Getting hit by a flurry of ‘out of offices’? Summer holiday season is here.
Team members are rightly taking time away from their desks, and for Yorkshire’s management teams, this period can be an annual reminder of the importance of capacity planning. In some cases, departments may be struggling to process an increasing workload, even with extra work shared across the team.
But it can also shine a light on areas where the opposite is true; departments where team members either struggle to take time away or to get the amount of time that they need, when they need it.
The reason for this? Their time off wouldn’t just mean minor delays or additional points on a ‘to-do’ list, but entire processes grinding to a halt.
The good news is that technology offers a solution. Here’s how.
Back office under pressure
Back-office departments like finance can be particularly vulnerable to creating these ‘lock in’ environments where time off is viewed as something to be delicately navigated rather than something to look forward to. These are parts of a business where the need for specialist skills can mix with a demand for an ‘always-on’ service to create a perfect storm of pressure.
To alleviate some of this, firms may try to cross-train team members on multiple roles. But sometimes staff may feel guilty for taking time off even if they can because they know just how challenging a few days or weeks may be for their colleagues.
In other cases, businesses may try to tackle these bottlenecks by hiring temporary staff. But this can be easier intended than done, particularly in roles that require specialist skills, organisational experience or deep relationships with clients.
Fundamentally, this is a wellbeing problem.
It goes without saying that a healthy, attractive working environment encourages team members to take time off. And, crucially, this isn’t just about ticking the ‘can take annual leave’ box in a statutory sense. It’s about creating a culture where diligent staff are empowered to step away, fully, when they need to and disconnect.
Help at hand through AI and automation
Artificial intelligence and intelligent automation are two technologies that can be powerful tools when addressing this issue.
When we talk about AI and automation’s transformational potential in business, we often highlight its capacity to enable people and organisations to ‘do more for less’.
The focus here is often on its very real bottom line potential: its ability to unlock significant time and cost efficiencies.
But there’s also a very important wellbeing benefit that businesses mustn’t overlook.
By working alongside team members and complementing their uniquely ‘human’ skills, AI and automation can provide a flexible extra pair of digital ‘hands’ to help manage workloads – both in day-to-day work, but also during times of capacity crunches.
Intelligent automation empowers teams
This can enable and empower team members to take time away because they can pass work on to others with the knowledge that there’s a support system in place. The ‘more’ that this technology delivers becomes more time with families, more time with friends and more time to recharge.
The good news is that AI and intelligent automation-powered solutions with the potential to have this positive impact on wellbeing are used in Yorkshire’s businesses already.
For example, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help shoulder the mundane, time-consuming parts of invoice processing in finance teams.
With RPA, invoices are automatically matched against purchase orders, and the software automatically shares the invoice with the correct staff members for speedier authorisation.
This can significantly reduce pressure on teams, and it’s a reliable tool. Parseq’s automated end-to-end invoice processing solution captures, extracts and uploads data from our clients’ invoices all on the same day, to 99.9% accuracy.
These solutions have real potential to help us work better – in more ways than one.