How To Reduce Paperwork & Get Excited About Online Forms

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How To Reduce Paperwork & Get Excited About Online Forms

Summary:  If you’re one of the progressive individuals working hard to reduce paperwork in the office, we’ve got some exciting news for you!

There’s a reason why general ‘paperwork’ has a derogatory feeling associated with it. ‘Staying late at the office again, to finish my paperwork’ ‘working overtime to file this paperwork.’ Paperwork is the epitome of monotony. So why not shake things up this year? Although we at Intranet Connections get excited about online forms and all they can do, (in fact over a third of our office favors the inline forms application over all others!) we realize that’s not necessarily the ‘exciting’ part about it. What is exciting, is all the activities you can do now that you’ve freed up so much time that was previously spent on manual paperwork. Here are 3 reasons to get excited about online forms!

1. Improve Time Management in the Workplace

What’s the best way to manage your time in the workplace? Eliminate manual tasks of course! Imagine what you can do with all the time freed up from filling out forms, calculating costs, recalculating, correcting, resubmitting, leaving forms on your supervisor’s desk to get their signature, reminding your supervisor to sign… it’s exhausting! Not to mention inefficient. It’s time to automate those pesky approval processes to save time and get organized!

“Approval processes that previously took 6-8 weeks, now had the ability to be approved within 1 day.”
SARAH SANTALUCE | Brand Manager, Amica Mature Lifestyles

Time Sheets

Get your employees to fill in time sheets online. It’s a simple form that you can easily customize to fit your organization’s requirements. Determine which fields you require your employees to fill out. Set up the first field to automatically pulling the employee’s name, a date field to set the pay period, and a formula field to calculate the total hours. Gone are the days of manually subtracting holiday pay or sick leave. Set up the form once, and you can ever set automatic reminders so you don’t have to nag everyone to fill out their time sheets.

Expense Forms

Most organizations use already standardized expense forms that can easily be turned into a workflow that goes directly from their supervisor to accounting, or whoever is in charge of approving finances. Amica Mature Lifestyles reduced their approval processes from 6 weeks to one day by automating their approval process flow with Intranet Connections.

Typical expenses reimbursement forms can use a date field, text box or drop-down menu for the description, file upload for the receipt, and a number field to calculate the total cost. Mileage forms are another good example of moving forms online, and can follow the same sequence of data fields, but can also have a mileage field that uses GPS mapping to automatically calculate distance based on locations.

Tip: Do your employees occasionally go over their allocated expense amounts? Add a trigger to request an explanaition.

 2. Go Green! (Cost Saving Tips For The Office)

Environmental Considerations

Did you know that world consumption of paper has grown 400 percent in 40 years? That’s approximately 187 billion pounds of paper from 4 billion trees per year! Help launch a green initiative by switching from paper to online forms. You don’t have to hug a tree to save it!

Cost Savings

When you take into consideration the amount spent on purchasing paper, printer maintenance, ink, and postage, paperwork really starts to add up. This is not even taking into consideration the human capital spent on forms. Locating the proper form, writing legibly, presenting the form to the next person, correcting forms passed along to you, reminding your colleagues to review what you’ve left on their desk, then manually filing or retrieving documents, forms, policies, and standards are all time thieves. Eliminate the resource-heavy paperwork and switch to online forms today!

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 3. Streamline Employee Onboarding

Have you ever started a new job and felt lost, or unsure of how to accomplish your tasks in the first few weeks? You’re not alone! Luckily your future employees will never have to know the struggle if you streamline your employee onboarding process. How to do this with online forms? Simple! Set up an employee onboarding checklist with tasks for them to complete during their first week(s) on the job. You can even roll out a ‘preboarding’ plan, where you provide them access to your intranet before they start to brush up on your company culture, vision and goals.

Your checklist can link to a variety of online resources, such as:

4. Improve Business Processes

The secret is out – we’ve found a creative way to utilize an Online Form that improves productivity and user-experience for both employees and clients. Our Online Forms can already transform into a variety of useful tools such as Policy Review to Job Openings, but how can you use Online Forms to improve the way in which you do business on your intranet, your website and beyond? Creating a Feature Requests Form. Below are 3 different ways to utilize a Feature Request form.

1. Intranet

Ensure all the elements on your intranet are functioning properly by allowing employees to submit a request to fix or improve current applications. Feature Requests will assist in various issues such as; wanting to submit your Vacation Time on your Team/Department Site if one is currently not available.

2. Website

Every department will interact with your website differently so any errors/updates that may be overlooked by one, can be spotted by another. Support can find broken links on support pages, Marketing may hear from a client that a page is not mobile-friendly, or Development can spot outdated information. A Feature Request form provides them with an outlet to submit the changes needed.

3. Beyond

Your brand lives on beyond the boundaries of internal communication (your intranet) and website visitors. From social media channels, company blogs, and articles, your brand spreads! It’s no wonder employees may find a link opportunity in an article, or suggest a blog post idea, perhaps you may be missing out on a new social media tool that was recently discovered by an employee. Open up a communication channel by easily allowing feature submissions to be made.

We’ve found that the best way to build a successful intranet is utilizing agile development; listening to employees and customers to provide the best possible experience. Although there are other means of collecting information on your intranet such as Idea Share Exchange or Online Surveys, the Feature Request gets the information to the right person, right away.

There are some key fields to include in a Feature Request form:

Category of the feature request such as; Website, Intranet, Blog, Social Media etc.

  • A space to write about the feature request
  • A space to explain ‘why’ this feature request was made
  • Who the request is submitted by (this field is automatically filled with the user login info)
  • Who requested the feature (the submitter may not be the original requester – they might have spoken to a customer or colleague).
  • The option to attach an image file/screenshot
  • The urgency of the request

Online Forms is one of the key reasons our clients begin the search for an intranet, and the creativity and freedom over their online forms is one of the main reasons they maintain their intranet. The flow of information from end-user to approver are beneficial and can be created to best suit your needs.

So you see, it’s not what you do with it, it’s what you can do now that you have all that free time! Say farewell to filing and adiós to approval backlog, and bring on the cost savings! We’d love to hear about the top online forms your organization uses and how we can help. Leave us a comment below!

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About the Author:

Caitlin is a strategy-driven marketing professional with over five years of experience. She is well versed in goal driven initiatives and her efforts in digital marketing have included numerous successful marketing campaigns, building and executing social media portfolios and creative storytelling. She holds a Digital and Mobile Marketing Certificate from Simon Fraser University as well as a Bachelors of Commerce (Honours Marketing) degree from the University of Guelph. When she's not in the office, you'll find her in the mountains either skiing or hiking.

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