8 Steps to Quitting Your Paper Habit

January 13, 2012

Quit Paper

How to Achieve a Healthy Scheduling Process

Ever had a bad habit you just couldn’t kick? From nail biting to cigarette smoking, we’ve all been there in some way. In the service industry some of the toughest habits to break include hiring based on ‘your gut,’ blaming turnover only on your team and managing your scheduling via paper.

An Industry Epidemic

Are you suffering from paper scheduling? Do you sometimes jot down employees’ availability on a napkin — and lose it? Do you find yourself scribbling out shift changes on the BOH board? You’re not alone. Studies show most service-industry businesses use paper processes at some stage in their operations.

In order to quit, you need to re-learn how to complete all of your scheduling tasks without paper. Kicking the habit might not be easy for life-long addicts — some managers use a pack of paper every week, but doing so will improve the health of your bottom line and will stop wasting your time, money and talent. (Don’t believe us? Just ask “No Go” Trader Jose.)

The 8-Step Program

It’s not a “paper-and-ink” patch, but we’re pretty sure our “8 Steps” can help you quit cold turkey.

  1. Admit you have a paper problem. Recognize that your desk has become unmanageable, your team is disgruntled with last minute calls and you’re losing the shift battle. The first step toward ROI recovery is admitting you have a problem.
  2. Make a list of reasons why you quit. I will save time and money. I will increase customer satisfaction. I will reduce turnover. Write down whatever your reasons are, and — until you’re automated — keep the list on you at all times.
  3. Accept that you can’t do this alone. Find the online scheduling solution for your specific needs. One that understands your hourly workforce and provides the support you need to remove paper methods.
  4. Admit your past shortcomings. Rebuild relationships with everyone your habit hurt. Let employees who were over-scheduled, under-scheduled or scheduled last-minute know it won’t happen again with your new online scheduling system. Share your regret and move forward.
  5. Set your quit date. Pick a day that doesn’t have additional stress — avoid the busy holidays or days managers are on vacation. Also, pick a day that’s not too that far away; don’t let automation become something you just keep putting off.
  6. Get rid of paper temptations. Eliminate the things in your life that encourage unhealthy behaviors or remind you of your addiction … goodbye paper calendars and time-off request sheets. Hello smartphones, tablets and laptops.
  7. Make the switch. Take a few minutes each day to work with your new processes. In no time, you’ll be creating schedules weeks in advance, running key-metrics reports automatically and approving shift swaps from your smartphone.
  8. Pass the knowledge along. Now that you’ve kicked the habit, share these steps to help fellow service-industry businesses that are suffering from paper processes.
  9. Still Pining for Paper?

    Not sure you’re ready to move forward? See the numbers paper companies don’t want you to see. Get the latest stats on service-industry scheduling and a comprehensive comparison of automated and manual methods from the trusted industry watchdog, PMI.

    And don’t forget the Smiley Guy’s warning, “Failure to eliminate or reduce paper processes can lead to severe service-industry side effects, including wasted time and increased costs. Long-term paper use can lead to turnover and workforce disengagement." Automating scheduling processes is the single most effective step managers can take toward improving the accuracy and quality of their operations.

    Happy Stepping,
    The PeopleMatter Institute