The COVID19 pandemic caught almost all business leaders by surprise. Out of nowhere, they were suddenly faced with a question no one likes to hear:...
How Automation Is Changing the Workplace
Gone are the days when we had to rely on manual work for every task. Owing to automation in the workplace, we can now get the job done more efficiently.
How lucky are we to be living in a time when automation exists? From paper to software, from manual typing to automated invoice scanning, email scheduling and project management—the workplace has truly become a more efficient space. Let’s dive into how automation is changing the workplace.
What Is Workplace Automation?
Workplace automation uses technology to perform regular work processes that are otherwise done manually. This is often applicable to repeatable procedures that don’t really need manual intervention. It’s a digital strategy that transforms the workplace into a more productive setting.
With automation, workplaces hope to reduce direct human involvement to complete tasks, especially repetitive business processes. Automation can be done through machinery, algorithms, robots or software.
What Are Examples of Automation in the Workplace?
Automation in the workplace is not just focused on one area. So many aspects of work can be automated that it makes employees’ work so much easier. Let’s take a look at some common examples of automation:
1. Customer service
If you’ve tried reaching out to a company or business, you’ve probably already encountered automated customer service. This can be in the form of chatbots or automatic messages that automate usual customer service interactions—something useful when answering frequently asked questions.
Automated customer service will only direct the customer to a representative when the former is not capable of addressing the customer’s needs or other use cases as specified by the business.
Automation in sales can save a huge chunk of time for both the salespersons and customers, especially in these areas:
- Shipments — Customers don’t need to ask an actual sales representative each time they want to check the status of a shipment. Details on dispatch, delivery and return can be easily tracked through a website or mobile app.
- Order processing — Adding to one’s online shopping cart and making an order is easily done through automation. This includes stock management at the seller’s end.
- Invoicing — Invoicing new and existing clients is not only made easy but also more secure with invoice automation.
Marketing automation involves the use of software to automate repetitive and procedural marketing tasks. These include, but are not limited to, social media posting and email marketing.
Marketing automation streamlines processes and workflows while still making the customers its priority.
4. Human resources
Gone are the days when HR professionals had to manually review every single job application they received. They can now be more efficient with automated processes when tracking down potential candidates and scheduling interviews.
Handling payroll and timesheets is also made easier thanks to automation’s ability to reduce mistakes caused by human error and to track an employee’s attendance, schedules, performance reviews, etc.
5. Business spend management
Automated business spend management means going digital for all finance work and saying goodbye to the countless pieces of paper on one’s desk. Using expense automation software does not only guarantee efficiency, but it also gives you peace of mind with its security.
When you use expense management automation, you also get to streamline your accounts payable process with features like data analysis and fraud detection.
What Are the Benefits of Automation in the Workplace?
When you spend less time on manual workflows and repetitive tasks, you not only increase your productivity but also get greater cost savings. This is because automation can reduce labour costs by automating procedural tasks that would otherwise need employee effort.
2. Efficiency and productivity
Automation improves employee efficiency and productivity because it reduces physical labour, which gives employees more time to focus on tasks that need their attention. Imagine all the fruitful and dynamic work you could do when repetitive, labour-intensive tasks are handled by automation!
3. Reduced human error
Manual tasks, such as data entry, commonly lead to human errors. These errors could lead to significant losses, issues and negative impacts on a business, especially when associated with highly sensitive and important documents. Automation mitigates the risk of errors because of its ability to spot and/or flag issues such as peculiar data entry.
Software that companies use for automation generally have features like fraud or threat detection—features that aren’t quite feasible with manual work. You can be confident that your sensitive information is protected.
How Can I Apply Automation in the Workplace?
It may sound like a major shift, but automation has proven time and again that the transition is worth it. Here are some ways you can apply automation in the workplace:
1. Automate repetitive tasks
As much as we love automation, certain tasks can only be done by actual humans because of their critical thinking skills. With that, be sure that the tasks you automate are repetitive and labour-intensive, such as answering common and frequently asked customer queries. Start by automating repetitive tasks, and as you digitally transform your business, you can scale the level of automation.
2. Make sure that the automation software is user-friendly
Having programs or software that are hard to use pretty much defeats the purpose of automation. Be sure that the software you use is easy to operate and accessible across devices to guarantee that you’re optimising the business’s workflow and not going backwards.
Employees should see automation as a helpful tool that can improve their work performance instead of something dreadful that further adds to their work.
3. Assure employees that automation will help them, not replace them
One of the fears of employees today is that technology is replacing them. As you implement automation in the workplace, assure your employees that the purpose of automation is to help them, not replace them. Create a clear plan where employees can visualise how much easier their job can be with automation and help them understand that automation is a resource that will support their efforts.
Since automation can take a huge chunk of work off our hands, we can manage our work better and have a more productive workspace.
Curious about automation and how it can help your expense management? Learn more about our automated business spend management here!