Process automation: The unlikely solution to the productivity vs festivity trade-off

Process automation: The unlikely solution to the productivity vs festivity trade-off


With the end of daylight-saving time, the darker evenings of winter have well and truly arrived. In fact, it’s often said that the change of season at this time of year can influence our mood and energy levels. The so-called "winter blues" not only pose a challenge to our frame of mind, but they can also subtly impact our daily work routines.

Research has shown that December often brings a noticeable decline in productivity, as the “winter blues” interact with the arrival of the holiday season as the year nears its end. This period can see a pronounced loss of momentum in the workplace as focus shifts toward seasonal festivities and away from end of year tasks.

Some productivity decline is natural during the holidays. When people work hard throughout the year, it’s expected that they will look forward to, and have earned the right to have some downtime with their families, friends, and loved ones. However, if organisations can acknowledge the productivity lull that may occur and take proactive measures to mitigate this, they can still end the year strongly.

It perhaps wouldn’t be your first guess, but one unlikely solution that business leaders should look towards to curb unnecessary drops in productivity is process automation.

Only 11% of office workers have access to workflow automation tools

Despite its many benefits, process automation is not currently being used effectively. Our recent research found that only 11% of office workers have access to workflow automation tools, despite the majority recognising automation would make their work better.
In order to keep employees engaged, and not distracted by the Christmas to-do list, businesses should consider implementing more automation tools to alleviate administrative burdens.
With more time for creative or collaborative work, employees often feel more fulfilled and energised in their roles. This not only helps sustain business productivity, but also boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction at a crucial time of year. When the right workflows are automated, staff can spend time on higher-impact work, that ultimately brings greater benefits to the business as a whole.
However, it is important to also bring staff along in this process by soliciting their input on where automation can address pain points or streamline complex workflows. With employee buy-in, the automation journey is likely to be more successful than if it was imposed top-down.

Kill the tech overload

With Christmas shopping only the click of a button away for consumers, employers must replicate this experience for their workforce. Concerningly, our research found that two fifths (42%) of employees are confused by the number of technology platforms they are expected to use.
Streamlining the technology stack is critical to keeping workflows efficient and employees productive. Consolidating platforms and automating manual processes between systems helps reduce complexity. It also eliminates opportunities for human error that can interrupt operations. With seamless tech workflows, employees can focus on their core responsibilities without getting bogged down switching between applications.
The benefits are twofold - workers are empowered to deliver greater impact by not losing productivity to repetitive digital tasks. Meanwhile, businesses minimise opportunities for digitisation bottlenecks or errors. With a streamlined tech stack, companies and employees alike are empowered to stay laser focused amidst the festive period.

Lisa Topliss

2/5 of employees reporting no recent investments in workflow automation

With the end of the year approaching, companies naturally turn their focus to resolutions and future planning. Yet with two-fifths of employees reporting no recent investments in workflow automation, leadership teams cannot afford to lag behind in their modernisation efforts.
The year-end planning process presents an opportunity to pinpoint areas ripe for automation upgrades. Mapping out an implementation roadmap gets teams invested in process improvements rather than distracted by upcoming holiday breaks.
Executing on planned automation initiatives demonstrates an organisation's commitment to evolution. Employees get first-hand experience with technologies that can optimise their operations in their day-to-day roles. This kicks off a cycle of ongoing innovation, getting staff excited about capabilities for the year ahead. Automation signals willingness to modernise, motivating employees and setting the stage for even greater success in the new year. 
By taking advantage of the planning window and driving automation upgrades, companies can restore momentum into the new year. Employees return energised and focused, armed with automated workflows that enable productivity gains.
While the “winter blues” are somewhat inevitable, business leaders should acknowledge the role of process automation in keeping employees fulfilled, while minimising the trade-off between festivity and productivity in December and into year to come.

Read our festive story

We've created an interactive storybook to demonstrate how our digital workspace solutions could optimise Santa’s global operations. Discover the magic of process automation by reading our festive story.
Lisa Topliss

Lisa Topliss