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Automation continues to pervade our everyday lives, with innovations like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and a multitude of chatbots becoming commonplace within society. As the technology continues to rise in popularity, it’s being adopted in the professional space, with everyone from factory workers to CEOs recognising its potential.
Contrary to popular opinion, as support staff, automation has plenty of potential to help, not hinder. Here are five ways to take advantage of the technology in your professional day-to-day life:
1. Sort out your inbox
There are plenty of tools out there that can filter through inboxes, categorising emails into different folders and marking them in terms of importance. If needed, they can also send receipts straight to your nominated accounting software, forward tasks straight to to-do lists and even delete unneeded communications. When handling multiple inboxes, it can make maintaining emails easier than ever.
2. Increase workflow opportunity
Extensions like Zapier and If This Then That (IFTTT) reduce the need for repetitive tasks, opening up the workflow from one application to another. For example, you could post a photo on Instagram or Facebook, and the image will be automatically saved to Dropbox. Project management apps can also be linked – Evernote can be connected to Trello or a Google calendar, meaning there’s no need to repeat notes.
3. Organise diaries
There are some things that only a human EA can do when it comes to scheduling, but rote tasks such as organising meetings can be offloaded to an automation app like x.ai, Clara or Genee. Each of these programs can find the next available spot in your principal’s calendar by CC-ing them into an email. Most of these bots are also programmed to learn from each experience, meaning that any pre-sets are carried onto the next interaction.
4. Book travel
Forget liaising with a travel agent or spending hours on the multiple airline apps to find a spare business class seat – tools like Lola, GoButler and Mezi will do your organizing for you, leaving more time for other human-centric tasks. With the potential for personalised results, automatically generated itineraries and a concierge service, it takes care of every element for both personal and business travel.
5. Take minutes
Minute-taking may be a regular task for PAs and EAs, but if the tech world has anything to do with it, it won’t be for much longer. Apps like Clarke.ai and Q by Minute Hero automate the entire process, dialling in like a human participant and using speech-to-text technology to take accurate notes. They can also email a copy after the meeting and highlight any actions discussed, ensuring each meeting is of use.
At the end of the day, personal assistants and executive assistants are valued for their personal and considered touch. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use automation technology to make you more productive and efficient, freeing up more time for complex and detailed tasks.
To find out more about the technology that can help out in your everyday life, check out the apps our PAs love.
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