Checklists are powerful tools for ensuring safety and proper procedure. They help even experienced people remember important steps. For example, the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore decreased their blood infection rate by 90% after implementing a simple 5-step checklist and aviators have long relied on checklists to ensure safe flights.
Most restaurants and retail stores reap the same safety and efficiency benefits by incorporating checklists into daily operations, such as kitchen cleaning, table cleaning, stockroom management and bathroom maintenance. But be honest now – is your checklist hanging by the bathroom door on a clipboard with a dodgy-looking pen attached by a string and 42 pounds of Scotch tape? Because if it is, it’s time to introduce your checklists to the 21st century.
Hey Look, It’s One of Those Old-Time Paper Checklists!
In a digital world, paper checklists are quaint reminders of a time when businesses ran on cash tills and white-out. Today’s restaurants and retail stores rely on digital point-of-sale applications, accounting software and email.
Your employees have abandoned paper, too. They’re using their phones to keep every piece of information about their lives on there! Everything from grocery lists to birthdays to random notes about food recipes.
People have switched to digital because it’s more convenient, capable and reliable. Why then, would you want to use paper and pen for some of the most important safety and sanitation routines at your business?
Paper lists are labor-intensive taking extra time to fill out and review. Management has no way of knowing if the work is really done. And it’s difficult to get a bigger picture of the data if you want to see how the team or individuals are doing with their assignments.
Checklist apps have solved these problems and offer additional benefits. Accordingly, many companies have already ditched the paper (in the recycle bin, of course!) and signed on for the power of digital.
15 Ways Digital Checklists Leave Paper in the Dust
Checklist applications do much more than put the paper versions into a smart phone or tablet. They make management, training and reporting easier and more effective.
- A digital checklist can not only tell people what they need to do but help them do it successfully. They display step-by-step instructions with pictures or videos for people just learning. They explain where to find supplies and detail completion criteria.
- When lists include important procedural details, even new employees can complete them successfully, and businesses save on training costs while reducing mistakes.
- People easily check off each step with the touch of a button. Employees don’t have to manually write in a checkmark or initials. And face it, there’s never a pen when you need it because one employee keeps losing them in the storage room and another is chewing on the caps and that’s just unsanitary.
- Digital apps track the user, time and location of each sign-off, so it’s easy to see who checked off each task at which location and when. There’s no way for employees to game the system by back-dating completions.
- Managers get instant notification when tasks are done so they can stay on top of the situation if someone is slacking off. These real-time updates are especially useful for essential procedures that impact safety and sanitation.
- Managers in charge of multiple locations don’t have to be onsite to ensure checklist tasks are done on time and correctly.
- In addition to signing off a task, employees can post photos of work done. Or if they can’t complete a task for some reason, they can post a photo of the problem or input a comment. Because managers see the updates instantly, they can respond and fix any issues. Photos are especially helpful for employees who struggle with written communication.
- Digital checklists keep records so you can track how well and how often each one is completed and identify any areas for improvement. Managers or corporate leaders get real-time reports for a location, an individual user, a region or the entire chain. And they can view performance data over time to see if compliance has improved or declined.
- With data reports, management can set employee goals and incentives for meeting target completion rates. Fun rewards, like a trophy, a coveted parking spot, or a highlight on the company internal page, can motivate employees to work toward targets.
- One app manages multiple checklists so rather than keeping different pieces of paper for each area, employees can access them all from one device.
- Not every location has identical needs. Customized checklists can be created for special circumstances at individual stores without adding paperwork to burden management
- If a checklist changes, the manager can update it and push it immediately to all employees at all locations, so no one is working from old procedures.
- Managers can break up long digital checklists into several short ones. People are more focused when working on lists with just a few tasks. Completing one list gives workers a sense of accomplishment that motivates them to tackle the next job. Breaking long lists into smaller ones also lowers anxiety and improves overall performance.
- When managers get notifications that a checklist is done, they can increase worker satisfaction and engagement by sending a text thanking the employee for their effort or congratulating them on timely completion. The extra positive attention encourages people to keep giving their best and demonstrates their work is important to the company.
- Apps are cool. Paper is so un-cool.
If you haven’t joined the digital revolution yet, there’s still time. Today’s checklist applications are simple to implement and boast some pretty incredible features. Take that clipboard off the bathroom door and write yourself one last reminder: “Get a digital checklist app . . . and take those chewed up pens away.”
To learn how you can replace the outdated paper checklist with a more effective digital version, request a demo with a MeazureUp expert today.