Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a business would start its transition to remote work on the back of automation. According to a 2020 Pew Research study, 71% of employees were working from home. In addition, remote and hybrid work options became standard across industries where on-site work wasn’t required.
Leveraging workflow automation allows organizations to facilitate the collection of business-critical data, improve communication, and accelerate the completion of operational tasks. As for remote teams, workflow automation helps them to be more productive without having to complete mundane tasks that used to take up the bulk of their time.
All positive aspects considered, organizations may still face a number of challenges when implementing their workflow automation strategies. These range from organizational inertia when trying to digitize typical business processes to a lack of digital skills among employees. The ways of dealing with these issues vary from organization to organization.
Despite all the challenges, businesses are willing to implement workflow automation for sustainable productivity and long-term employee engagement. This blog will look into how workflow automation helps remote teams raise efficiency and productivity.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is a set of data-driven techniques and solutions aimed at reducing manual effort and menial tasks. Workflow automation software typically includes software Bots, forms, databases, and others, to enable the automation of manual tasks when specific criteria are fulfilled. On top of that, workflow automation software can also include visual process builders and a spreadsheet-like environment for data organization.
There is generally no limit to the number of processes organizations can automate to enhance the efficiency of their business workflows. However, even automating the most minor and mundane tasks can help you save a lot of time.
When it comes to leveraging workflow automation for remote teams, a lack of communication can be one of the biggest hurdles. This is why it’s essential to use automation tools that offer insights into the availability and engagement of team members.
What is a workflow for remote teams?
A workflow is the number of steps taken by a company to attain a specific goal that improves business operations or offers an exceptional customer experience to users. With multiple remote teams working within a single organization, it’s essential to ensure that the work is passed in a secure and timely manner from department to department.
The best way to do this is to create a simple plan for how tasks should advance throughout the organization to ensure everyone is on the same page. This will allow team members to know which task has already been completed and what is expected from them.
Workflows for remote teams can differ by complexity and purpose, so each workflow diagram, or flow chart, can look different from the others. In addition, some tasks may need to be completed in a specific order, while others may be carried out randomly by different team members. Hence, it is crucial to have a simple workflow automation process that every team member can diligently follow.
How can workflow automation help your remote teams?
Workflow automation can help in a variety of business areas by automating tedious manual tasks, thus saving both leadership teams and employees a lot of time. For many teams, the remote work transition was overwhelming. Putting a clear automation plan in place facilitated a seamless change where the primary goal was to improve business efficiency.
When it comes to remote teams, it’s clear that self-discipline is required to ensure efficiency. Still, not all teammates are equally skilled in self-discipline. Workflow automation eliminates the need to waste time on mundane administrative tasks, allowing employees to focus on what’s important. As a result, businesses can enhance employee engagement and improve productivity.
What are the benefits of workflow automation for virtual teams?
Workflow automation helps both leadership teams and remote employees to:
- Save time
According to Gartner, 69% of the manual work done by managers will be automated by 2024. In a competitive business, manual tasks are irrelevant, time-consuming, and hamper the quality of work. The report also suggests that 30% of manual tasks, such as accounting work or data entry, can be automated using workflow automation software.
So, by leveraging workflow automation tools, it is possible to eliminate mundane manual tasks, including task assignment, data entry, creating reports, etc., so employees can focus on productive tasks to take their business to new heights.
- Reduces operational costs
One-third of business leaders feel that automation can reduce operational costs. This is because workflow automation keeps administration in check and reduces the number of ongoing tasks.
According to Adobe, almost 40% of business leaders think that digitalization can enhance employee productivity, which means employees can get more work done in fewer hours. In a nutshell, with the help of workflow automation, smaller teams are more productive and can significantly decrease the need for larger teams.
- Eliminates the chance of human error
Workflow automation leads to error-free administration, decreasing the manual data entry process. There are no errors in automated applications. However, mistakes can lead to delays in processing times along with compliance issues. If these errors go unnoticed, you risk poor results at the end of a process.
According to a report by KRC Research, 50% of business owners and employees feel workflow automation can help solve this issue by mitigating the risk of human errors. In addition, around 38% of this 50% of people believe that workflow automation enhances the quality of their product.
- Facilitates seamless collaboration
There are fantastic communication tools like Skype, Zoom, Slack, etc. So, why do you need workflow automation for collaboration? In addition to team communication, workflow automation software is used to track daily activities performed by each team member.
Moreover, team members can engage using text messages, sharing files, leaving comments on documents and designs, and much more. Therefore, it is possible to link your process stacks with workflow automation tools to keep track of the day-to-day tasks.
- Ensures better data organization
The most prominent advantage of workflow automation software is that it can help you organize projects, documents, etc., in a structured manner, making it easy to find what you are looking for. Start by setting the best possible parameters to make it easy to recover data from the workflow automation system. Doing so can save data from being lost in archives or wasting hours searching for business-critical project information, invoices, tax documents, etc.
Top 6 workflows every business should automate
Every business has a different process for acquiring leads. The typical process involves nurturing the leads, engaging with them, identifying their likes and dislikes, analyzing their core issues, and offering a solution that converts them into customers. This process requires different specialists to fulfill different roles in your sales team and a few rounds of discussion to ensure that the right person is handling the lead. Hence, it is vital to have an automated workflow for sales and marketing in place.
2. Human Resources management
Standard HR operations, such as leave approval, remote employee onboarding, leave management, etc., can demand many working hours from your HR teams. In this instance, it is best to use HR automation software to automate day-to-day HR tasks. For instance, you can add rules and set limits on the employee leave policy. Finally, HR teams can use it for employee welfare activities that make them feel valued.
3. Payroll software
Employee payroll processing is a time-consuming and complicated task that must be managed in any organization, regardless of size or industry. Payroll automation, on the other hand, is the process of automating employee payments in order to avoid payroll errors in the first place.
Online payroll software eliminates payroll errors and ensures that all paychecks are correctly distributed to both remote and on-site employees, all while keeping employees up to date on organizational protocols.
4. Expense approval
The expense approval workflow software is a vital workflow that affects an entire business. By using an automated workflow system, it is easy to specify approval conditions, different types of approvals, team budgets, and more. Trying to approve expenses using manual processes like spreadsheets is especially inefficient for remote teams as they have to commit many hours to complete trivial operational activities.
5. Content automation
The marketing department, marketing manager, editor, or digital marketing team can create a content request with a content topic and detailed description. The editor can verify the subject according to business marketing requirements and share it with the digital marketing team.
The digital marketing team includes keywords to be used and then assigns the task to the content writer. Finally, the writer creates the content and shares it with a designer to add visual elements. Using content management software will help your team complete all their tasks on the same platform. By automating the entire process, marketing teams can enjoy accountability and flexibility, all while reducing chaos.
6. Contract management
From creating an initial request using approvals and electronic signatures to storing contracts, there is a necessity for secure, digital contract management that is important for businesses.
Conventional processes could be filled with errors and consume a significant amount of time on follow-ups, reminders, and questions. Using an automated workflow system for contracts has the power to eliminate human error and reduce costs. For instance, airSlate is an all-in-one, no-code document workflow automation tool. You can natively integrate multiple business apps using airSlate’s no-code integrations and use it for contract management.
Using contract management automation makes the process so much easier for remote teams. If the wrong contract is uploaded, a manager declines to sign, or if language needs to be updated, the right team is notified and can take proper action.
Workflow automation helps your remote teams by offering them a strategy to follow so that every team can be on the same page. Organizations can reap multiple benefits – save time, reduce operational expenses, streamline processes, and more – by investing in workflow automation software for remote teams.
Apart from this, automation speeds up working processes by eliminating mundane tasks that slow down entire organizations. It accelerates remote employees’ engagement, improves teams’ transparency, and helps build trust. If you’re still hesitating whether to implement automation, try out one of the many free trials offered by the different platforms and experience the positive changes for yourself.