One of the biggest costs facing businesses today lies with their staff. Salaries, perks, hiring (and firing) all add up to one very big overhead.
But what can you do? We need our staff, especially our non-specialist support staff, to keep our business ticking over.
If you are a small business looking to expand, why not take a look at some of the trends in office automation which may change your hiring decisions in the near future.
The ingenious cloud-based programs that allow a team to interact on a project – no matter where they are in the world – are simply brilliant. They effectively cut out the middle-man in the form of team leaders, secretaries, or project managers. How so? With everything being online and available, there is no need to ask Susan to schedule a meeting, book the restaurant and confirm the time. Online diaries allow you to book and confirm attendance of all meetings. Skype meetings and other online conference tools just let you dial in and chat, and then get back to your work. Online project boards can be updated in real time and show everyone who is doing what, and when. Brilliant.
Secure autoresponders exist in so many forms; from a simple out of office message to a complete process thanking people for their online order and sending them the invoice. Email and e-commerce systems can, in certain businesses, eliminate the need for salespeople, account managers or customer service agents. A good system and an organised person at the helm can be a smooth and efficient process.
If your business works with printing and paper mail, then there are a host of machines that can do the job of ten people in a fraction of the time. For example, folding and inserting machines can process up to 4800 envelopes an hour – try giving that to Mary in admin. Pressure sealers, franking machines, and sorting and counting machines can all do the job of many. It’s worth looking into.
While there will always be a place for a friendly smile and kind assistance, why not farm out the repetitive low-value jobs to the machines, and let your team get on with the “people” jobs.