TRAINING YOUR CLERK TO PERFORM DIGITAL TASKS
I already emphasised on the importance of CBPH in documents’ digitization. It is impractical to work on digital files without CPBH. Apart from CPBH, various traditional clerical tasks can also be efficiently performed digitally. For this purpose, your clerk should learn to perform these tasks on a daily basis.
Clerks’ tendency to desist any new work is well known. “Humse na hopayega” (We cannot do it) is the standard response from a clerk when he is asked to learn any new skill or perform different task. This resistance is even more so when you ask them to perform something on a computer.
Before the clerks who read this post construe me as insensitive, let me clarify that my intention is only to stress on the practical problems during digitization process. I do understand that most clerks are not well conversant with computers and perform to the best of their ability.
However, a team is only as strong as its weakest player. Therefore, unless you gear up your clerk to perform digitisation tasks, no meaningful digitisation of your office can be achieved on a long term basis.
This post provides 5 reasons to motivate your clerk to voluntarily perform CPBH and other digital clerical processes:
1. Digital methods are not Rocket Science
A PDF editing software to perform digital clerical processes (such as Adobe Acrobat) is no difficult than other software your clerk already uses.
In fact, most PDF editing software have very simple user interface. Make your clerk understand (and visualise) that the software is only an electronic method to perform the same task which they perform physically.
For example, if your clerk is given several annexures for filing. He has to collate them and page number them physically. In a digital process, the software’s tools are used to perform the same function.
2. Digital methods also take less time and effort
Digital methods take less time and effort than physical methods. The following instances may be noted:
It roughly takes 30 minutes to collate the annexures and write the running page numbering in a 1000-page file. However, the whole process only takes seconds in a PDF editing software.
If there is any mistake in page numbering using traditional method, your clerk has to erase page numbering on each page with a whitener and renumber the whole set. This process will only take seconds in digital process; one only needs to refresh the page numbering in the header section.
If properly analysed, every digital clerical process takes less time and effort than respective traditional clerical process.
You might question about extra time required for scanning which otherwise is absent in a physical process.
However, please note that scanning is anyway performed even in traditional methods because court filing requires multiple sets. After an initial set is prepared through physical process, the clerk has to photocopy the original set. Photocopying is nothing but scanning and reprinting.
It does not take any longer to scan initially and conduct the clerical processes than first perform the clerical processes and then scan (which is obvious in the process of photocopying).
Please note that only the clerical process is being digitised. Scanning and printing are unavoidable even in traditional methods.
3. Digital methods will eventually let your clerk work remotely
By Office 4.0, you will explore methods to operate a complete virtual office. A full virtual setup enables everyone to perform all their daily tasks wherever they are, including clerical staff.
If your clerk slowly transitions to digital methods, he will eventually reap as much advantage as an advocate in the whole process. Like IT employees, your clerk can also opt to work from home without affecting daily work in office.
Complete virtualisation can also offer multifarious synergies. A single clerk can perform digital processes of many offices. 4 or 5 young lawyers can employ a common clerk or a common stenographer. More on this topic will be dealt with in Office 4.0.
4. There will be less scope for error
Digital methods also reduce the chance of human error. When your clerk habitually performs all his tasks digitally, the chance of error will be greatly reduced.
5. Take it slow
Do not expect your clerk to learn all methods overnight. Give them sufficient time to practice before they are expected to perform these tasks on main files.
Cultivating a voluntary inclination towards digital methods in your clerical staff is a time consuming and arduous process.
Unless your clerk comfortably performs all digital tasks, you will not be able to explore all advantages of digitization. Therefore, it is important to properly train your clerk in your journey towards digitisation.
Despite the above, if you feel that your existing clerk is not up for the task, please refer to the post on sustaining a digital office after initial set-up post for an alternative approach.