Summer is almost here which of course means that every single bloody TV ad, Instagram post, tweet and billboard will be about getting fit and getting in shape. Remember that Protein World billboard that caused a stir last year? Yeah, it’s going to be like that!
What the hell does that have to do with the back office?
Listening to all this yearly “get lean” talk and since I deal with sorting out back office processes for hospitality through tech, I got to thinking.
In all our quests to better ourselves, to get healthy, to kick ass, get ripped…why have we never looked at our work as an area to improve on? Why do we still find it acceptable to work in cluttered offices, with forest fulls of paper bloat getting folded, filed and forgotten?
Why are we still slaves to a spreadsheet diet? Why have we not updated the software we use in 10 years+? It’s like wearing your stinky 1995 trainers every day and never wondering whether there might be some better ones out there! Maybe a pair that’s better for you and who you are as a business. One that could even offer you a competitive advantage…
Certainly some shoes that don’t look like they were designed by Clippy, the Windows Help paperclip. For those of you too Millennial to know what the hell I mean, it’s this:
I still come across old software procurement platforms that communicate via fax. FAX, for the love of all things paperless! We have everything sorted for healthy living and are eco conscious to the gills but when it comes to work…all those rules go out the window.
Now, it definitely isn’t like this in all industries but in the market I currently work in, which is glamorous hospitality, the back office bloat is REAL.
Shiny iPads for customers — battered old PCs for the staff. Online booking, online check in, online everything for customers — ancient software built for Internet Explorer only for the back office. Not to mention the fact that “archiving” is still a word du jour. That should have gone away when Xerox stopped being the “document company”.
We have apps that measure your heartbeat and turn your lights on before you get home. You can pre-order your food before you sit down in a restaurant and pay for your meal with your phone whilst saving the world one tree at a time by seeing all your statements and bills online. Yet all this amazing tech is nowhere to be seen in hospitality operations. It’s like a shiny new gym scaring the daylights out of a fitness beginner.
Fit in four weeks!
Change may not be easy but that’s not a reason to keep things as they are. Everything seems scary at the start and you have to give it a little while to see the results. But like any gym instructor will tell you, “Stick with it for a month and you’ll get to know what’s what and feel better for it.” Make it part of your routine and you will notice dramatic results.
The same applies to adopting technology for your operations. It can take just four weeks to get up and running (see what I did there) — from then on you’ll start noticing a difference. You’ll spend less time on admin, forget all about data entry and bypass all your old repetitive tasks. Cut out spreadsheets and paper and see how lean and efficient your back office becomes.
Offer your staff the chance to work in an environment that’s in line with their daily lives in terms of technology. Allow them to work with tools that they can access from tablets and smartphones, on the go and online. Empower them to be as great as they can be and don’t limit them to a process pattern that will render them sluggish and resentful. One of the key strengths of today’s employee is mastering technology and its inherent efficiencies — play to that, and you will see endless benefits for years to come.