What do you think of when someone asks you about productivity killers at work? Private surfing, extensive small talk at the coffee machine, unnecessary meetings or unnecessary queries from colleagues or superiors?
What really eats up a lot of employee hours is the management of documents: filing them, searching them again, Collecting suggestions for changes from colleagues, sending them back and forth, having them signed – that often adds up to a few employee hours. It’s inefficient and steals time for more important things. And: If important documents such as contracts or draft texts hang in internal loops for too long, in the worst case, even deals or submission deadlines are broken. This can directly or indirectly cost business contacts and sales – because it does not look professional if, for example, as a PR agency you inadvertently send out the non-final version of a press release to the customer or it takes three weeks to put two signatures on a contract .
In this respect, it makes sense to put existing document management workflows to the test. But where do you start? Here you will find summarized a few challenges that your new workflow has to master.
Who doesn’t know it: You write a text, put it somewhere digitally. Two days later you look at it again, make a few changes and save the text under a new file name. It could be that you want to go back to the old version or even continue working on both versions. Maybe you throw the files in a cloud storage, maybe they stay in a local folder. It is particularly tricky when several end devices are used and at some point it is unclear whether all versions are in one place or whether the one you are looking for is only locally on the device that you – according to Murphy’s Law – do not have with you . And if the filing system is inconsistent, after two weeks at the latest you no longer know where what was actually stored.
The real mess starts when you search for the most recent Version takes longer than actual editing. What you can do about it:
- A uniform system for filing and naming documents – on and offline – use or develop.
- Digitally prefer to work on a file and use tools that allow archiving, viewing and restoring enable previous versions. Less is more, is the motto.
- Rely on device and location-independent access in order to remain flexible. Cloud applications are ideal for this and also enable you to work on the move.
Collaboration among colleagues and assignment of responsibilities
Anyone who does not work their project alone, but is on the road in a team, is also faced with the challenge that the colleagues naturally all want to see what you see. Be it a finished text that a customer sends you for review, or be it a draft contract that your team should develop together. And of course, input and feedback have to be collected and incorporated somewhere. Perhaps, in order to meet tight schedules, the work on a document was even split up, which ultimately means that several parts have to be joined together. And who ultimately decides which document should be the final one, has to be determined.
So how do you get the situation under control so that the cooperation works harmoniously and efficiently?
- It should be clear from the start who is responsible. Who creates or reviews what? Who does the final approval and sends the document? Who can incorporate new information and changes independently and who should post their suggestions as a comment first?
- Set a location on which all comments and change requests are collected – regardless of which devices the colleagues are working on.
- Take care of it that one works in as few different documents as possible. Even as a lone warrior, this is confusing – if none of five people knows what they have already commented or changed and whether they have even seen the latest version, absolute chaos breaks out. Here, too, cloud solutions can help.
- If your team still needs background information when processing the respective document, this only are available analogously, you should scan these documents in order to make them equally available to everyone.
Involvement of external parties
It gets even more demanding if documents have to be sent to external parties for feedback or approval purposes. Because they may use completely different file formats and tools – and have different guidelines to follow, for example with regard to the use of cloud services. In addition, you may want to assign different rights to customers or partners than to colleagues. The whole thing shouldn’t get too complicated, especially for customers – after all, you want to give them a good experience.
Sounds complicated? Not if you pay attention to a few things:
- Lay out the documents in such a way that they are intuitive can be edited – for example by simply filling out the form or using a self-explanatory comment function. This works very well, especially with PDF.
- At the latest, when you regularly send documents back and forth with external parties, it offers to use a tool to avoid mail ping-pong. Only work with tools that meet the highest security and data protection guidelines and can therefore also be used by your partners without hesitation.
- Work with file or document types that are known to all partners and customers as far as possible.
- It is practical if you know the document status can see live. In this way you can ensure that everything goes on schedule without constantly asking customers or partners.
- Use file formats and Tools that enable you to redact sensitive information in documents that external parties should not (yet) see.
Sure, the long copy that the agency sends out to its client she doesn’t necessarily need, nor does she usually need the press release – the employment contract for the new graphic colleague or the order approval for the complex image video production does. We are talking about a signature. Sometimes there are even several. And there are often fixed sequences and processes behind them. But what if the contact persons are at different locations?
This is how you get a grip on the hustle and bustle of signatures:
- Especially as a freelancer, but also in small agencies where you don’t have a back office with x employees behind you, it can be time-consuming to convert documents between digital and analog time and again and sent by post for signature. In principle, digital signatures can also be legally binding – which can save you a lot of time. Rely on a tool that has integrated authentication steps into its processes to always be on the safe side.
- Often do you need more than one signature on a document. If you get them in parallel – which is possible digitally – you save time and nerves again.
- Are there document types that you come across again and again and that have to be signed by the same people? Then create templates and define fixed workflows to become even more efficient.
Let us help you! Adobe supports you in handling your documents
Acrobat Pro DC and Adobe Document Cloud make your office life easier. Because with Acrobat Pro DC you can edit, comment and share PDF documents across multiple devices and users. The range of functions is significantly larger than you might think and continues to grow. For example, you can compare PDF documents, convert existing forms into fillable forms, edit data in scanned tables and activate usage rights or assign passwords. E-mail ping pong and file battles are no longer necessary: You have extensive opportunities to get feedback from your colleagues and to work together on a document. Thanks to existing integrations (e.g. Microsoft Office 365) you can easily convert various documents into PDF files. Changes to PDF documents are also easily possible with Acrobat Pro DC. This applies to texts, images and tables – but also entire pages that you can delete, rotate or rearrange. And not only on the computer, but also on the go on the tablet or smartphone. So you can work with Acrobat Pro DC wherever you want, what you want and with whom you want.
Approve and have PDF documents signed? No problem! The Adobe Document Cloud ensures perfect integration into existing workflows and tools. And if getting signatures is part of your daily business, you can get help with Adobe Sign: With just a few clicks, a document is prepared and sent for electronic signature. Signature and return can happen on the same day and from any device – while you can track the status completely transparently. Electronic signatures from Adobe Sign are legally valid and enforceable, so that everything can be verified without gaps, all transactions are carefully checked, logged and archived. Creating self-service forms? Check! Easy creation of signature workflows? That too! Integration into existing applications? Of course. Adaptability to your corporate identity? Anyway.
So what are you waiting for? Create space for things that you enjoy and generate more revenue!
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You want more tips on how to make processes easier and thus more time for your can shovel free real tasks? Then read the other articles from the topic special Fluffiger Workflows=more space for creativity from Adobe!