Office Automation – Efficient Technology or Job Loss Nightmare?
The current political talk has everyone focused on jobs – how available they are, what today’s jobs require, and what causes job churn. Interestingly, the technology that causes job loss in one sector can be the same technology that creates jobs in another sector.
Take office jobs – your typical “white collar” job -- or in a less-flattering depiction -- the typical “paper-pusher.” Let’s face it, there are a lot of us out there. We work in small mom and pop companies and in large corporate enterprises. We pay invoices, analyze data, generate contracts, and so much more. From banks and doctor’s offices to government agencies and schools, there’s an entire, and mostly invisible, “back-office” that manages the paperwork that keeps every organization going.
According to Forbes magazine, the economy as a whole is in a constant state of job churn: About 10% of the workforce is fired every year; 10% quit one job and move to a better one. So, over a five year period, 50% to 100% of all jobs will change. And here's the thing (Forbes says): “each of those firings and quits involves some small amount of technological change. It might be entirely trivial: that the new job uses red pencils not green ones. It might be a bit more: one company does the accounts on an internal server, the next does them in the cloud. But there always is technological change.”
Technological change happens. Employees quit, get fired and rehired. Those are facts. And, they happen independently of each other, except for about a 0.3% crossover in the 100% churn (again, those stats are from Forbes).
The question becomes how can organizations and their employees mutually benefit from job churn and technological advances. Go with the flow!
Embrace Office Automation
It’s relatively apparent how companies benefit from office automation:
- Greater efficiency
- Easier access to information
- Reduction in errors
- Higher ROI
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Greater employee satisfaction (and better work outcomes)
What may be less apparent is how employees benefit:
- They acquire new skills – Yes, it’s true. Automation doesn’t end a job, it provides an opportunity to learn new skills that make employees more valuable. Whether the individual ultimately stays, gets fired, or quits…every additional skill legitimately list on her LinkedIn profile is an asset.
- They have new opportunities – A big advantage of office automation is the elimination of rote, repetitive (some would say mindless) activities. Common office jobs such as data entry, mail delivery, invoice approvals, filing, patient check-in and more can be more efficiently done through automation, enabling these employees to take charge of a process, rather than being lost in manual detail.
- They contribute more fully – The process of automation requires enormous input from the employees who currently do the job manually. Managers are often astounded when they see the insights these employees contribute. It never hurts to be noticed by management!
- They have greater job satisfaction – Recognition of a job well done, by a modern, forward looking, technologically advanced company is every bit as important as a paycheck.
- Better work outcomes – Office automation is a win-win. Both the organization and the employee are better for the embrace of technology.
A Workforce Transformation
Investment in training the workforce, as well as in technology and office automation, (such as automated AI forms processing), ensures that both corporate entities and workers succeed. When we, at Paper Alternative, help an organization move into office automation, we ensure that the employees are well-trained and comfortable with their new technology. Maybe that’s why we have so many successful automation stories.
Check out our "Back Office Checklist" to see if we can help you (and your employees) through office Automation.