Admin. It’s an enormous burden on our lives and no one likes doing it, yet businesses dedicate such a significant portion of their time that could be used more efficiently elsewhere. There isn’t a business in the world that couldn’t stand to improve itself by reducing the amount of time it spends on admin. So, what are some simple measures you can implement today?
When a business is looking to save time or money, a lot of them make the mistake of turning to flat solutions. A solution may be perfect for one industry, but may not even make a dent on another. This is why, when trying to reduce admin time, you should focus on what your business specifically does and how that can be improved.
Think about your day to day and what is uniquely tripping up members of your staff, creating problems further down the line for your admin team. From there look for solutions that directly solve those issues, rather than something universal that may actually cause more teething problems at first, as people try to fit that square peg into the round hole of their day to day schedule. For example, if you manage a commercial fleet of vehicles, you can save yourself significant amounts of admin work by equipping drivers with fuel cards. These cards can be used to pay for all fuel-related costs at the pump, putting everything onto one account and simplifying the process of claiming expenses. Admin teams will often get held up working through large piles of expenses receipts, so anything you can do to reduce that has a huge impact on their workload.
This is just one example of a specific solution to a larger problem. The key is to work backwards from your unique problems, consulting with your teams to see what causes them personal frustration every day.
There’s no excuse for living in the past and working from physical files anymore. For some, it will sound obvious, but taking advantage of digital tools is an essential step in the fight to streamline your admin workload and save yourself time.
Manually handling admin tasks puts a huge burden on teams, especially those within small businesses. With the software available today there is no reason this should still be going on. Migrating to the cloud is an excellent first step to make. Using these technologies gives you instant access to permanently digitally saved files. These can be accessed in a tenth of the time it takes to get up from your desk, walk over to the files and work your way through the pile. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox have transformed efficiency across a number of sectors, and integrate seamlessly with your team’s workloads, including your admin staff.
If you’re concerned about the cost of investing in this software, consider what you’re losing each month on time spent going through paperwork and doing things the old fashioned way.
Admin naturally puts a lot on your plate, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be done immediately or is of equal weight. Workers naturally prioritize tasks in their role every day, even if they don’t mean to, so why not make more of a concerted effort to do so effectively.
Identify the most important admin tasks you need to do, ideally ranking them by their deadlines and overall impact on the business. Something may be due in a week, but may not require the time, care and revision of a larger task that has a more significant bearing on your ability to keep operating. From there you can allocate your team and resources more intelligently, assigning tasks by suitability and skill level. The success of admin tasks usually dictates how well other sections of the business run, so make sure you’re prioritizing tasks that improve people’s ability to do their job.
It’s vital you establish which tasks have a more tangible effect on how you do business, and thus must be afforded more time, and which ones are non-urgent. Once you make this distinction with admin, it’s something you can implement throughout your entire business structure.
There’s a good chance your business is already making use of outsourcing effectively. You may be paying a freelancer to help you out on a project, or bringing in a manager temporarily to streamline a team’s workload. There’s no shame in doing the same for your admin, in fact, outsourcing can lift a significant burden off of your team and afford you the time and space to implement new measures.
This is not to say outsourcing is simple, it requires a huge amount of training and trust, especially in the case of outsourcing admin. To begin, you should identify what functions you want to outsource and what that would require in terms of training, communication and access. Tasks such as accounting, payroll and HR can all be outsourced to individuals and companies. Make sure whoever you outsource to doesn’t end up just giving you or your team more to do at the front end of the process, and that their costs don’t outweigh what you were budgeting for admin in the first place.
Admin doesn’t have to be one person working alone with a complete knowledge of the business in their head. It can be as streamlined and user-friendly as technological developments have made any other kind of work in recent years. Follow these methods and remember to always think within the context of your own business, rather than blindly following what competitors are doing to save time.