Many organisations are aware of RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury. When people encounter RSI, the impact on their lives can be significant.
For most people, RSI occurs in a work context which is why good employers have the topic covered in their HR policies.
The two most common situations where RSI occurs are for workers on manufacturing production lines and for workers who spend their day on computer activity.
In the production line scenario, the ideal solution is full automation of the task as illustrated by “Clamcleats Ltd” – please see https://www.universal-robots.com/case-stories/clamcleats-ltd/
For computer users, the situation has often been looked at in terms of working posture, effective seating and desk ergonomics. There is some good information on RSI and actions to address the condition at http://www.rsiaction.org.uk/ and https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/muscles-bones-joints/repetitive-strain-injury-rsi . The recent trend to introduce “Stand-up” desks to address wider health concerns can also help address RSI situations.
The emergence of software robots for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provides a potential additional means of addressing RSI for computer users. Of course, it is too simplistic to consider that all the “Repetitive” activity on computer work can be handed over to a software robot for the delivery of an instant solution but by deploying a software robot for the mundane tasks, it can free a person to focus on different aspects of a process where there is likely to be more thinking time or interaction with colleagues and less intense computer work.
Initial implementations of RPA software robots have been focused on “Un-attended” activity to replace human actions on large parts of a business process, however this is rapidly evolving to also involve the deployment of “Attended” software robots. Such robots interact with the computer user to perform activity that aids the user by delivering small elements of automation. Lots of small elements of automation could be a real help for RSI suffering staff.
The leading RPA vendor UiPath, has a mission of getting “A software robot for every person using a computer”. This could be an important option to address RSI situations and one where HR staff will be looking to work with IT staff to develop the right policy solutions.