5 Systems that All FMs Should Consider Automating

In this fast-paced world of business, wasted time is wasted money. This truth is particularly evident within the office, where countless antiquated processes and systems slow down the working day. Just imagine: you have to schedule an important meeting with six of your coworkers, but everybody's calendar is bursting at the seams. Time that should be spent prepping for this meeting is now spent playing Tetris with busy schedules. Wouldn't it be easier if somehow, some way, you could automate this process, and cross menial administrative tasks or time consuming manual work off your to-do list forever?

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"Automation" is more than just a fancy buzzword being thrown around these days. Investing in systems that automate tedious office jobs is actually a viable option for saving time, money and a whole lot of stress. In 2018, the sky’s the limit in terms of what we can optimize or convert to a largely automatic operation. From the way we receive email to our resource and expense tracking, automation is key to a more productive work day. So quit living in a hands-on era, and set your systems up for success.

Automate your email

Many tend to think of email as an application that hasn’t evolved since its inception. However, this age of automation has actually taken this technology very far. Instead of individually processing each email, applications such as Zapier allow you to automate the way you receive, open and interact with your messages.

For instance, Zapier allows you set up Slack notifications for every time you receive an email, allowing you to easily stay on top of any inbound messages. Or, if you’d rather streamline the way in which you open attachments, Zapier can copy everything to DropBox automatically. With more than 1,000 apps integrated, including Facebook, Quickbooks and Google Docs, Zapier creates a central hub for all of your correspondence, ensuring you can focus on more important problems.

Streamline your printing processes

How many times have you been asked to change the toner, only to find that the office is all out of ink? If this is becoming a regular frustration and unnecessary time suck, you're probably considering easier ways to keep on top of your printer’s functionality.

Believe it or not, automation can make your printer purr. HP released a service called Instant Ink, which sends a new ink cartridge right to your office when your printer is running low. Simply register your device and you’ll never have to worry about ordering ink cartridges ever again. Another app, CW Print Manager, will even call in a technician if your printer needs repairs, troubleshooting or an ink replacement. In this way, printer jams and faulty scanners are just another item you will forever be able to cross off your to-do list.

Innovate your asset tracking

Sometimes, trying to find all of your office assets can feel like a scavenger hunt, particularly on those busy days when keeping abreast of your inventory is the last thing you want to be worrying about.

Using radio-frequency identification and Bluetooth Low Energy tags, GPS Trackit will allow you to track assets in real time. This way, you will know the exact location of every resource you're responsible for, even when things are taken out of the office. Additionally, OfficeSpace’s resource tracking function will help you quickly locate company-wide resources and assets like printers and safety equipment. This way, you can rest assured that everything in your office is accounted for, and time will never again be wasted trying to track down office property.

Simplify your expense tracking

If you’re still checking in with the accounting team about your day-to-day expenses, you’re doing something wrong. Automate your expense tracking with easy-to-use apps such as Expensify. From receipt scanning to reimbursement to expense approval, Expensify automates every step of the expense management process. It also offers a number of accounting and finance integrations, allowing you to streamline a range of tasks that can generally slow down your day.

Overhaul your reporting and analytics procedures

Collecting and communicating the masses of data your office produces can be a colossal pain. Fortunately, software such as OfficeSpace allows you to automate the ways in which you report, making it easier and more efficient. It allows you to generate space utilization reports (particularly useful for businesses considering hot desking), operational reports that could improve your facilities management processes, and more. Drive your facilities management decisions using intuitive, meaningful, real-time reports, and show your superiors why with digestible data and meaningful graphs.

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Automation may be a buzzword facility managers like to drop—can you blame them?—but it’s also an achievable goal. At one point, some of the applications on this list might have sounded like science fiction, but now, it’s just the beginning of what’s possible. Save yourself a headache by investing in some of these efficiency inducing apps to attend to each of these important tasks.

Advanced software can also be a huge asset in dealing with these 3 facility maintenance management problems.

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