Workflow automation has many benefits; almost too many to name! A school system is likely organized into a dozen or so departments and probably looks something like this:
- Finance and Business
- Human Resources
- Community and Parent Engagement
- Special Education
- Safety and Security
But in all cases the departments would cover similar duties. The staff of each department may focus particularly on their domain but they coordinate daily with their counterparts in the others. Much of this daily work and coordination involves paperwork and forms from other departments. Throw in vendors, teachers, parents, and of course, students, and you could have a literal mountain of paperwork. Let’s look at some of the drawback of this type of workflow.
The nature of paperwork means that staff is continuously operating at 60%. That’s as if two out of every five workers call out sick every day! This is because almost 20% of the workday is spent searching for or gathering information and another 20% is spent on redundant computer tasks. Doing business this way leaves too much room for human error, costing valuable time and effort. Have we mentioned how terrible some handwriting can be? Even if staff manages to find the right documents, they spend so much time trying to read the information they need! Your staff can easily avoid this headache.
The workflow of many schools today likely involves a combination of manual paper process and computerized workflows. (As a side note, this also creates a waste of time, with more than one place to search for information). That said, schools account for nearly two pounds of paper waste per person, per day. Waste, not including what ends up stored. This figure does include students but the amounts associated with administration also adds up quite a bit.
There are other costs associated with using outdated organization methods. Buying and storing paper costs money. The printers and toners used to print the paper also need to be maintained, which is an additional expense. Oftentimes, multiple departments need the same information available at the same time, but work in separate locations. This means needing to have duplicates, if not triplicates, of documents. Not counting the cost of this physical space (which may be as high as $1,241 per filing cabinet per year) paper and printing can account for 10% of a school system’s budget. That’s a lot!
Avoid Waste with Workflow Automation
Thankfully there is technology that can help to automate the management of necessary daily paperwork and forms for departments within schools and school systems. This means
- Far less manual and paper-based action by staff
- More rapid review of requests
- Approval tracking between necessary departments and personnel
- Built in and standardized oversight for compliance
- Vastly simplified document auditing
- Vastly reduced, if not eliminated, document redundancy
- Information will no longer misplaced or missing
- Precision document routing and record keeping
In other words, schools can save time, money, all while reducing waste. What’s not to like? Just think of the mental space gained by removing this outdated clutter. Department heads will be able to focus more of their time and efforts on improving the actual experience suggested by their title. Community and Parent Engagement staff can now help parents get involved, rather than spend time trying to read illegible handwriting. Instruction, Administration, and transportation can explore field trip possibilities instead exploring where they might find some missing field trip forms. Freed from paperwork administrators might actually get to know their students, imagine!
Workflow Automation and the Educational Experience
Really though, paperwork is a weight on staff that without a doubt trickles down to the classroom experience. Workflow automation not only serves to lift much of that burden but it even increases the accountability and oversight within schools and school systems. It’s a solution that solves real organization and efficiency problems without any projecting (of imaginary problems) or injecting (of new problems).