Even if a company wanted to stamp out creativity in their workforce, it would be nearly impossible to do. People have a way of developing creativity even within strict constraints.
Have you ever looked at pictures of women’s hairstyles during World War II? Fabric, clothing, and shoes were strictly rationed, and many women resigned themselves to having dull wardrobes, but they focused a lot of creativity on their hair instead. Similarly, some people find themselves unable to produce poetry unless they’re given a specific type of poem with a prescribed rhythm and rhyme scheme to follow.
There’s no need to think of workflows as the enemy of creativity in the workplace. When they’re well-designed, automated workflows can flow in parallel to the flow of creativity. Here’s how to make workflows facilitate creativity.
Don’t Ignore Bad Workflows
While good workflows can enable creativity to flourish, bad workflows squash both creativity and team morale. Workflows that were ideal two or five years ago may be all wrong for today. If people complain about unwieldy workflows with illogical steps and needless bottlenecks, listen. Sometimes malfunctioning workflows can be changed so they work well again. Other times, they need to be scrapped and redone completely. But there is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost by having workflows that are out of date, poorly constructed, or needlessly complicated.
Eliminate Duplicated Effort
One of the greatest benefits of online forms (let alone automated workflows) is how much duplicated effort is eliminated. If someone completes an online request form, the information entered doesn’t have to be re-entered somewhere else. Yes, there is the small risk of error propagation throughout a workflow if information is entered wrong initially, but many, if not most, errors can be prevented through good user instructions and fail-safes built into online forms.
Help Everyone See the Big Picture
With workflows, there is a risk of people having a myopic view of things and only seeing their part in the process. However, automated workflows can be designed to improve transparency and allow all workflow participants to better understand the importance of their contribution. When someone writes a report and submits it seemingly into a black hole, never to be seen again, they feel invisible. But when they can see that it’s being edited, that graphics are being added, and that the final product has been printed, they are reminded why they do what they do, and how they contribute to overall team functioning.
Tailor Workflows to Encourage Collaboration
Smart workflows enable better collaboration. In the days when a completed paper form was left in someone’s inbox or on their desk, collaboration wasn’t as easy. With automated workflows, however, it’s different. Now, for example, the online forms that are used in automated workflows can include things like diversions and alerts to other process participants. Maybe someone preparing a report for a client remembers a particularly fetching graphic or table someone else created for another purpose. The workflow could allow that person to be notified that their participation would be beneficial.
Workflow transparency in itself can encourage collaboration by encouraging people participating in processes to see the big picture and watch a process unfold into its full potential. Ultimately, workflows aren’t about constraining people, but about maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of what they do. And when people know they’re not wasting effort on mundane but necessary tasks, they’re freer to make the most of their unique contribution to the team.
PerfectApps empowers users to create pixel-perfect online forms and sleek automated workflows without having to know programming. The intuitive, drag-and-drop interface ensures that the people who use the workflows can have maximum input into their design. The forms and workflows created with PerfectApps reduce or eliminate duplicated effort, and allow complete transparency into the workflow process for authorized users. Did you know you can try PerfectApps for free? Sign up for a free trial and you can discover for yourself how outstanding forms and workflows take your business operation to a higher level.