As a business leader managing a diverse workforce of remote, local work-from-home, and in-office employees, it is inevitable that someone’s productivity will come to a grinding halt because of your inbox. How much revenue is sitting in every employee’s emails in missed opportunities and process hold-ups? How much time will it take to sift through the junk – how many target accounts are sitting waiting for a response – how many requests are just waiting to be approved? It used to be as simple as walking down the hallway to remind someone to check for an email gently. The luxury of in-person persistence isn’t always an option anymore, though, since, according to Stanford, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time.

42% of the U.S. Labor force is now working from home full-time. – Stanford News 

The solution is a Microsoft workflow software called Microsoft Automate, which pairs with your existing data analytics automation services. Microsoft Automate, formally called Microsoft Flow, is a part of the Microsoft Power Platform and leverages robotic process automation (RPA) to automate quickly and more securely to put intelligent workflows to work. Here are three ways to leverage Microsoft Automate leveraging premade templates: boost productivity and optimize your inbox immediately.

Microsoft Automate, formally called Microsoft Flow, is a part of the Microsoft Power Platform and leverages robotic process automation (RPA) to automate quickly and more securely to put intelligent workflows to work.

1) Automatically Save Attachments to OneDrive

Stop digging for email attachments and, instead, automatically save attachments to OneDrive. This Office O365 workflow tool can create a file in OneDrive and start saving email attachments automatically. If you’re expecting documents to be in your inbox, save them now and buy back some time later.  Saving attachments is the most straightforward suggestion as it only requires you to save the template and sign in! With a little bit of tweaking, you can even filter it down to documents from a specific sender or with key phrases in the subject.

2) Recieve Push Notifications from Key Stakeholders

Whether a message is from your boss, your customer, or your employee, there are communications from specific individuals you cannot afford to miss. Microsoft Power Automate has a template to get a push notification  when you get an email from a VIP.

If you’re like me, you’ve got a handful of times available to check your email during the day.  That’s why I have this push notification template set up with any customer stakeholders because my time is their time. Executives can leverage this Office O365 workflow tool to receive a notification from peers on systems downtime and corporate and customer communication, for example. Individuals may not get back to you frequently, so strike while the iron is hot and keep the chain of communication going! When I see a notification from my Microsoft workflow software, then I know it’s something I’ve already deemed as critical.

3) Automate Approval Processes

The previous two templates have been pretty plug and play, but this one is going to take a little work from you and your team, but the payoff is excellent. Imagine you need a contract signed or an offer letter distributed where four or five individuals need to review and approve before it goes out the door. With an Outlook approval workflow feature, you can start an approval process and send an email on Microsoft Form submission.

The event to kick this one off is a Microsoft Forms submittal. On the other end, when your employee fills out their form, and approval request automatically processes to your Microsoft Power Automate app. You can quickly accept or reject and add a comment without ever opening your computer while an email is drafted and sent back to the requester.

This template is for a single approver, but multiple approvers can leverage this solution. Gone are the days of needing to wait for one more person to read their email and respond with “This looks good” so I could wait for the next person in line to do the same thing. No more, I say! Just click the checkbox on your phone and move on.

Photo showing Intelligent Workflows using Microsoft Power Automate via October 12, 2020

The workforce relies now more than ever on electronic communication forms, so it’s time to embrace the change and focus on more efficient communication. The faster you can get your job done, the faster those around you can work as well. If email operations don’t excite you, that’s okay too! Use Microsoft workflow software with over 392 built-in connectors and thousands of other templates to look through, so do future you a favor and start thinking about automating parts of your life with Microsoft Power Automate. Strategize over a Microsoft Power Automate use cases and explore more data analytics automation tips by partnering with 3Cloud for a BI Strategy Assessment.