The last couple of years (and counting) have been quite the wild ride of revelations for almost everyone everywhere. While some of us may start to think about the more philosophical side of life, others try to reevaluate their patterns, for better or worse.
So much has changed and continues to change in the world of everyday life. But the effect these changes have had on the business world were something truly revolutionary. Among all the trends and shifts we’ve seen, though: going paperless is the most logical and enjoyable process for everybody involved.
Why Do You Hate Paper?
It’s not that we’re not fans of a fresh, clean sheet of paper to scrawl our thoughts on. We just think that there may be a benefit to the whole going paperless thing. We can go on and on about why you should care about the shift, especially when it comes to child care. But why not look at this list of potential benefits? Everybody loves lists.
Save Time and Money – No paper; no pens; no expenditures. No writing; more time to be present with the kids.
Communicate Better – If everyone can see what everyone else is doing at any time; everyone can more easily communicate and collaborate.
Enhanced Organization – Depending on timesheets, lists, and the like is nowhere near as efficient as collaborative and dynamic organization systems.
Space Efficiency – Doing away with the filing cabinets, archive/record rooms and everything else related to paperwork opens up a lot of room.
Easier Remote Work – Although child care is a more hands-on line of work; today’s modern workplace demands constantly convenient access to resources.
Help the Planet – What, did you think everything revolves around just us? Reducing our carbon footprint by any means and amount is guaranteed with going paperless.
7 Methods; Many More Benefits
There’s a bit more to it than just tossing out the printer, however. We’re not saying we have all the answers to flawless business, but we do know a fair bit about how to turn any child care business into something much smoother and rewarding. Here are a few ways to truly go paperless, and focus more on the care in child care.
1. Do Your Homework
Although the word “homework” may trigger some of you; a little research (which is another way of saying Googling) can help you efficiently plan your paperless path. One must take inspiration from those that do it best. Getting a good look at what digital strategies businesses all over the globe are using can make yours go far better than expected.
Do some research into what systems you could use to replace your pre-paperless tasks, including how to manage your child care, your staff, children, parents and beyond. And before any of that happens, you’ll have to ask yourself those existential business questions we all know and love.
What’s your strategy for the shift? What are your goals? What kind of returns are you hoping to achieve? What are you willing to do/spend to achieve this? What is your vision for the next year? You get the idea.
2. Baby Steps
You don’t jump up a ladder; you climb it rung by rung. Your organization might be totally on board with the paperless path, but neither they nor you can expect to do it all overnight.
Start with cutting out the non-essentials and miscellaneous info you have from the printing cycle, and start depending on cloud-based storage and collaboration platforms. Something as simple as Google Drive can boost productivity tremendously. Consider then gradually shifting all of your information to cloud-based storage in phases, and slowly phasing out the paperwork process as well as the printers themselves. Rome wasn’t built in a day; your child care won’t go to the cloud in a week.
3. Paperless Priorities
Although practically everything in today’s child care businesses can be digitized and securely stored on widely and easily accessible cloud storage solutions; some habits just don’t go away..
You obviously can do away with any redundant or temporary paperwork, and that should be your priority moving forward. But when it comes to important documentation that, for one reason or another, still hasn’t made the full leap to digital; you’ll need a drawer, essentially.
Your efforts to digitize your child care management concerns from top to bottom can easily go far and wide. But planning what gets uploaded, what goes in the shredder and what goes in the cabinet has to be a matter of priority.
4. Finding Your Flow
Getting rid of all of your child care’s redundant paperwork is great and all, but what does all that mean without having a plan for where it all goes? Having a groundwork for how to go about your business, whether it’s on a child care management app or beyond, means restructuring the way your child care ticks.
There are a few things to cross off your paperless checklist to make the transition to paperless (and better) business smooth. Here are just a few examples:
Where will our files go?
Do we set up a shared digital file system?
How are we going to keep track of our reports and surveys?
What are we going to do about conversations and communication?
Which tools do we need for efficient documentation?
Should we look into a child care management app?
Without a roadmap ahead of everything, you and your staff will still be swimming in pens and paperwork until you start to have mixed feelings about trees.
5. Outside In
Remember that you’re not going paperless, just on the inside. It’s a whole business wide process that affects everything and everyone from your front door to your revenue statements. Everyone has a way to go about everything from eating a donut to cracking code. Most would say to start any act from the inside out. But what about going at it backwards?
When you start your paperless journey, consider starting from the outside in. Start at the front desk, for example; one of the most paper intensive parts of any company is admissions. Instead of printing dozens of files and paper documents, keep a sign-in sheet at the front desk, leave notes for employees to plan ahead, or better yet: automate your visitation system. There are plenty of child care management apps that automate everything, and when it comes to front desk, customer service and beyond; using digital visitor logbooks help save money and seriously cut down on wasted time and resources.
Beyond the front desk, start working on the next external department that needs the paperless treatment until you hit the core. You’ll, of course, have to tell everyone what’s going on; this is an all hands on deck situation, and the more hands on deck, the better everything will go.
6. Pay it Forward
Hard to believe that even in 2021, we’re still clinging to paper and physical means when it comes to anything to do with payment. Receipts, invoices, bills, money itself; it’s a strange state of affairs when literally everything else is evolving at a dizzying pace.
It makes sense then to put the full power of paperless practice into streamlining how your child care handles payment. We’re not talking about a nicely organized Excel spreadsheet; there’s so much more you can use to automate the entire process from start to finish. Your optimal or ideal course of action is to have it all managed by one intuitive system, preferably one that considers the various regional requirements and methods of payment.
We’re going to have to reference ourselves here a bit for this one. Parent, for example, features an evolving suite of financial features designed to automate the payment process with periodic payment reminders, various payment integrations, pay-as-you-go schemes and multiple plans as well as support for government subsidies. Besides some initial data entry, the rest is managed automatically by Parent, letting you worry more about what the kids should be learning instead of chasing banks and accountants.
7. Invest in the Best
Now, this might be the best opportunity we have of plugging our brand into the mix, but let’s not rush ahead. There are so many applications that you can fit to your child care center’s requirements. So much so that choosing the right solution might look like a shot in the dark, no matter how well-informed you might think you are,
It’s important to identify your needs and pain points which, by now, we should have guided you towards a bit. Once that’s accounted for, narrow down your options according to what each solution offers versus your allotted budget, technical, and staff requirements. Coincidentally, Parent has all of this nailed down, and we also offer a 40-day free trial. On that note: get into free trials; you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. So why not see which options have a trial and go ahead?
All in All
It’s a rough decision to make, but hopefully, we’ve shed some light on why the process is worth it. Going paperless is the right way to go no matter how you look at it, and it’s a key factor for your business’s success. Especially when it comes to early years education.
Parent is always ready to help you transition from paper to digital, and with as few excel sheets as possible. All you have to do is get in touch with us and we’ll see to it that you get what you need. All so you can give carers the time and focus they deserve for the children.