Graham Whistance, Managing Director at MyMobileWorkers, gives his top tips for improving administration in your business.

The term ‘paperwork’ is starting to show its age. More and more admin tasks are now able to be handled digitally - from full-blown management systems to simple note-taking apps.

Cloud-based technology allows workers to access, manage and store all of the paperwork they require via a handheld device. It means there’s no need for piles of printed forms, sheets and certificates.

It’s a paperless approach which provide faster, simpler and safer ways to handle a whole range of administrative tasks. It lessens the workload on employees, reduces human errors and improves compliance.

But it also creates a daunting business challenge. There’s such a dizzying array of apps, systems and services available, all offering alternative ways to handle paperwork. Where do you start?

Here are some tips on best ways to approach the task:

Do your research

It’s essential to know the pros and cons of each option. It doesn’t matter how many dazzling features something has, if none of them apply to your company’s specific needs.

While any kind of change to admin processes will carry an element of risk, this can be minimised by proper research and a basic understanding of how each system works.

Understand the benefits

A switch from paper-based to automated tasks will typically reduce admin times by 25%. But it’s important to look beyond simple speed savings if you want to make the most of digital solutions.

The move to cloud-based tasks provides a new way to manage fieldworkers with real-time access to data allowing for a more flexible and reactive way of working.

Create a plan

Introducing any kind of change to work processes can be tricky and planning is required to ensure a smooth transition. Extra training and support may be required, especially for employees who aren’t technically savvy.

A phased approach can help, providing an opportunity to identify and iron out any issues before a new admin process is fully rolled out. With proper preparation, a switchover can be achieved with minimal disruption.

Get ‘buy in’

The workers who will be using any new admin process need to feel fully part of the implementation process. Problems tend to arise when employees perceive that changes are being imposed on them from above.

Good communication is key, you need to explain why changes are being made and provide ways for workers to provide feedback to raise concerns or provide suggestions.

Don’t go crazy

While digital processes do provide significant benefits, there’s no need to try and completely eliminate paper-based tasks from your operation. For simple tasks and small teams, paper still has a place in administration.

A balanced approach can work with digital processes being used for those jobs that benefit most from information being easy to access and share. While some companies go to great lengths to achieve ‘paper free’ admin, there’s no need to adopt such a binary approach.

So, while it can be intimidating to move away from tried-and-tested ways of managing paperwork, the real risk is posed by a refusal to change. As more business switch to automated processes, they are gaining significant competitive advantages.

Streamlining paperwork allows workers to operate faster, safer and more efficiently. It lessens the administrative burden on employees and creates the kind of agile and flexible organisations that thrive in today’s business environment.