Written by
Jake Robbins

Jake Robbins

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We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the corporate workforce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has forced many companies to instate temporary remote working, which can create productivity challenges. Not because the employee’s technology is different, but often as a result of simply the change in the “normal”.

I don’t work great at home and I know I’m not the only one. I’m easily distracted and with my cat running around as if the world is ending it’s hard to keep focus. I can only imagine having small kids at home makes it even harder. Luckily, I have a great set up in my office – two large screen monitors, great chair, and a door to shut out all noise – that helps me keep on track. Although I know I work much better in the office, there are times where I have been away for an extended period.

Pandemic aside, going back to the office after being away was always tough, the amount of work that I had to make up was daunting. It always seemed that I would never be able to catch up. What I noticed form working at home was that I would often push off the tedious, but necessary, day to day work. For example, the customer support tickets that I was supposed to be answering went way past due. This wasn’t good – when working in the office I always found some free time but at home with all the distractions I was letting my customers down.

This was just a personal issue. I knew I couldn’t work well at home and had to do something about it to ensure there were no service disruptions in my absence from the office. RPA bots helped ensure my routine was kept even if I was unable to work as effectively as I could.

Scaling it up

It wasn’t until I started developing RPA bots and created a digital workforce to work alongside me did I feel any relief. One of the first bots I created was to help answer these support tickets so that I would not miss a service level agreement . Now the bot didn’t email the customers back, it very well could have but I wanted to keep a personal tone. Instead, the Bot focused on executing the request that was put in through the ticketing process – most of them around adding SKU’s to shipments. Once it successfully completed the request, the bot sent me a report, and I finished off the chain with a timely email. I didn’t stop there, other work I knew I would push off I created bots to ensure the necessary day to day work always got completed, even if I was working from home.

There are always things that need to get done, regardless of the situation. Every job has these activities and we often find someone who can help us and run these tasks if we are taking time off. The problem arises when a large portion of employees take off at the same time.

Thanksgiving and Christmas week are common times when business seem to halt for this exact reason – there just isn’t enough people working to drive the same effectiveness as normal weeks. What’s nice about these holidays is that they are predictable. They happen the same time every year and so we plan to have some people work to help keep the lights on. When something unpredictable happens, like a hurricane or a pandemic, we run into problems, at least we used to.

RPA allows us to automate the tasks that must happen and create a security blanket for the unpredictable. If the core tasks that help keep the business running are automated, then large employee absences, even if unexpected, won’t create panic. In the case of a pandemic, we can assure our employees that they needn’t worry about work and can focus on getting better. As the saying goes, the show must go on, and with the help of RPA, it will.

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