By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
The holiday season is a joyous — and busy — time of year. Small business owners barely have enough hours in the day at the best of times, and all the added socializing, gift-buying, and year-end deadlines can be enough to put you and your team over the edge.
Thankfully, it’s possible to make this season less “humbug” and more “happy holidays!” Here are three ways to give yourself and your employees the gift of time.
1. Automate stressful, time-consuming tasks
If buying gifts for family and friends is on your to-do list this season, save time by purchasing presents online. Online retailers are going all-out this year with free shipping, fast delivery, and tons of other perks that make it easier than ever to do all your shopping from the comfort of your couch. You can even have groceries for holiday dinners and parties delivered to your home.
Shopping isn’t the only thing that can be streamlined using digital tools. Are you still using whiteboards, clipboards, or endless email chains to alert employees of their schedules and notify them of last-minute changes? Cloud-based time tracking and employee scheduling software will buy back all the time you currently spend on this chore.
Some employers spend up to 12 hours a week on the employee schedule. Don’t you have better things to do with those hours? Your employees will also appreciate spending less time worrying about whether they have the latest schedule update.
2. Multitask while you’re mobile
Of course, you can’t eliminate errands entirely, especially not at this time of year. However, even if you have to step out of the office to mail a package or pick up a last-minute gift, you can still keep tabs on your employees and their schedules. A mobile time tracking and scheduling app gives you access to everything in the palm of your hand, so you’re not confined to an office.
With TSheets, for example, you can revise employee schedules and alert workers to the changes from your mobile device. And instead of stepping away from the holiday gathering to check their emails or call in for their schedules, employees can get push notifications or text messages on their smartphones.
You can even use the TSheets “Who’s Working” window to check if employees are actually clocked in when and where they’re supposed to be. Are you stuck in line at the shopping mall across town from your business? No worries. TSheets can alert you if an employee fails to clock in for their shift. Quickly contact a manager or a replacement worker using your mobile device. Problem solved.
3. Get a grip on your apps
The multitude of apps designed for small business owners makes life easier in some ways and more complicated in others. Over time, you may end up relying on different apps that don’t play well together. This slows down productivity and creates unnecessary work.
Save yourself and your team time and headaches by selecting business apps that integrate directly with the apps you already use. For example, TSheets integrates with popular business solutions such as QuickBooks, Square, ADP, Expensify, and more. Simply syncing employee timesheets with QuickBooks Online can save tons of time. There’s no need to manually enter employee hours worked, paid time off, or other time tracking information. TSheets helps eliminate data entry errors to improve payroll accuracy and speed.
Employees can save time, too, when they don’t have to double-check their pay stubs and ask your accounting department to correct payroll mistakes or issue new checks. With automated tools and faster processes, your team can take time off for the holidays and feel confident their PTO is being tracked accurately.
Time is the one thing no one ever has enough of. Why not give yourself and your employees the gift of time this year?
Rieva Lesonsky is the CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for free TrendCast reports.