Against a blue backdrop, a robot sits at a control desk, turning the cogs of a company, representing an automated workforce.
Image: © Jokiewalker/

Automatic yes: What automation software should employers be using?

25 Jun 2024

Automation provides an opportunity to advance your company and when approached with the right mindset, should be a source of relief for employees, not an additional concern.

Click here for the full Automation Week series.

Much has been said in recent months about the rapid advancement of AI and the threat automation poses in relation to job displacement. There is a well-founded fear that automation has the potential to deem certain roles too complex or laborious for a human, significantly altering or even eliminating individual livelihoods. 

It is not unusual or paranoid to be suspicious of new technologies that have the potential to greatly alter core aspects of life. Research, evaluation and time eventually expose major flaws and help worries subside as what was once unknown becomes ordinary. 

In the early days of rail travel there was a significant fear that high-speed trains could potentially rip a human apart, due to little knowledge around human biology and speed. More recently, filmmakers theorised that VHS tapes would financially cripple the film industry. 

Rather than assuming automation means employee welfare is automatically on the back foot, employers should see the advancements as an opportunity to make working life easier. So why is automation software important and how can it be applied to build an automated workplace for the workforce?

Why does it matter?

Automation software involves minimal human involvement and instead utilises intelligent automation technologies, such as AI, robotics and machine learning. 

The software allows employers to reallocate mundane, repetitive, time-consuming – even dangerous – tasks to a non-human, saving time and money, without risking employee physical health. 

Legal and ethical implications aside, it is physically impossible for an employee to be tuned into work 24/7. Save for planned maintenance software, programmes will never need a break, they don’t get sick or bored, they have a lower capacity for error and they can work significantly faster than a human being. 

This isn’t just a plus for the company owners and upper management. Automation software can handle the dull, drawn-out work, allowing employees to focus on more rewarding and fulfilling endeavours. Healthy company cultures start with happy, engaged employees.

Humane human resources

The human element of human resources is irreplaceable, as often professionals in this industry are responsible for aiding employees in matters that may require expediency, discretion and perhaps a little understanding. The latter two being qualities you might not typically equate with software. 

By automating processes that are important to the company, but don’t necessarily demand a human architect, HR professionals can devote their time to the people who depend on them and the tasks that will have a greater impact. 

Systems such as BambooHR, which is headquartered in Utah in the US and is available in more than 150 countries worldwide, automate processes such as onboarding, time tracking and management, freeing up HR staff to deal with people, not machines. 

HR plays a critical role in the running of a company, from onboarding and offboarding, to payroll and annual leave. Therefore, disruption to these systems can have a catastrophic effect on company operations and morale, but it is important to remember that HR are part of that human side of a company too and should be given the opportunity to find meaning and joy in their work. 

Workflow that works for you

When you are experiencing a backlog – be it too many emails, too much paperwork or a disorganised, unclear calendar – the task of de-muddling it all can be overwhelming and take up a chunk of the day that could be put to much better use.

Workflow automation platforms, such as US-based, global company Zapier, have the potential to prevent employees from becoming weighed down by repetitive, difficult to manage tasks. 

By facilitating the integration of more than 7,000 applications, Zapier is able to tell an app to perform an action based on a prompt from an entirely different application and can be used with the majority of the usual suspects, such as Slack, Gmail, Trello and Google Calendar.

If your company generates a large amount of data that could very easily become unmanageable, the tables feature lets you easily store, move and take action on your data so you can move your work forward faster. 

Also, by connecting your data across the more than 7,000 supported apps, you have access to one central tool wherein you can fully manage and automate your data.

Don’t be a stranger

Covid-19 moved a lot of jobs online, creating and maintaining remote working schedules, years after the pandemic began to subside. Some returned to the office and others remained at home and since then, year after year, the discussion around remote working, isolation and mental health continues. 

For that reason, it is imperative that companies (big and small) incorporate automated collaboration and communication software, such as Slack or Google Workspace into their businesses. This is to keep co-workers, near and far, connected and tuned in with each other and the companies they work for. 

Both platforms have a number of useful automation features. Slack, for example, has an effective workflow builder, where anyone can build automated processes with drag-and-drop functionalities.

Google Workspace’s automation features are useful for information-sharing and collaboration as users can access shared documentation, track project progress and communicate effectively with co-workers. 

Automation technology has the potential to make difficult tasks easier and overworked employees less burdened. So rather than being viewed as a nuisance and even a danger, employers should recognise that they play a critical role in how automation tech is deployed in their companies. Basically, if you want it to be a success and well received, it can be. It really is up to you. 

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Laura Varley
By Laura Varley

Laura Varley is a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic. She has a background in technology PR and journalism and is borderline obsessed with film and television, the theatre, Marvel and Mayo GAA. She is currently trying to learn how to knit.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading