more likely women are to thrive.”

The group said five cultural practices could help retain 1.4 million young women in tech roles by 2030:

  1. Set external goals and targets to increase diversity and hold leaders accountable.
  2. Encourage all parents to take parental leave when needed and make sure they see senior leaders doing the same.
  3. Provide women with targeted workplace support including mentors, sponsors and employee resource networks.
  4. Reward employees for creativity and innovation as many women who enter technology seek fulfillment and to make a difference in the world.
  5. Schedule opportunities to promote networking with colleagues and senior leaders when everyone can join.

Cybersecurity workers say AI will make their work easier, but being replaced by tech a concern.

Although 88% of cybersecurity professionals believe automation will make their jobs easier, younger staffers are more concerned that the technology will replace their roles, according to research by Exabeam, a big data security analytics firm. The study found that 53% of workers under the age of 45 agreed or strongly agreed that AI and machine learning are a threat to their jobs. In comparison, only 25% of workers ages 45 and older believed the same.

Exabeam’s study included more than 350 professionals in the US, Singapore, Germany, Australia and the UK.