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A Guide To Time Saving Strategies For Local Governments 

By Mary Malcolm

In the traditional office work space, employees spend upwards of 8 hours at a desk tasked with repetitive work and paper-based workflows. Research suggests that, on average, an employee wastes 7.5 hours a week browsing social media, or about 360 hours a year. This is not necessarily to suggest that employees are lazy or uninterested in their work, perhaps it is more indicative of needed change in the way offices operate. 

Outdated software and technology can incur significant financial losses for companies and organizations, with U.S. businesses reportedly losing up to 1.8 billion USD annually due to obsolete technology. As devices age, system software also becomes outdated, leading to lags, reduced productivity, and increased maintenance needs. This issue is particularly concerning for government agencies, as their ability to prioritize constituents depends on efficient equipment and processes. 

This article aims to guide government agencies towards time-saving strategies to better serve their constituents with maximum efficiency. Read on to learn all about our time saving strategies and best tips in this article!

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What Are Time Savings In Office Workflows?

"Time savings" in an office workflow refers to the time conserved when tasks, processes, or activities are able to be automated or made more efficient. In a local government office setting these tasks may be data entry, permit and license approvals, or communication between departments. Think of how much time you spend at work every day, stuck in work silos and waiting for slow processes to be completed so you can move onto the next steps of your job.

As these monotonous and manual tasks are delegated to the appropriate softwares or platforms, procedures are improved and organization becomes a breeze. This, in turn, results in time saved for the staff that may be better spent on more important tasks and projects. Offices who prioritize time-saving strategies demonstrate their respect for employee’s time and prove their dedication to innovation. 

Learn more about Public Sector Robotic Process Automation and Workflow Automation For Governments here.   

What Are Common Time-Wasters In Most Offices? 

When considering how to save time in an office workflow, one’s mind may go to cutting corners or increasing pressure from upper management to boost productivity. While this may temporarily produce an increase in workflow, you may find that you are treating a symptom rather than the condition.

1. Bureaucratic Processes

Local government offices may find themselves victim to the slow pace of bureaucratic processes. Bureaucratic processes are constructed of several layers of approvals, documentations, and regulations that produces a complexity that is difficult to navigate and oftentimes a time waster. Due to the several departments that may need to approve what may be a simple decision, projects are left in limbo waiting for their green light as departments drag their feet. These unnecessary barriers, inefficiencies, and delays create an imposition for all parties involved, likely halting initiatives ultimately at the detriment to the community. 

Consider our guide to 3 Reasons to Automate Your Government Processes here! 

2. Excessive Paperwork 

Over-reliance on paper-based workflows leads to delays and disorganization. Unfortunate county and city clerks have to spend countless hours sifting through documents and paper notes to track down the information they need. Transitioning to online, digital workflows eliminates the need for manual filing, storing, and securing of physical paperwork, freeing up valuable time for administrative staff. Cloud-based software securely stores and organizes documents, while allowing constituents to submit forms online saves both their travel time and administrative resources.

Curious about the Cloud? Read more about What The Cloud Can Do For You here. 

3. Excessive In-Person Meetings

In a pre-pandemic world, in-person meetings and events were most common, as no logical alternative was at the ready. Quarantine life in 2020 equipped society with stand-in substitutes for our everyday needs. This, of course, includes classes, workshops and in-person meetings. Due to the convenience offered by these digital meeting platforms, many have opted to keep with them, greatly reducing the need for in-person meetings and transitioning to the more flexible option: digital meetings.

Transitioning to a primarily online space is hard, learn to guide yourself through these challenges with our resource. 

4. Slow Interdepartmental Communication 

Similar to the frustration felt in the torpid bureaucratic processes, interdepartmental communications are slow moving and are frequent contributors to long wait times in project completion. Departments face difficulty in coordination and effective communication as tasks move their way through the necessary parties that are needed for project completion. As papers get lost or stuck in a queue behind higher prioritized matters, constituents are left waiting and estimated completion dates continue to extend. 

5. Request and Permit Approval Processes 

As projects and businesses submit their paperwork for permits, licenses, and applications, they may find themselves standing by for approval much longer than they anticipated. So long as these processes depend on physical paperwork, employees must go through these forms manually, inspecting for all necessary information and screening for any potential error that may result in a denial of request. In this era of technological innovation, this sort of manual work has been made obsolete and effectively a time waster for government staff. 

Curious How Does Permitting Software Work? Improve Your Local Government's Workflows with our resources! 

6. Technology Limitations

In order to take full advantage of all the modern era of technology has to offer, the office must be properly equipped with the right technology. Outdated and inadequate technology infrastructure works actively against productivity that could be expedited by updated software. Without modern tools, tasks become far more time-consuming than necessary and create an avoidable backlog.  

Just think about how often you have sat in front of a computer watching a loading screen, or waiting in a phone cue for hours. So many processes in your municipality can be streamlined with the most updated technology, and that’s why you should look into emerging technology solutions for 2024. 

Consider Embracing and Managing A Younger Generation In the Local Government Workforce here. 

7. Staffing Constraints

Government agencies may face challenges during times of budgetary constraints or hiring freezes that may lead to a reduction in staff members. The loss of people on staff creates a greater workload for the remaining staff members, likely creating even lengthier, superfluous, wait times for community members and project completions. When workers are overwhelmed, they often let important deadlines and even the quality of their work slip. Freeing up employees schedules with process automation will lighten their burden. 

Learn how GovPilot’s Administration Software can automate these processes here!

Why Is Saving Time Important For Municipal Offices? 

Time-saving strategies help an office operatie at maximum efficiency, while taking employees time and schedule into account. Learn more about why to prioritize time savings in your government office below:

  • Improved Efficiency 

Saving time is crucial for efficiency in any operation, allowing resources to be allocated more effectively for increased productivity. Time savings enable employees to focus on higher-value tasks, such as problem-solving and innovation, rather than repetitive ones. Moreover, efficiency gains enhance customer satisfaction through faster response times and smoother service delivery. Overall, saving time streamlines operations, boosts morale, fosters innovation, and drives organizational success.

Learn How Government Management Software Can Improve The Efficiency of Municipal Offices here!

  • Protects Employees From Burnout

Streamlining processes reduces task completion time, enabling employees to maintain a healthier work-life balance and avoid stress and fatigue. With less pressure to meet deadlines or handle heavy workloads, employees have more time for well-being activities, fostering resilience. These time-saving measures safeguard employees from burnout, creating a positive work environment that boosts job satisfaction and retention rates.

Prioritize a Local Government Employee Appreciation Strategy and Employee Retention Tips with our resource! 

  • Constituents Receive Services & Help Faster

By optimizing processes and reducing administrative delays, government agencies and service providers can expedite the delivery of essential services to those in need. Time-saving measures such as digital platforms for applications and approvals streamline the service delivery process, enabling quicker responses to requests and inquiries. Additionally, efficient time management allows staff to allocate more resources towards addressing constituent needs, resulting in faster resolutions to issues and a higher level of satisfaction among the community. 

Read our guide on Addressing Challenges Governments Face Moving to an Online Capacity.

7 Time-Saving Tips For Your Government Office 

Follow these time-savings tips to experience maximized productivity and efficiency in your local government office:

1. Utilize GovPilot Government Management Software 

Government management software works to consolidate time and effort placed into searching through varying modules when trying to complete pertinent forms attributed to projects. As a unified platform, processes are streamlined and directly allocated to necessary departments. 

For example, permitting software  automates permitting processes through the demanded various departments. Following the implementation of the automated permitting system, Sea Girt, NJ, experienced a significant 66% reduction in the time allocated to discussing applications with requesters and other departments. This decrease was largely attributed to the majority of applicants being able to independently file through the online platform. 

For further insights into their digital permitting transformation, delve into the Sea Girt Construction Department Case Study

2. Streamline Common Processes

By eliminating repetitive, redundant steps found within existing workflows, organizations are effectively reducing administrative overhead and maximizing efficiency. Additionally, moving the forms onto online forums alleviates clerks from the overwhelming burden of excessive paperwork that slows approval processes. Online forms can even be simplified by assessing what is instrumental to the form and what can be left blank.

Streamlining processes means ensuring that the least amount of roadblocks pop up when working on projects. The amount of time needed to complete tasks is lessened whereas the amount of work that can be accomplished is maximized. Check out GovPilot’s software solutions page to learn more!

Curious How GovInspect Software Can Streamline Local Government Inspection Workflows? Learn more here!

3. Implement Automated Solutions 

Modern technology and software systems address flaws in traditional workflows, automating tasks to free up employee time for community-focused initiatives. Manual data entry, file organization, and storage are now streamlined and automated, simplifying processes and ensuring secure storage and easy access to files. AI is a modern solution being implemented into offices to automate tasks that once took employees hours of time and effort, look into Artificial Intelligence and What It Can Do For Your Office!

Read our guide on The Key To Managing Annual Licensing Renewals on Your Government Website!

4. Utilize The Cloud 

The cloud acts as a haven for all files and data that an organization or agency receives and must maintain. The Cloud works in tandem with online forums and automated solutions, saving, filing, and storing all submitted forms and applications. The cloud exists exclusively online, making all stored files readily accessible to authorized parties from anywhere with internet access. This universal access creates ease for government workers as they are able to access info and data 24/7. 

Learn How Local Governments Can & Should Use the Cloud here. 

5. Set Clear Priorities 

With a better understanding of the role they play, departments are able to concentrate on their specific contributions to projects. Not only does this relieve potential stressors via the reduction of assumed duties, but it eliminates repeat work as forms travel between different departments. When departments are able to centralize their efforts with more uniformity, projects will see a reduction in wait times as people may complete their assigned duties with minimized confusion. Make sure your local government refines your local core values and informs all employees of the overall goals they are working towards in their public sector work. 

Learn all about our Municipal Planning Strategy for Local Governments here.

6. Reduce In-Person Meeting Times

Innovative technology makes recurring in-person meetings a significant time drain. According to a survey of 182 senior managers, 65% found meetings impeded their work completion, with 71% deeming them unproductive. Leaders should carefully consider the necessity of in-person meetings and use pre-set agendas to ensure relevance and efficiency, keeping meeting times reasonable.

How Can Improved Local Public Transportation Make For An Easy Commute? Read on!

7. Encourage Flexible Work Arrangements

Telecommuting and flexible hours save employees valuable time by eliminating daily commutes. Working remotely avoids rush hour traffic, freeing up time for tasks or personal activities. Moreover, flexible schedules optimize productivity and job satisfaction by allowing employees to work during their most productive hours.

Learn how Hybrid Government Work Culture is the Future of Government Employment and how to implement it into your government here. 

Implement These Time Saving Strategies Into Your Municipality

Local government officials should leverage GovPilot software to streamline operations, saving time and allocating funds efficiently. Embracing digital transformation with GovPilot offers significant improvements in service delivery and resource management. Book a consultation today to embark on a more effective and digitally empowered governance journey.

Office Time-Saver FAQs 

  • What makes time saving important in government? 

Time saving is crucial in government to optimize resource allocation, enhance productivity, and ensure efficient service delivery to constituents, ultimately leading to improved governance and citizen satisfaction. Embracing digital transformation is the way to operate more efficiently and effectively in your government office. 

  • Why does government management software increase time-savings?

Government management software increases time savings by automating repetitive tasks, streamlining workflows, and providing easy access to information, allowing government officials to work more efficiently and allocate their time to higher-priority tasks. Read our guide on Boosting Revenue for Your Local Government here. 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, GovTech