When people think of automation in the workplace, they often envision something pretty dystopian.
Commonly enough, “automation” brings to mind images of mechanised production line technology, costing real human beings their jobs, or else fulfilling the same role in supermarkets, by replacing cashiers with self-checkout stations.
Like it or not, though, there is ample evidence to suggest that automation is the way of the future – and that the recent growth in the trend of workplace automation is merely a taste of things to come.
The academic and author Cal Newport notes that automation is (in his assessment) bound to make certain jobs redundant, particularly low skilled jobs that entail a shorter training time. His solution is that ambitious workers should hone their ability to do highly-focused “deep work” that helps to maximise their unique and specific skill sets.
Regardless of just how the trend in automation will affect certain job roles, however, there are certainly potential benefits to automation, as well. Among other things, automated systems can often behave in a very harmonious and holistic way, and reduce the chaos that typically defines a workplace.
Here are a few ways in which automation can lead to a more harmonious workplace.
By allowing your staff to manage themselves with greater autonomy, up to and including handling the bulk of their own scheduling
If you want to get a sense for how automation can help to streamline things within a given working environment, you only need to check out scheduling software from Deputy.
Among the various benefits that come with the Deputy system and toolset, there’s the fact that it allows staff and other employees (including part-time workers) to exercise a much higher degree of autonomy in managing their own situation in the workplace, and specifically, handling their own scheduling.
With a tool like Deputy, individuals on a team can swap shifts with only a couple of button clicks, and can “punch in” or “punch out” of work, from an app on their mobile devices.
In addition to all of that, the tool helps to create the most logical and resource-efficient schedules for your business, courtesy of its advanced AI algorithm.
Generally speaking, the less micromanaging a particular job role requires, the more harmoniously things are likely to operate, and the less room there is for human error on the part of well-meaning but improperly aware supervisors and managers.
By ensuring that useful analytics are always gathered and factored in – without the irritating busywork this would often entail
Automated systems will, as a rule, gather and factor in useful and relevant analytics and data points as par for the course. At least, this is certainly the case for automated systems that feature some degree of AI or machine learning.
For automation to be successful, certain parameters have to be met, and as many factors and relevant nuances as possible need to be taken into consideration.
It’s impossible for an automated system to work appropriately if vital information is left out. And so, for that reason, the systems will typically have inbuilt and integrated mechanisms for properly managing the necessary data, as required.
Generally speaking, the more data points and analytics that a company collects on its ongoing operations, the better able the company will be to manoeuvre, restructure, edit, and optimise things along a variety of different lines.
Or, as an old adage puts it; “what gets measured, gets improved.”
As a rule, it seems fair to say that the more factors that are considered and engaged with during the course of normal operations, the more efficiently and harmoniously the overall system is likely to run.
By enabling managers to have a better “Birds Eye” perspective of things at any given moment
Systems that automate various components of a company’s routine or overall procedure, typically involve certain useful centralised tools, that allow you – the company owner or manager – to get a useful Birds Eye perspective on everything, at a glance, and to then adjust things accordingly.
In a business that doesn’t have such systems, tools, and software programs implemented, it can be exceedingly difficult to get any clear sense of what is going on, at just about any level of the operation.
Far from being able to see what’s happening across the entire company with one quick glance, a manager in a more “low-tech” company can often expect to spend a huge proportion of his or her time running back and forth, essentially trying to “herd cats,” while striving to manage the overall and ever-present chaos of the situation.
As automated systems naturally require and involve a substantial degree of order and routine, the systems are often particularly useful for managers who want to have a clearer grasp on what’s going on at any given moment.
By minimising the risk of staff being “double booked” for projects or tasks, or otherwise stepping on each other’s toes
An office environment, or for that matter any workplace environment, can easily become “un-harmonious” due to different employees stepping on each other’s toes, with regards trying to manage particular projects and tasks.
Systems that are used specifically for automating workflow will often prominently feature tools designed to help ensure that people remain on task, and that everyone has a clear sense of what they should and shouldn’t be doing, with regards to various projects.
Even relatively straightforward digital tools such as Trello (a web-based Kanban system) can prevent team members from butting heads, by virtue of the fact that it makes it crystal clear which tasks and errands should be handled by which individual employees or contractors, and in which capacity.
A workplace that doesn’t feature tools and systems designed specifically to provide a clear sense of exactly which duties are the responsibility of particular team members, can often end up devolving into something of a free for all, with people scrambling this way and that, trying to pick up the slack and get projects seen to, with no real regard for what work has already been done on them.
By helping you to reduce waste and inefficiency in your daily operations
The scheduling automation tool, Deputy, mentioned earlier in this article, has many inbuilt features designed specifically to help reduce waste and inefficiency over the course of a company’s daily operations.
Specifically, the Deputy tool will attempt to use auto-schedule features, to ensure that the specific skill sets of particular staff members will be utilised as effectively as possible, and will be taken into consideration when scheduling the times they should work, and the roles they should focus on.
Deputy also tracks things like break times meticulously, and takes steps to ensure that employees are not burning out – by ensuring that they are taking breaks at set intervals, and are not returning back to work early. At the same time, the tool also ensure that breaks do not run for too long, and that efficiency isn’t lost to a lack of structure.
Automated systems, in general, can be quite good at helping you to reduce waste and inefficiency in your daily operations, because these systems often work according to tight parameters, and will consider a broad range of metrics when determining how things should be run in a given instance.
In a more general sense, there is also the simple point to consider that humans become fatigued and make mistakes in circumstances where machines and computer systems tend not to.