Management / Remote working and COVID-19: How business automation can save your company

Remote working and COVID-19: How business automation can save your company

Hasib Howlader, director at Hudson Weir, explains why business automation is key for remote working and how to choose the best software.

COVID-19 has resulted in much of the population working remotely, with everyone who can work from home ordered to do so.

Unsurprisingly many companies have found transitioning to a remote workforce challenging. Understandable, as 55% of UK workers have little or no experience of working from home.

This is where business automation comes in.

Automation can save your company from many of the pitfalls and teething problems that come with remote working. It can help you keep track of what your remote staff are doing and end the endless back and forth of emails - among other things.

Around 90% of businesses globally were using some form of automation before the outbreak - and there has never been a better time to join them.

What is Automation?

Automation - also known as robotic process automation - uses a combination of software, streamlining processes, and algorithms to perform a procedure or task with minimal human assistance.

It therefore shortens the time it takes to handle large volumes of information as well as the time it takes to log and complete tasks.

Reasons for Business Automation

If you’re a business struggling with remote working and the challenges of COVID-19, then here are some reasons why you should consider business automation:

Saving time

Business automation saves time because it will allow you to perform vast numbers of routine tasks at a faster rate.

It also frees up your staff’s time by taking these routine tasks off their hands.

This is time which they can then spend completing other - possibly more valuable - assignments.

The WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report states that all this saved time could add up to 240 hours per year for workers working a 40-hour week.

That’s a lot of hours.

Increasing productivity

Your company could do a lot with those 240 hours.

That’s why all this saved time would inevitably lead to an increase in productivity.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates that global productivity will increase from 0.8% to 1.4% annually thanks to automation.

Now is also a crucial time to address productivity as 35% of workers in the UK struggle to remain productive while working remotely - and this number is only set to increase the longer employees are working from home.

Saving money

As the saying goes - time is money. So, if you save time, then you also save money.

Based on the WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report - if an employee saves 240 hours of time per year, then the employer would save over £7,000 per year.

Employees are also costly - but automation only needs a minimal workforce to run and monitor the software, meaning you can have fewer employees.

Mistakes also cost companies thousands of pounds - but a significant number of these mistakes would be avoided with business automation.

This is because automation is a software - and therefore not prone to human error.

In these financially uncertain times saving money could be crucial for your company.

Even though you may have to pay for the automation software to begin with - it’ll soon be paying for itself.

Automation software to overcome the challenges of remote working

So you’ve decided that automation is something your business should be implementing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now you want to know which automation software or apps you should be using.

Here are the ones that are the most helpful for remote working:

Document sharing and collaboration

Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 are good for real-time document sharing and collaboration.

There’s no need to send emails back and forth as a document can be accessed and edited by anyone in your team simultaneously.

Both options offer cloud storage so that all your business documents can be stored in one place and accessed by all.

Task management

This is where apps like Trello and Asana come in handy.

They allow businesses to assign tasks to their staff - but in a more streamlined way with notifications, milestones and status updates for assignments.

It also gives you the ability to store documents and links alongside the relevant task.

The apps also allow managers to see what every individual’s workload is, which comes in handy when deciding who to delegate an urgent task to.

Remote communication

To avoid any miscommunication amongst your remote team, you may want to look at apps like Slack or Facebook Workplace.

These apps allow your employees to chat, share documents and have virtual conferences, removing the need for face-to-face meetings and planning sessions.

Perfect, now that no one is in the office.

How business automation can save your company

The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone.

Many companies are finding remote working and COVID-19 a difficult and challenging situation - but business automation could make it that little bit easier.

This is because automation software has a lot of benefits that can improve the way your staff work remotely.

It also saves money, which many companies will find beneficial - especially during a time when a lot of businesses are feeling the pinch.

Additionally, if you can’t find the automation software you’re looking for in this article, then don’t worry.

These days there’s an app for everything - so you’re sure to find the right app or software for your company.


Hasib Howlader is a director at Hudson Weir, a boutique firm of Insolvency Practitioners, as well as a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser.

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