In my previous post, I argued that the vast majority of workers are just scratching the surface of what powerful internal collaboration hubs can do. Today I’ll explain the benefits of using these hubs in earnest—specifically, by embracing automation via low- and no-code tools.
Reduce employee multitasking and burnout
It’s no overstatement to say that workers were overwhelmed before Covid-19—never mind now. Consider the results of a 2018 Gallup study1 of nearly 7,500 full-time employees:
- 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always
- 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes
Of course, reasons for employee burnout vary. There’s no one culprit. Near the top of many lists, however, is near-constant interruption while on the clock. Cal Newport makes this point in spades in his bestselling book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World2.
Now, consider organizations that embrace automation via employing low- and no-code tools—a technique often called robotic process automation. Employees perform fewer manual tasks. They multitask less, stay focused, and are potentially less likely to burn out.
Reduce manual error
We’re just getting started with the benefits of low- and no-code tools. There are plenty of others. Here’s one of them: employees who constantly toggle back and forth between and among different applications are more likely to make mistakes. I’m talking about the accounts-payable clerk who either:
- Reenters key vendor information from invoices into an ERP system.
- Copies that data from one system and pastes it into another.
- Manually enters data into a spreadsheet.
In all three cases, a significant opportunity exists for massive errors. Perhaps most famously, let’s return to 2003. Electricity power generator company TransAlta lost $24 million because an employee copied and pasted incorrect data in Microsoft Excel3.
All things being equal, companies that embrace automation minimize the risk of these catastrophes.
Improve the work environment
Most countries’ labor laws distinguish between overtime-eligible and -ineligible jobs. The latter typically fall into the management bucket. Employees on annual salaries typically don’t receive any extra compensation from staying late or working on weekends. As such, many organizations lack sufficient incentive to reduce manual work via automation.
This all-too-common scenario is unfortunate. In all of my years, I’ve yet to meet an employee who enjoys manual work.Organizations that automate manual tasks signal to workforces that management values their time. This can help stem employee disaffection and attrition and reduce employee burnout. #nocode #automation @airSlate Click To Tweet
Improve business processes
A great deal of academic research has shown that automation can vastly improve business processes. Studies abound4. At a high level, automating manual business processes can:
- Reduce employee labor costs
- Reduce error rates
- Manifest other areas for improvement.
Instill a culture of constant improvement
Automating discrete business processes can yield significant dividends, but there’s a larger benefit at play here.
I’ll conclude this post by referencing my favorite Japanese word is kaizen. Short for continuous improvement, it represents a mindset that the organization can always do better. Perhaps no organization embodies kaizen more than Amazon. As Brad Stone describes in his books5 on the e-commerce juggernaut, Amazon constantly ranks high in customer satisfaction surveys6 because its management is committed to doing better.The Japanese word 'kaizen' means 'continuous improvement', representing a mindset that the organization can always do better. #nocode #automation @airSlate Click To Tweet
About the author
Phil Simon is a recognized technology and collaboration authority. He is the award-winning author of eleven books, most recently Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work. He consults organizations on analytics, communications, strategy, data, and technology. His contributions have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, CNN, The New York Times, and many other prominent media outlets. He also hosts the podcast Conversations About Collaboration.