How to automate your workflow with task management software

Despite an arsenal of modern task management software tools that help your employees prioritize work, manage schedules, and collaborate with one another, they may still scramble to meet deadlines.  

Many delays are due to repetitive manual tasks. Even the simple acts of replying to emails, creating task requests, or copying data from one disparate system and pasting it into another can quickly add up to lots of wasted time—especially when these tasks are done multiple times a day or week.

This is where workflow automation comes in. Put simply, workflow automation can automate the many time-consuming—and often error-prone—manual tasks that tend to slow operations down. When paired with task management software, this type of functionality can improve everyday processes and even entire projects, streamlining tasks to help individuals and teams reach their goals faster.

Let’s take a look at how workflow automation works within task management software, its business benefits, and real-world examples of how you could combine both to get tasks done faster and more accurately.

Workflow automation within task management software

For most business tasks, employees need to access and use more than one application. The best task management solutions seamlessly work with multiple applications and draw data from different tools, making it easy to create automated workflows between those apps and services.

Essentially, workflow automation uses rule-based logic and if/then statements to automate various types of manual work, with little to no coding required. Some task management solutions provide templates with predefined rules to simplify setting up automated workflows between different systems.

Whether you create your own workflow or use a template, you can configure the system to trigger steps based on conditions to automatically delegate tasks—in a secure and compliant way that helps minimize repetitive manual tasks.

Once automated tasks are created, they are easy to add, sort, organize, and view via a task management dashboard—a central location that displays all information about a task, including collaborators, updates, and deadlines.

From automating the sending of emails to coordinating approvals, here are three simple ways that workflow automation can elevate your business processes:

Receiving requests by email

  • Manual scenario: A company’s social media team invites other departments to contribute post content. The team manager then adds each post to the task management software.
  • With workflow automation: The social media team creates a new workflow within the task management software, which scans incoming emails for the subject header “Social Media Request”—then automatically populates the posts to their respective fields in the task management software.

Responding to applications from external prospects

  • Manual scenario: The human resources department organizes its hiring process using task management software. As part of the process, an administrator must manually forward resumes accepted via email to the person overseeing the respective hiring department, and then send a thank-you response to the applicant.
  • With workflow automation: The administrator builds a workflow in the task management software that requires prospects to fill out a web form, effectively removing the need for manual follow-up. When prospects apply for jobs using the form, a notification is immediately sent to the appropriate department, and an automatic email or text message goes to the applicant thanking them for their interest.

Coordinating a report generation and approvals process

  • Manual scenario: Every month, an accounting team manager must create an expense report for leadership. Before it’s distributed, the manager must collect information from three directors, then compile the report and solicit each director’s approval. This process requires countless hours following up with directors, sending multiple reminders, and dealing with multiple drafts—which can result in confusion and potential report errors.
  • With workflow automation: The manager creates a workflow in the task management software that automatically notifies directors when to submit information for the next report. The manager also sets up automatic reminders if responses aren’t received within 24 hours, and at 12 specified intervals after that. Meanwhile, the manager uses a similar automated process when director approval is required for the new report—with the workflow set up to trigger an announcement when the report is ready for the next director to review.

Business benefits of add-in workflow automation

Here are just a few business benefits of using task management software with built-in workflow automation functionality:

  • Simplified task and project management: Task automation expedites business processes, leading to fewer delays along entire projects. This reduces the need for managers to micromanage tasks, allowing them to focus on the work they need to do themselves.
  • Less room for error: Because it removes the need for manual data entry, workflow automation helps reduce mistakes and improves transparency. If errors occur, you’re able to review your specific task management board and workflow to pinpoint the exact location where mistakes happened.
  • Improved productivity across different working environments: When workflows are automated, employees and teams save a lot of time normally spent on sending emails and updating information within multiple tools. Moreover, with many companies working in hybrid environments, task management software with workflow automation helps further strengthen collaboration, as well as task organization and tracking.

Get started by automating one frustrating task

Begin by selecting one manual task that tends to create frustration for your teams. Analyze the performance of the task both before and after automation—and its impact on the overall business process.

Over time, continue looking across your organization’s task management boards for manual tasks that could be streamlined and made more efficient through automation. In no time, task management software with workflow automation will become an indispensable tech tool for your company, and you’ll see tasks and projects being completed more efficiently than ever before.

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Business Insights and Ideas does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation..