Business leaders from the C-Suite to the IT department often espouse the basic benefits of automation: that it can improve productivity and reduce costs, ultimately benefiting the bottom line. Yet recent reports raise questions about automation’s potential to take jobs away from information workers, leaving business leaders to question whether employees will be receptive to automation in the workplace.
Most information workers believe that automation will benefit their companies, and are optimistic about how it will affect them. The Automation in the Workplace report found that 97 percent of information workers think that automation will benefit their work. Here are just a few of the ways that automation can benefit information workers and organizations alike.
Save Time on Repetitive Tasks
While more than 40 percent of information workers spend over a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks, according to the Automation in the Workplace report, perhaps it’s no surprise that they believe that automation will help reduce time wasted on repetitive work.
And the time savings that process automation can provide can be significant. Fifty-nine percent of information workers surveyed estimate that they could save six or more hours per week if repetitive tasks were automated. Work process automation can also cut down on meeting time, creating even more time for high-value tasks.
- Information Workers Waste a Quarter of the Work Week on Manual, Repetitive Tasks
- 5 Time Wasters You’re Letting Drain Your Team’s Productivity (And What You Can Do About It)
- Killer Time Saver: Automate Weekly Status Reports
- How Smartsheet Uses Smartsheet: Saving an Hour a Day With Automated Actions
- Are You Using Meetings the Wrong Way?
Reduce Manual Error
The second-most cited benefit of automation in the Automation in the Workplace report was its potential to eliminate human error. In many ways, automated processes can be more efficient and consistent than information workers. When manual, repetitive tasks are automated, the potential errors that information workers would bring to that step of a process are eradicated.
Process automation can reduce manual error by reducing the manual data entry required to collect and process information. For example, automated data collection eliminates the need for manual data entry, resulting in captured data that has far fewer errors. Similarly, when roll-up dashboards are used in place of static slide decks, the likelihood of a data entry error is reduced.
Free Up Time for Innovation
To stay competitive in today’s global economy, organizations rely on innovation to give them an edge. Yet when information workers spend much of their time on low-value, repeatable manual tasks, they lack the time and mental bandwidth needed to be creative and drive innovation.
While automating processes does not in and of itself make information workers more creative or innovative, it can free up time for daydreaming, experimenting, and other creative endeavors. Tasks that are repeatable or replicable can be automated, so that information workers can maximize their work time spent on what’s most important — the work that (so far) only humans can do.
Increase Employee Engagement
As work becomes increasingly complex, finding and retaining top talent remains a primary concern for executives. But attracting new talent — and keeping that talent engaged at work once they are hired — can be challenging and costly.
Many of today’s information workers are motivated by having a sense of purpose with regard to their work. Work process automation can give employees the opportunity to focus on more meaningful, business-critical work by removing the manual, repetitive tasks that don’t contribute a lot of value to their organization or contribute to their sense of meaning at work.
Improve Workplace Visibility
Work process automation can help increase visibility and drive accountability across organizations. Automating processes can actually make it easier for teams to access the same information no matter where they sit in the organization, cultivating more effective collaboration and enabling them to quickly move forward on projects.
With a work execution platform that automates time-consuming tasks, information workers can set up automated update requests and approval requests to collect the information they need to move a project or process forward. That information is automatically consolidated in one place for anyone on the project to reference, providing a single source of truth for everyone involved.