Office and personal productivity tools are everywhere. Do a Google search and you will find endless lists of must-have software and mobile apps that claim to save you time and help you get more done. But do they really save you time? Or do you and your employees now just spend all of your time using the tools that are supposed to save you time? The trick to using productivity tools effectively is to identify the biggest time sucks in your office, and then automate them. Here are three ridiculously easy ways to use automation to improve productivity across your entire office.
1. Get rid of visitor sign in sheets with reception automation
What does your visitor check in system look like? If it involves a binder and a pen on a string, it’s time to upgrade. A visitor management system is like a receptionist, but without the coffee breaks. When a visitor comes to your office, the system notifies whoever they’re there to see, prints a visitor badge, and logs the visit in a database. No one needs to be there to check them in, there are no visitor sign in sheets, and instead of a binder full of illegible chicken scratches, you have a searchable digital record of everyone who visited your office. To improve your safety and security, you can even have the system take a picture of everyone who visits your office.
2. Eliminate scheduling headaches with scheduling automation
You know how it goes. You and Joe decide to have a meeting, so you email Joe about possible times, and then Joe emails you back with alternatives, and then you email Joe, and then Joe emails you…. This can go on for a while. But check this out: x.ai is a personal assistant robot that schedules meetings for you. You email a meeting request to “Amy” or “Andrew,” and the robot takes care of the rest. When a time is agreed upon, Amy or Andrew will send an invite to all parties. x.ai is in beta testing right now, but you can sign up for the waiting list. Get in now, because when this goes live, it’s going to be huge.
3. Free yourself from spreadsheets with expense automation
How much time do you and your employees spend fiddling with receipts, spreadsheets, and other spending-related documents? If your sales team travels, the answer is probably more than you’d like. The process of tracking receipts, creating expense reports, approving expense reports, and so on can take hours out of your week, and those are hours you can’t afford to lose. Expense automation software saves you time while also providing insight into your company’s spending habits. For larger companies with employees who travel, try Certify. For smaller business with fewer than 10 employees, check out Insperity’s expense management solution. Also explore ExpenseBot, a new, fully automated expense reporting application that was named Best Emerging Startup at the TechPint 2015 Startup Summit. Time sucks are everywhere. Some, like manual expense tracking, can eat up hours at a time. Others, like scheduling meetings and greeting visitors when they walk in the door, may take just a few minutes at a time, but those few minutes can really add up. Visitor management systems, automated meeting schedulers, and expense automation software are three simple, but powerful, tools to help you and your employees get your time back and get more done.