We are, in 2023, on the verge of a digital renaissance. Following the dot.com bubble of the 90s and web 2.0, the next stage of technological revolution will involve renewable energy internet technologies, a digital mobility infrastructure, and a greater reliance on AI technologies to meet sustainability goals. Automation will form a big part of that.
The problem with paper
While a remote work culture has accelerated the uptake of new technologies, many businesses still rely on paper to complete business processes.
In your office, you might still find paper for:
- New-starter contracts/ forms
- Onboarding documents
- Filing systems
- Payroll documents
- Pay slips
The cost of paper to the environment is heavy. Paper manufacturing involves mass deforestation, while the manufacturing process itself releases nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect. The long and short of it? Paper isn’t good for the earth.
While digital systems still require energy to power them, the environmental cost is comparably light. Automated tools are, essentially, software. And software is, essentially, code. To you and me, this means no manufacturing expenditures, minimal greenhouse gas emissions, and – crucially – no harvesting of trees.
How is automation sustainable?
So how is process automation sustainable? Well, first and foremost, it removes paper-based processes from your organization. These might include paper contracts for new hires and vendors, paper payroll methods, and paper filing systems.
Process automation also adds manpower to your team. But – and here’s the magic trick – without hiring anyone new. No – process automation doesn’t involve little worker robots (just yet), but it does free up time for your existing employees, allowing them to focus on higher-value work.
How does this help with sustainability goals? Well, just picture the scene…
Example – HR sustainability
Your HR representatives are bogged down with administrative tasks, especially in the wake of a series of new hires. New hire contracts must be posted, onboarding documents printed out, read, and signed. All documents, eventually, must be filed. For your HR staff, these processes are time-consuming and leave less time for company CSR and sustainability goals.
With process automation, all these processes are swiftly fast-tracked and digitized. Documents which require signatures can employ e-signature technologies. Reminders are automated, meaning no more follow-up emails. With these and many more tasks taken care of, your employees find significantly more time in their weekly schedules.
They can turn their attention to CSR and sustainability initiatives, including a sponsored plant-a-tree project. Your business begins to establish itself as a socially responsible and environmentally friendly corporation, winning more business as a result.
Did you know? HR staff spend a third of their time on administrative and payroll tasks, and only 9% on HR strategy (including CSR and sustainability initiatives).
Why does automation sustainability even matter?
So, why does automation sustainability even matter? What does a sustainable digital future look like?
Well, for one thing, digital technologies have huge potential in the environmental sphere. The landscape, as it stands today, is predicted to change rapidly, as sustainability pressures increase. Smart technologies, big data, AI, automation, and forecasting capabilities all help companies improve their efficiency performance.
A more efficient company is not only more productive – it consumes less energy. Processes take less time and are completed faster. Forecasting, analytics, and maintenance capabilities, built into automation tools, help businesses conserve energy — using it for the tasks that matter.
An automated world is a more sustainable world. And with sea levels rising, ice caps melting, and temperatures reaching new extremes, automation sustainability has never been more important.
Make automation sustainable with Nintex
At Nintex, we are three steps ahead when it comes to sustainability. Nintex Process Discovery is an automation identifier tool, helping you assess which processes to automate. For every process, it eliminates unnecessary steps, trims the fat of your processes, and keeps you running at optimum efficiency.
Nintex’s process automation tools help offload administrative tasks to a virtual workforce. Using chatbots, process automation, and digital workflows, your employees can fast-track and simplify everyday tasks, and turn their attention to the things that matter.
Whether that’s getting the ball rolling on a sustainable project, educating employees on office recycling, or bringing some greenery into the office, automation means less sweating the small stuff. More time for planet Earth.
Want to kickstart your automation sustainability? At Nintex, we turn paper processes into sustainable pixels.