What Is Workplace Automation? (With Benefits and Examples)

Updated December 20, 2022

Workplace automation is a digital transformation strategy that improves productivity and performance. This strategy aims to reduce direct human involvement in a company's tasks. Learning some common examples of automation in the workplace can help you increase innovation and improve your team's output quality. In this article, we answer the question, "What is workplace automation?", explain its benefits, and share some common examples.

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What is workplace automation?

Learning the answer to "What is workplace automation?" can help companies automate repetitive business processes and increase efficiency. Workplace automation refers to using systems to perform predictable and repetitive tasks without direct human input. This enables companies to simplify tasks and provide a better experience for their employees. It often refers to companies using technology to perform workflows, such as organizing e-mails, generating sales leads, reducing paperwork, and managing data.

A company can apply automation using robots, machinery, algorithms, and software. Businesses also use workplace automation to fulfill tasks that cost a lot and waste time. An example of automation in the workplace may be using tools that can read through job applications quickly by searching for specific keywords and identifying the best candidates.

Related: What Is RPA? (With Benefits and Areas of Application)

What are the benefits of workplace automation?

Workplace automation can help companies eliminate or reduce human error and remain competitive. The following are some other notable benefits of workplace automation:

Increases employee productivity

Reducing the number of manual tasks that employees perform daily gives them more time to focus on value-added work that only they can complete. This can improve innovation by enabling team members to use their creativity and critical thinking skills to perform mentally demanding tasks. It can also increase employee satisfaction because it allows them to spend more time on tasks that are more enjoyable and engaging.

Reduces human error

Workplace automation enables companies to reduce the number of human errors that occur when employees perform manual tasks such as invoicing and data entry. Machines can easily perform simple tasks, such as entering customers' e-mail addresses and conducting financial projects without distractions. Employees can then quickly access data that has fewer errors and avoid miscommunication or work duplication.

Saves money and time

Companies that use and maintain a single system to handle tasks automatically may experience a better return on investment (ROI). This is because workplace automation enables them to perform various tasks without employing more individuals. For example, they can use this process to send automated e-mail replies to multiple customers at once. ROI is a metric that businesses use to understand the profitability of their investments. Automation can also reduce the amount that a company spends on paper by implementing electronic signatures.

Related: Automation Tester Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Increases work safety

Automation in the workplace can often create a safe and comfortable environment for employees. The process helps companies to reduce the risk of injury at an operational stage by removing employees from dangerous work procedures. These automated systems often respond faster to emergencies through real-time monitoring. Many companies use automation software to update their safety protocols and create a plan of action in the event of an emergency.

Improves work consistency

When a company automates tasks such as tracking inventory and generating sales leads to run at set intervals, it can avoid human delays that affect consistency. This means that employees' sick days, unforeseen circumstances, and heavy workloads are less likely to disrupt business functions. Workplace automation enables businesses to anticipate any challenges and generate solutions before they occur.

Examples of workplace automation

The following are some common workplace automation examples that a company can adopt:

Marketing automation

To deliver an improved customer experience, many companies often implement automation in their marketing strategies. Marketing automation is a process that enables companies to provide highly personalized and relevant experiences to customers. With workplace automation, a company can reduce the number of repetitive marketing tasks, such as sending e-mails and updating editorial content for various social media platforms. They can also use software that enables them to send messages in response to certain actions that a customer performs.

For example, by adding a digital shopping cart to its website, a company can reach potential buyers quickly. Through this, it can increase customer loyalty and generate new leads. Online tools such as social media ads, e-mail marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) aim to reach a company's target audience quickly without the use of ad placements in newspapers. SEO is a set of practices that companies often use to improve their visibility in search results.

Human resource automation

Human resources (HR) is a department that deals with multiple administrative tasks that a business can automate. Organizations usually automate the tasks that HR performs to make them more efficient. Examples of tasks that an HR department can automate are as follows:

  • Handling staff training requests

  • Managing payrolls

  • Reimbursing expenses

  • Managing holiday requests, timesheets, and records

  • Onboarding and offboarding

  • Recording performance reviews

  • Conducting recruitment processes

  • Recording employee data

Various automation software programs enable an HR department to sort through job applications according to their content. HR professionals can then focus on reducing employee turnover by improving a company's culture and creating career development programs.

Related: What Is CRM Software? (With Definition, Types, and Uses)

Customer service automation

Chatbots are the most significant example of automation that benefits customer service. They interact with customers and address simple questions, allowing service agents to focus on important tasks. Many companies implement a chatbot to answer queries 24/7 by automating appropriate responses. Customer service agents can then gather user feedback using forms. Automation may also help them publish new content on the company's website. Another example of customer service automation is help desks, which allow companies to answer questions about their services or products.

Related: A Guide to Marketing as a Career

Sales automation

Using software and algorithms to automate sales activities such as contact management and lead generation helps a sales team improve its efficiency. The following are examples of automation in sales:

  • Processing orders: Upselling queries, managing stock

  • Invoicing: Communicating with clients about pricing and payment and checking credits

  • Managing inventory: Returning notifications and delivery, dispatch, refund, and payment acknowledgments

  • Searching leads: Sending e-mail reminders and finding leads online

Lead enrichment tools help a sales department create detailed profiles of a company's prospects. A sales representative can acquire the necessary information to engage potential clients and build relationships. Customer relationship management automation enables these professionals to create sales templates and record transactional documents.

Accounts payable automation

An accounts payable software system helps businesses automate finance processes, reduce accounting errors, and improve invoice approvals. This workplace automation typically guarantees immediate transactions to a company's contractor and supplier. It also enables a company to track its orders and invoices accurately and to approve payments quickly, improving cash flow.

Digital signage automation

Digital signage refers to the process of displaying multimedia or video content for advertising or informational purposes. This automation aims to make content relevant to customers. Many companies use digital signage automation to create new and engaging content across social media pages. Digital signage automation enables businesses to display important news and information to various locations at once.

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Tips for using workplace automation

The following are some tips on how to use workplace automation effectively:

Automate only repetitive tasks

It's important that a company only automates repetitive tasks that don't require critical thinking. It may also automate stressful and challenging tasks to make employees' duties less intense. This may give employees the autonomy to determine how they complete tasks.

Give employees control

A company may consider allowing employees to contribute to the automation system. Giving them the ability to program the automation can increase their efficiency because they anticipate the results. When employees control various automation systems, they can also protect their jobs and improve their career skills as they learn to operate various automation software.

Related: What Is Warehouse Automation and How Does It Work?

Use employee-friendly programs

User-friendly automation software is important for optimizing a company's workflow. A company may consider using software or programs that are easy to understand and operate from any device. User-friendly automation may mean spending less time on troubleshooting and training. It's important that employees perceive automation as a helpful tool they can use to improve their work performance and reduce manual errors.

Create a clear plan

Many employees fear that automation may replace them. By creating a clear plan, a company can avoid automation disrupting an employee's daily responsibilities, making them optimistic about its implementation. A company may consider providing opportunities for employees to acquire technical skills that automation cannot perform. For example, workplace automation requires human creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills to function efficiently.

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