As a business owner, you understand how important it is to get things completed in a timely manner. Failing to do so can lead to spending more of your budget, or even missing deadlines that could have serious consequences for your business. Thankfully, we live in an age where technology can be an incredible tool when it comes to getting everything done. If tasks aren’t being completed in your workspace, or you’re looking for ways to get things done more efficiently, take a look at these tips on how to automate workplace tasks. But first, what is automation in the workplace?
Automation means using technology to help perform tasks that would usually require human intervention. You can use it in many different applications; from data entry right the way through to complex tasks like supply chain management. The great thing about automating tasks in your business is that it reduces costs, increases efficiency, and also reduces the chance of human error. Some automating tools are low in cost and can be extremely valuable, whereas others may cost you a little bit more. But, don’t underestimate the value of investing in these automation tools because not only could they help make things more efficient, but they could save your business a lot of money in the long run.
So, what are some examples of where you could use automation for your business?
You might think that automating office tasks seems pretty trivial and pointless, but sit back and ask yourself how much time you spend each week, month, or even each year on email management and setting up meetings? Think about how much more time you could have on your hands to do other important tasks within your business if you no longer had to perform those roles. Sure, you could delegate that part of your workload to someone else, but that would require hiring another person, or pushing those tasks onto someone else which could decrease their productivity.
On the other hand, if you invested in tools that could automate scheduling your meetings and sorting through your emails, you could free up that time without having to spend more money on wages. The great thing about automation tools is that once you’ve set them up with your preferred settings, they’ll do their job during the active hours you set, and you don’t have to think twice about it.
Not only does customer service take up a lot of your time, but in this day and age, you need to be available 24/7 to respond or help out your customers. Thankfully, you can automate an element of your customer service needs. If you have a website, for example, you can set up an AI-powered chatbot or “virtual assistant” that can be online 24/7 to deal with visitors to your website. They are able to handle basic customer queries, book appointments, and even help direct customers to where they want to be on your website. The best bit? You can free up more of your valuable time while at work and not have to worry about customers going unanswered while you’re not at work.
Applying this kind of automation to your business not only improves efficiency, but it also improves your overall customer satisfaction. And, when a customer is satisfied, they’re more likely to spread the word about your business and return in the future.
If you’ve ever led a large project, you’ll know all too well how challenging it can be to assign tasks to team members based on their skill sets and working hours. Using automation tools with project management will allow you to assign tasks based on the capability of your team, while also being able to easily track the progress of the whole project. Not only is it much easier to manage as a team leader, but because you’ve got this data in front of you, you can also quote clients on delivery date more accurately.
It’s not only useful to you either. These tools can help your team members see where everyone is at each stage of the project, which will help improve performance and also communication levels within your team.
Automation and construction aren’t two areas you’d usually put together, but you’d be surprised at how much automation you can actually use in this industry. To begin, you can use drones for surveying pieces of land and also monitoring the construction process, which is useful if you can’t always be on site. Then you could introduce automation in other tasks like bricklaying and welding, which not only frees up time for your workers but also improves accuracy.
Or, you might choose to use something like BuildOps construction ai, which will allow you to streamline other processes like invoicing or your customer facing documents. With the help of AI and automation, you can rest assured that these documents are professionally completed without typos. Not only does this save you time, but it helps improve your reputation as a business, meaning people will keep you in mind for other projects.
Unless you’re trained in the finance industry, there’s a good chance that the financial side of your business is a headache at the best of times. Introducing automation in this part of your business to help with payment automation, invoice creation and financial reporting not only takes that headache away, but also reduces the chance of human error – which is important when it comes to your business finances.
You can also implement tools that give you automated financial planning. This not only saves you from trying to work it out yourself, but it also quickly and efficiently gives you information about the financial health of your business; meaning you can plan more effectively and put a stop to costs that might be damaging the financial health of your business.
Your human resources department is another area that could benefit from automation. By using automated applicant tracking systems, your HR team can effectively organise potential candidates for your business, which could save a lot of time in the recruitment process. And, it can also help onboard new members of staff in the smoothest possible way, whether it’s pairing them with the most capable employee or providing them with training videos on their first day.
You could also implement performance management tools to help regularly evaluate how your team is performing. Not only does this help your HR team stay on top of things, but it will help keep open levels of communication between you and your team. If there’s an issue, you’ll know about it sooner rather than later.
If you’ve ever done any kind of marketing for your business, you’ll know how time consuming it can be. Even something as simple as posting on social media once a week can turn into a time consuming task. Luckily though, there are tools that you can use to schedule and automatically post for you. Not only does this save you from having to post individually on each social media platform, but it allows you to set it up when you’ve got some free time. So, if you’re in between meetings, you could schedule a post for the following day. Tools like Crowdfire allow you to link all of your social media accounts, and it will publish at the time you’ve stated along with captions, hashtags and any mentions you might want to add in.
It’s not just social media either. There are other manual tasks that take up lots of valuable time that you could automate such as keyword research and analysis, or sending automated abandoned cart emails to those that haven’t checked out yet.
Is automation worth it?
So we’ve talked about some areas where automation can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to helping run your business, but are there any downsides? Let’s take a look at some potential areas:
You need to find the right balance
While automation can free up lots of time and reduce human errors, it’s important to find the right balance between what you choose to automate and what remains human. If everything is too robotic, your business could lose the human element that your customers value.
Security and privacy
It’s important that you don’t overlook how important security measures are in your business. While a machine or piece of technology might be handling things for you, your business still could be at risk. Make sure you have robust security measures in place to protect sensitive data and privacy.
Adapting employees to automation
It’s no secret that automation is becoming a bigger part of the workplace all around the world, and it’s important to adapt your employees to work alongside these automated systems. They still need to feel valued, and if they don’t, you could lose a skilled member of your team.
As you can see, automation can be very useful in the workplace, but it’s important to find the right balance between using it to streamline and using it to completely run your business.