We all have tasks at work that we don’t want to do. Sometimes we can bribe our co-workers with burritos to do them for us, and other times we have to suck it up and get on with things. But, for some things, there is a third option. You can always automate them.
Failing to automate repetitive tasks can cost businesses as much as $13,000 per year per employee. That’s a whole lot of burritos.
Automating repetitive tasks, meanwhile, makes for happier employees and less workplace stress.
Here’s a look at some of the office tasks you can automate.
Meetings can be huge time sinks. It doesn’t take much to go off on a tangent that turns a ten-minute meeting into an hour-long one. While I can’t offer any advice on how to stop this from happening, I can offer you some advice on how to speed up the organizing of the meeting.
Coordinating schedules can be a huge hassle. When it’s done using calendar sync, that hassle is taken away. The process is quick and seamless. Everything from booking to cancelling to rescheduling meetings can be done instantly. Everyone gets notified as soon as any changes occur. If your HR software uses Smart Invites, even external attendees can be notified of any changes.
Software can even be set up so that bookable rooms and resources can be reserved for your required meeting, and you can organize meetings around the availability of the equipment that you need. Now that’s a time-saver.
Sending meeting reminders
When a meeting is booked weeks or even months in advance, it’s easy to forget about it. That’s why adding appointments to your calendar is so important. It prevents double-bookings and means you have all your appointments in one place. Setting up meeting reminders means that you won’t be late even if there’s traffic – calendar services such as Apple Calendar can factor in traffic when sending you time to leave notifications.
Booking paid time off
Everyone loves time off. Booking it should be a seamless process. It should also be easy for staff who have time off to notify their colleagues about when they’re out of the office. Syncing paid time off management software to employees’ calendars allows managers to cross-reference who’s off and when. This helps them to make more informed decisions and ensure that there’s always someone around should there need to be.
Reporting can be a tedious part of any job. Automating data entry makes it a faster and less tedious process.
Excel macros, for example, can save employees from needing to enter the same information hundreds or even thousands of times.
From stationery to ink cartridges, offices get through a lot of equipment. Getting hold of suppliers to reorder equipment can mean sitting on the phone twiddling your thumbs while you sit on hold. With modern technology you shouldn’t need to do this. Printers can connect to suppliers and automatically order new equipment when ink or toner is close to running out. Other supplies, such as pens and notebooks, can be set up as a subscription so that there’s always a fresh supply around the office.
From a broken toilet to a leaky roof, there’s always a need for contractors. The fastest way to find one is online. When contractors connect their calendars to a booking software, businesses can book someone in seconds. This appointment can then be added to the contractors’ calendar automatically.
Paying bills is necessary for any business. When it’s automated, not only do you not need to worry about it, but you can assure your suppliers that payment will come out on a particular date. This gives both you and them peace of mind.
Signatures are difficult online. When you’re responsible for a large team or company, it can feel like you’re always signing this or that. If you need to email a contract to someone, you have to print the paperwork out, sign it, scan it back in, then email it across. This process isn’t necessary any more, though. Some programs now allow you to generate an e-signature that allows you to sign something electronically. You get to save some trees and it’s minimum effort. Perfect.
Automated email responses can be used for many things. They’re handy to notify customers that you’re not ignoring your emails, you’re just topping up your tan in Cyprus; they can confirm that a customer has filled in a form on your website or signed up to your mailing list, or they can acknowledge a customer query about a particular topic.
Customers appreciate that you’ve acknowledged their email – even if it’s an auto-response – and you can reply to their email properly when you have the relevant information to share with them, or you’ve finished topping up your tan.
Collecting customer information
It’s important to keep an up-to-date record of your customers’ details. It’s also important for a customer to not feel like they have to repeat the same information each time they speak to a different department. That’s why CRMs are so useful – every team member has access to the latest customer information. They can also track the last time a customer was spoken to or contacted, and all of the previous points of contact you’ve had with the customer in question.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) allow you to automate parts of the hiring process to make it easier, faster, and better-organized. One of the key ways an ATS can do this is by filtering candidates based on the requirements for the role. The ATS can be set up to search for keywords or phrases in a candidate’s CV, then filter out anyone that doesn’t match the criteria. The hiring manager then has a smaller pool of applicants to shortlist for interview.
These are just some of the office tasks you can automate to make your average day easier and more productive.
While many of the office tasks that can be automated are often simple, they also tend to be repetitive and boring. Getting rid of them – or in the very least making them easier – makes for happier employees.
Saving just a few minutes every day adds up over the course of a year. This makes a huge difference to an employees’ productivity, and therefore the business’s yearly outcome, too.
What office tasks do you automate, and what difference has it made to your work life? Let us know on Twitter!