August 17, 2016

Top 6 of Time-Consuming and Tedious Office Tasks That Should Be More Automated

In my previous blog, “Improving Employee Satisfaction with Business Process Management Systems”, I explained that many employees are not satisfied about their jobs because they have to spend too much time on tedious office tasks.

For this blog, I have created a list of some of these tedious office tasks and how they can be more automated.


Collecting Information From Multiple Systems

Many big companies have their data distributed over a large number of different backend applications. Employees who are trying to help customers or are processing an order must collect information from all these applications. This can involve activities such as logging in multiple applications, searching for the requested information, storing found information in a note, etc. All of these can be automated by creating a portal, which is able to show a unified view of all these systems.

Email Chains

Email is a great tool for short and informal communication but it is totally useless for sharing information in a team about complex problems. In a crowded inbox almost everyone gets lost and discussions quickly lead to exploding email chains, which nobody is able to understand. So, when a team must discuss a complex problem, using an online platform that supports discussions will improve the communication enormously.

What I would recommend is consider using a wiki if the discussion is about knowledge and best practices and if the discussion is about problems with customers or products then consider using a case management tool.

Long And Boring Meetings

It can be surprisingly difficult to organize a productive meeting. Many meetings are only useful if the participants have been able to prepare for them and if the participants commit themselves to work on the follow-up actions. For most meetings this is alas not the case, resulting in long and boring meetings with many blank faces.

A case management platform can improve these meeting processes a lot. With such a tool every meeting is a new case; the platform takes care of sending reminders to participants and collecting their questions before the meeting starts. After the meeting the follow-up actions are added to the case, so the platform can check the status on the follow-up actions.

Employee Timesheets

At the end of every month millions of employees take part in the timesheet ritual. They are alerted to complete their timesheet and to ask their client for a signature. Then they email the undersigned timesheet to their boss. The next stage of this ritual is administration validating all these data and asking the employees for a new signed timesheet if there are any mistakes.

Of course this cumbersome process fails many times. Administration must ask employees to send their timesheet, employees must ask clients for the signature and when there is a small mistake then the complete timesheet process must be restarted. This timesheet process can be much more efficiently implemented using a workflow system with support of digital signatures and multiple different timesheet systems.

Employee Onboarding

Hiring a new employee can result in a surprisingly large amount of paperwork. For example personal and contact information must be registered, and benefits such as a leased car or public transport subscriptions must be set up. New employees also require accounts, security cards, laptops and a working place.

Companies also have to comply with a large number of laws related to tax and insurances. They have to keep track of the order for the new leased car and check if the government and insurance companies have correctly registered all paperwork for the new employee. Many steps of this onboarding process can be automated with a workflow system, which is able to create and prefill the required templates. Also, it is able to send the papers about the new employee to all the interested third parties and keep track of it.

Processing Orders

Many small companies still process their orders manually. The order is received in paper form through email and then employees must do a large number of tasks to process this order. The order must be registered in a system and must be approved by one or more managers. Next the ordered items must be manufactured and delivered to customers. This also involves many third parties using different systems, so, it can be very difficult to keep track of the order status and maintain all required paperwork.

A small case management platform can help such small companies to process orders more efficiently. Every order is a new case and the automated processes in the case takes care of all paperwork and tracking of the order status.

In my next blogs, I’ll review some smaller workflow/ business process management suites on how they can automate these tedious tasks and how it can help companies to increase their productivity.