Office automation is the process of configuring routine tasks to be completed automatically. By automating tasks in the workplace, your team saves endless hours on creating, storing, collecting, analyzing, and sharing data that is required on a day-to-day basis.
Automation isn’t a tool to replace employees, but to support their daily tasks, leaving their time and brainpower free for focusing on meaningful work. This article will guide you through the three most common types of automation and how they can benefit your workplace.
Repetitive workflow automation
Repetitive workflow automation essentially puts repetitive tasks on autopilot. Automations set these tasks to complete in the background, freeing up a good chunk of your day.
For example, setting up an automatic system to receive and fulfill customer orders can go a long way. Let’s consider Adobe. From the company’s website, you can sign up for Adobe subscriptions and have your order fulfilled in one automated workflow.
That kind of automation is essential to most businesses and that’s why tech companies are hustling to make their products compatible with the most common office tools including Microsoft Outlook, Jira, Zoom, and more.
For example, Joan’s meeting room booking system automatically communicates with Microsoft Outlook (and other standard calendars) to display a meeting room’s schedule and availability, helping employees find available spaces and also not linger in meeting rooms that have been booked. You don’t have to enter the meeting into Joan’s system and then enter it again into your calendar.
Automated reports and analytics
It’s a challenge, if not unachievable, to think of a department in a company that doesn’t benefit from analytics. Marketing teams use analytics to see how many recipients opened and clicked on the emails they sent out. Customer support can keep track of how many tickets they closed, how many remain open, and how satisfied their customers were. Even developers keep track of projects, monitoring how efficiently their team responds to and finishes their tasks.
It’s nigh-impossible for an individual to manually keep track of all of this data, which is why setting up automation is so important.
Now that we’ve covered some uses of automation in the workplace, how much can automation benefit a company?
Saves time and increases productivity
Automating repetitive, tedious tasks saves employees a tremendous amount of time. Rather than wasting a third of their days plugging in the same values, procedures, and practices, automation can fill in the basics for them. This way, the employee can spend their day working on what humans do best: creating, designing, and innovating.
Automations cut costs in more ways than this article can summarize. Not only do companies save on wasted time, but also wasted energy and resources. Statistics can demonstrate which angles are worth the company’s investments, and which aren’t.
For example, automating payroll saves human resources hours upon hours of time, letting the company cut back on HR personnel. Instead of picking through paperwork and printing and writing out cheques, the human resource team simply confirms and approves automatic deposits for each employee.
Less human mistakes
Most industries agree that 70 to 80 percent of mishaps in the workplace are due to human error. This statistic isn’t to belittle human involvement and the need to have real people, as opposed to computers, working our jobs. However, automating the repetitive, droning, and more scrupulous tasks can go a long way to reduce human error.
Example: Structural engineers will design the foundations of a building, piece together the calculations, and layout the drawings. However, these days the engineer can plug his calculations into a program to verify them, making sure they add up and minimize mistakes.
You probably started reading this article with an idea of what office automation is and some of its benefits. However, there is one takeaway you may not have considered as much as you should.
When you face your day-to-day tasks, ask yourself, “Should this be automated?” If the answer is yes, find out if it can be automated. Although we’ve come a long way, we’re not yet at the point where a hover drone can bring you your ten-o-clock coffee.
There’s a good chance a chunk of your and your team’s daily tasks could be automated, leaving the rest of your time free to improve your current roles and innovate new ways to help the company grow. A good way to start is with your meetings – learn more about Joan 6 and order yours.