Administrative work isn’t the most glamorous part of business, but it’s important for long-term success. Even simple tasks like data entry and project management keep employees motivated, on task and compliant with any regulations.

Particularly at large companies, administrative work can become overwhelming. Tasks like event planning, billing and data analysis sometimes require a large amount of time and energy. To avoid issues with productivity, data or payroll, many companies look for opportunities to streamline their administrative tasks.

What is administrative work?

Administrative work includes a variety of tasks that help businesses operate effectively. These tasks often include bookkeeping, inventory management and internal communications — all responsibilities that keep companies organized on a day-to-day basis.

Anyone who handles administrative work understands how important it is. You’ll communicate with virtually every department — from HR to IT to company executives — helping to handle many of the processes that keep your business running well. You’ll have a strong role to play in allocating resources, solving major company problems and making decisions that directly address client needs.

Even if your company has a team to handle administrative duties, tasks can quickly pile up. Data entry alone is sometimes a full-time job. Add general office management, inventory management and appointment scheduling, and these duties quickly create internal bottlenecks. Reducing these bottlenecks through automation, digitization, communication and task management software can help reduce costs and keep employees on top of their deadlines.

Automate processes where possible

Automation technology can help businesses in a number of ways, from simplifying daily workloads to intelligently designing large projects. Administrative processes can be particularly time consuming, but advanced software tools can save a lot of bandwidth for employees by automating repetitive tasks. Many opportunities for automation and digitization are discussed in the following sections, but administrators should also keep in mind how technology can accelerate work throughout a company’s entire value chain.

For example, intelligent design software can speed up the details of product design or construction planning and can improve results over traditional methods. A relevant use case comes from the energy sector, where AutoCAD-based tools save time by automating many of the calculations needed for engineering solar panel arrays and power plants.

Though this example won’t apply to every type of business, all administrators should consider how industry-specific software can reduce workloads and elevate performance for their teams.

Digitize documents

Digitizing your documents is another way to reduce administrative workload. Instead of printing reports, itineraries and invoices on paper, send digital copies straight to employee inboxes. This helps reduce waste and can help deliver documents directly to anyone in the company.

You’ll also be able to search through documents more efficiently after you digitize them. Using keywords or a “find on page” function, you can quickly sift through documents in search of specific information. This allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for in a document, instead of reading through each printed page manually.

While some documents must be printed for legal purposes, many others can be digitized and sent directly. For example, employers can send performance reports to their employees without ever printing them. Vendors can complete and sign supplier contracts digitally. Even financial statements — from employee pay stubs to quarterly balance sheets — can be digitized for quick analysis on a computer.

Streamline communication

Ineffective communication can create a slow death for any company. It leads to missed deadlines and deep frustration, particularly when there’s a communication breakdown between administrators and employees. Just as easily, streamlined communication reduces the administrative workload and prevents simple errors.

It’s the role of company administrators to find the most effective channels for communication. For remote companies, that might mean using digital messaging communication channels like Slack and video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams. At an in-person workplace, streamlining communications might look like a regular departmental meeting for updates and information sharing.

Review your business processes regularly

Administrative tasks can evolve. New technology, changes to compliance requirements, and shifting customer expectations can introduce new administrative tasks and make others obsolete. This forces administrators to abandon traditional duties and learn new best practices, which reduces their efficiency.

To avoid these slowdowns, it’s important to regularly review your administrative practices. Audit the way you keep records, pay employees, communicate and perform other business tasks. This helps pinpoint opportunities for admins to improve. It also highlights areas where technology can make your company more efficient.

Outdated administrative tasks aren’t only damaging to productivity; they can also cost you extra money and resources. Finding opportunities to cut costs in utilities, resources or programs is an important step in long-term business success, especially when navigating economic uncertainty in your business strategy.

Utilize task management software

Between bookkeeping, billing and other tasks, administrators are often asked to handle more than one task at once. Task management software can make that job easier, helping administrators automate portions of daily workflows and save time for managing important details.

With so many responsibilities, administrators sometimes have problems deciding where to start. Effective task management software also helps you properly prioritize tasks. Many software programs even allow you to assign a priority level to each task, based on its urgency, deadline and other contributors.

Programs like Asana and Wrike make project management easy, allowing you to assign responsibilities to individual contributors. These platforms store the details of each administrative assignment in the cloud, keeping details secure and saving on printing costs. They also allow you to share projects with stakeholders for greater visibility within a company.

Optimize your employee training

Internal training is an important component of employee satisfaction and retention. Properly trained employees handle tasks efficiently and take greater pride in their work. By contrast, poorly trained employees can increase an administrator’s workload, especially if tasks must be fixed or entirely re-done.

Employee training can also make workers more adaptable to change. Particularly in rapidly changing industries like technology, education and finance, training is sometimes important just to keep employees ahead of the learning curve. This keeps your employees, and your entire company, competitive in your space.

Choose employee training programs based on their needs. For example, digital tools training can show employees how technology can help them save time and company resources. Project management training can teach employees, and administrators, how to own each stage of the project management process. Leadership training gives employees skills in conflict resolution and confident decision-making.