How To Use Automation to Streamline Processes In Your Team

Productive teams work well, and projects are managed like clockwork. 

That’s easier said than done, right? 

Even the most effective team with the top managers can get stuck and stumble along the way. 

To make sure everything runs smoothly, teams can try to remove friction by automating part of their processes.

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Here’s how!

The Challenge Of Making Teams More Efficient 

We know that running teams comes with its set of challenges. And now that most teams are working remotely, there’s a lot more work for managers and employees alike.

Every team, remote or other, have the same 24 hours in a day. Time is a limited resource. Unfortunately, studies show that menial tasks are taking up way too much of our work time.

This and many other factors contribute to making the work in the team less efficient:

  • Poor planning can overload an employee’s schedule; 
  • Losing time in meetings and email steals from actual productive tasks;
  • Difficult clients can disrupt projects, and cause delays and scope creep.

And remote settings adds even more challenges to a team, such as:

  • Communication suffers from time zone differences and lack of clarity;
  • Team members can lose time looking for documents, plans, tasks, assignments;
  • Technical issues (slow internet connection, outdated software) translate to a lot of downtimes that could have been used productively

And many more.

Enter Automation: How To Save Time And Improve Processes

Automation has been a buzzword in the latest years, and for good reason.

Automation is available to companies that can use it to improve processes, get rid of menial tasks, and work better.

Here are a few ideas on what companies can automate easily – with great results productivity-wise!

#1 Project Reporting 

As a manager, you probably have to run regular reports on projects and clients

Reports can definitely be automated to save you time and effort. Many project management, time management, and employee management tools include reporting and scheduling functionalities

For example in Timeneye, where you see how the team allocate their time on the different projects, you can quickly schedule a Project recap and have it delivered to your email:

Similarly, Timeneye also sends weekly email recaps to see any increase or decrease of the team’s effort across the project. 

A lot of effort going into that Deerwave project, it seems

This is a good example of a report that managers shouldn’t automatically run every time, instead, they can automate the process. 

#2 Productivity Audits 

Similarly to running reports on projects, reports on team members can be automated too. 

A time audit shows where the time, a limited resource, is been allocated, and if there are any “black holes” or time pits taking away your team. 

This productivity audit can be automated so that 1) managers don’t have to do it manually 2) reports are consistent – and therefore comparable- with the same filters and parameters.

#3 Meetings And Sales Activity 

Finding clients, calling clients, meeting clients… it’s lot of work! 

The sales activity is an essential part of companies to bring in new fresh projects and expand the client portfolio.

Although human interaction is crucial in setting new business relationships, some part of the sales process can be automated. 

One example: setting meetings!

Many CRM and email automation tools allow gathering leads. Then, you can create links to set meetings and demo calls with your clients, and automatically synch them with an online calendar to send a confirmation for the guests.

This process takes away a lot of manual and repetitive work, and make sure you don’t miss any interesting lead along the way.

#4 Goal Tracking  

If you use OKR or smart goals in your team to track progress, you’ll require constant updates on your KPI.

It’s easy, however, to forget to update a KPI regularly.

We recommend using goals tracking software, and most of that software lets your set reminders for users who need to update their goals.

#5 Social Media Marketing 

Having a social media presence in 2020 is crucial for small startups and big companies alike. 

Maintaining a steady flow of content for your social can be a challenge, and a hard feat if you resort to doing anything manually. 

Although the idea of a 100% automated social media presence is debatable, most of the work can be in fact automated. 

Social medial scheduling tools allow posting at specific times of day following your publishing calendar. So that no days go without posting and you have time for more creative work, like creating social campaigns and content.

#6 Progress Updates 

If you work remotely, it can be especially hard to keep everyone on the same page and have timely updates on the work. 

You can create an automated system of notifications, and email updates when a budget is hit, or it’s closed to completion, or when someone moves a task across the progress board.

The Best Automation Software To Try 

If you’ve read this far, you noticed how we constantly talked about software and tool to achieve your automation goals.

Most of this software was already mentioned in the article, and below you can really see their features and how they can help you automate processes:

Timeneye for Time auditing/ Project reporting/ Productivity reporting 

Timeneye is s time tracking tool that serves the needs of time management, billable hours management, project reporting, and team monitoring for on-site and distributed teams alike.

The processes that can be automated are all the reporting features, as well as the team email recaps. Not only the reports are run automatically at the frequency you set, but you’ll have them conveniently delivered to your email.

Zapier for building custom, fully automated workflows 

You cannot talk about automation without mentioning Zapier. This software is made to automate processes by creating connections among different apps. Basically with Zapier, you can build an integration between any software you use, without having to write code.

Zapier integrates with Timeneye, among its massive marketplace of 2,000+ apps.

Trello Power-Ups for work updates and progress

Trello is a simple and versatile Kanban tool that helps teams collaborate with boards, lists, and cards.

To make processes more efficient, Trello also offers an impressive set of “Power-ups” in the automation category for updating cards.

Buffer for social media scheduling 

With Buffer, you can set a posting schedule, fill the slot with content, and then let the software do the rest.

You can upload text content as well as images and links, and there is also analytics to check the performance of your social media marketing. When your contact queue is empty, you can receive a timely email reminding you to fill the schedule.

Calendly for meeting scheduling 

Calendly lets you schedule meetings through a simple link that you can send to your leads. Just set your availability times, and leads can pick the slot they prefer.

You’ll receive a confirmation when the meeting is set and you can sync the software with Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Microsoft Teams, and so on.

Have you tried any of these tools?

If you don’t know where to start, you can give Timeneye’s automated reports a try here.

Cover photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

About Stefania

Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She's passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.