When was the last time your department’s best new idea came at the end of a day of data entry or back-to-back status meetings? History’s greatest innovators (Albert Einstein, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates to name a few) regularly tout the importance of creating space for reflection and deep thought to unlock their best ideas, yet employees are busier than ever and logging increasing hours. Even with these longer hours, workers report they spend almost half of their time on repetitive, low-value tasks.
This is significant time that is taken away from high-value, innovative work. So what’s at the root of this rampant repetitive work? Rework caused by human error, suboptimal meeting culture, and email overload are three of the biggest factors preventing your team from maximizing their potential. To gain a competitive edge, organizations must find a solution to remain relevant. Here’s a look at what’s keeping your team from innovation and what you can do about it.
Great Ideas Are Stifled By Rework Caused By Human Error
Discrepancies caused by a simple mistake can have huge ripple effects, whether they stem from a cross-functional process breakdown or inaccurate data entry. Identifying inaccurate details and replacing with up-to-date information is incredibly tedious, and can often be credited to a colleague referencing an outdated spreadsheet or incorrectly keying information from one enterprise software system to another.
Related: Read the Smartsheet report: Automation in the Workplace 2017
There’s hope, however – human error due to data entry can be prevented with workplace automation. Sixty-six percent of respondents in the 2017 Smartsheet Automation Report state that human error is one of the biggest problems automation can address in the workplace. By automating simple workflows, like budget approval requests or IT ticket requests, your organization can realize significant time savings.
Suboptimal Meeting Culture Wastes Time
When days are packed with back-to-back meetings, merely keeping up with your inbox can feel like an insurmountable challenge, let alone carving out time to make space for deep thinking and creative work. Scheduled group brainstorms don’t count as a workaround, as research shows an alarming 63% of meetings have no planned agenda, resulting in meeting time dedicated to getting everyone up to speed, rather than collectively working through challenges or generating ideas.
Information workers are ready for a solution to this mess. Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents say that fixing broken meeting culture is one of the main problems they hope workplace automation will help to address.
There is hope. Organizations that have deployed a work management platform often use it to address meeting issues like agenda documentation, automate reminders on next steps and status reports, and even eliminate unnecessary status meetings. Imagine what your teams could accomplish if you were able to give back all of the time wasted on suboptimal meeting culture.
The Bar Isn’t Raised Because of Email Overload
Although IT decision makers acknowledge the importance of having a collaboration app strategy, and there is no shortage of collaboration app options on the market today, email usage continues to climb. Over-reliance on email chains the majority of organizations to their inboxes – a McKinsey study found that email can take up almost 30% of an employee’s time, and was ranked as the second-most time-consuming activity at work.
While email can be an effective communication tool, it completely falls down when used for work like project or process management and often fails to keep the right people in the loop. Organizations that deploy a work management platform can address these inefficiencies, and automate some of the functions email is used for today, like reminders of upcoming milestones or requests for budget approval. In fact, the vast majority of workers expect this type of automation to help them be more efficient at their jobs.
Automate to Innovate
These less-than-ideal working conditions add up to a staggering amount of time. For leaders looking to ensure relevance in the coming year, it’s time to address the challenges that prevent your employees from making space to do their best thinking and their best work.