If you want to learn how office automation works, you first need to read the following quote from a dead guy.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”


Voltaire is the sixth smartest person who’s ever lived according to Will Durant, a biographer of history’s greatest geniuses.

But he’s still just a dead guy with no business background, so why are we opening a piece on how office automation works with a quote from him?

Well, for starters, 90 percent of offices have management who hold truly absurd beliefs about productivity, professional development, and business growth, and the result is a panoply of atrocities committed against the potential for revenue.

And like many great quotes, it imparts an unflinching gaze at the grim realities of the most commonplace aspects of our life—our offices among the most commonplace of these realities.

After all, 76% of workers spend 40 or more hours per week inside these offices. That’s a big reason why any miscalculations can have a costly effect on business revenue, human capital management, and maximizing labor output.

In fact, it can be argued that the microeconomic problems this causes are so far-reaching they can impact macroeconomic development and even global economic health.

The Key Problem with “Normal” Offices

In most organizations, the issue is not that management loses sight of profit as the ultimate objective. It’s that they lose sight of the best route to reach that goal of profit.

This problem exists because most managers (even CFOs and CROs), forget to analyze how organizational workflows impact the bottom-line, failing to account for opportunity costs and the money hemorrhaged between the lines of their balance sheets.

After all, any best route to the goal of profit will account for all possible workflow hang-ups, and rely on their understanding of how office automation works to compensate for these gaps.

However, in understanding how office automation works, we must first analyze the problems it can solve in typical offices. So, without further ado, here are the 5 worst problems about working in a “normal” office that office automation technologies can solve.

5. Singing “Happy Birthday” to Every Coworker Once Per Year

Although many industries are losing jobs to automation, there are upsides to this phenomenon.

For instance, fewer employees in your office equals a fewer number of times you’ll have to awkwardly congregate around a birthday cake brimming red with flare-like candles, humming even more awkwardly to the tune of everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to a coworker you don’t even know much about, eyeing the cake so intently you skip parts of the tune you’ve been taught to sing since the end of the first year you were born.

The awkwardness inevitably ensues, and once you’ve finished your slice of cake and indulged in meaningless banter with the recipient of the office birthday wishes, you’ll wonder why you can’t just work from anywhere other than where you are at that moment.

Although awkward office birthday parties may never be removed from the white-collar equation, they can be mitigated, and that’s just how office automation works: the better the technological tools in place to overcome awkward social interactions, the fewer awkward social interactions there’ll be.

4. Extremely Noisy Keyboard Pattering

In some offices, you’d think many people pattering away at their keyboards thought their fingers were Mike Tyson’s hands, and the keyboard keys were the punching bags Iron Mike beat the stuffing out of for fun.

Facetious as that may seem, it’s enough to drive just about anybody mad, and probably explains the emergence of mass headphone wearing during work hours.

How office automation works to solve this problem is by reducing the number of keystrokes needed to complete each task in an office.

To automate manual processes, companies can rely on document automation tools like Zonal OCR to bring this process to fruition. The benefits of automated document routing and predefined document names are endless, but their greatest surface level benefits are in keeping hands healthy and ears rested while at work.

3. Workplace Interruptions

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cost of workplace interruptions has seen a big uptick in recent years, which is not surprising given the number of mobile devices, tablets, and toys we store within these practically pocket-sized windows.

But that’s not even the beginning of the story. Those are just self-imposed interruptions.

The ones others force upon us can be far more aggravating and harmful to productivity.

A large part of how office automation works is by creating a continuity and “flow” to productivity in the workplace. Researchers have found that although this may require the loss of jobs, it will invariably lead to a greater level of worker happiness among those who remain employed.

Focusing for long periods on a given task and deriving intrinsic enjoyment from said task is just as conducive to employees’ wellbeing as receiving an ample amount of vacation time and keeping the number of hours per week worked to a minimum level.

The cost of workplace interruptions has detracted from American’s overall economic health, but the good news is it is highly avoidable thanks to automation technologies.

2. Awkward Elevator Conversations and Silences

Even more interestingly, the more automation emerges in place of manual labor, the less frequently we will have to ride elevators and endure the awkward conversations that inevitably ensue from said interactions.

The irony of this list item is the fact that one can argue that some of the first pages in the story of automation began with the invention of elevators.

Even more dreadful are the awkward interactions in which the elevator doors are close enough to shutting that another person can be let in with effort from those aboard the elevator to stop the narrowing doors, but, the truth is we’d all just rather get on with the day and let them either wait for the next descending of the elevator or hit the steps on route to the office desk.

And, sometimes, the silence one hears when climbing the elevator can be just as awkward as the conversation designed to overcome it.

1. Meetings that Drag on Forever

Time-wasting meetings are very frequent these days. Not only are they meetings of the worst variety, they destroy the incentive to produce of those in the office whom actually feel passionate about their ideas and their goals.

How office automation works to resolve the meetings issue is by putting controls in place to eliminate the need for meetings. If a process can be automated, there’s no need to discuss how or why it should be enacted. The technology simply takes care of itself.

Concluding Thoughts on How Office Automation Works

So, we can only hope that the 5 worst things about working in a “normal” office will one day be viewed as atrocities, so businesses can begin profiting in the way they were meant to, and perhaps good ol’ Voltaire will stop turning in his grave.