The Cost of Waiting: 7 Reasons To Implement Boarding Management Software Right Now

When it comes to boarding management, the majority of boarding schools around the world are still using pen and paper, spreadsheets, google docs, email or some clunky legacy software.

And most of them have been using the same tools and processes for centuries. It’s just how things have always been for years. It’s the status quo.

But is it really the best option for your school today?

The problem about sticking with the status quo is that it doesn’t feel like it costs you anything.

When in reality, the status quo could be costing you more than you think.

So while it may seem cheaper and easier to stick with your current boarding processes, the truth is that there are many challenges and hidden costs you could be paying for without your knowledge.

In this post, I’m going to tell you 7 ways the status quo is costing you and how an effective boarding management system can help you overcome those costs.

.cost-of-time

1. Costing you time

One of the biggest challenges in boarding is keeping track of all your student activities. Things like processing weekend leave and exeats, managing sign-out sheets and performing roll checks are all required daily tasks that actually take up a big chunk of your time.

We surveyed boarding schools from around the world and found that schools spend up to 12 hours every week processing weekend leave alone.

With 15 hour work days becoming common for many boarding staff, time is quickly becoming your most valuable asset. So it is more important than ever to manage your time wisely.

Instead of being buried in paperwork and spreadsheets, boarding staff should be using their time take advantage of their natural skill-set to engage and help their students thrive in a boarding environment.

So how can you reduce the amount of time required to management processes?

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

Streamlined leave processes, integrated communications and custom workflows will transform your management tasks into highly efficient processes.

Boarding management software offers a new way of doing things that removes the painful back-and-forth steps when organising student leave, eliminates the need to manually check and update attendance records and offers instant, real-time access to all your student data.

In fact, according to our recent survey, we found that Boardingware has helped to increase the overall efficiency of boarding processes by an average of 59.07%.

2. Costing you money

As discussed previously, manual boarding processes require a lot of time and manual labour to manage, and as we all know, time is money!

While it may feel cheaper to use pen and paper or spreadsheets, the reality is that the cost of labour isn’t cheap. Especially if you need to have full-time staff dedicated to maintaining your administration.

But not only does the status quo cost a lot to run, but it also means you lose out on some big opportunities to save money.

You see, manual processes involved with the status quo make it difficult for you to use your data to forecast and cut costs in areas such as catering or transport.

For instance, a vast majority of boarding schools are wasting food everyday and most of this is due to the catering team not knowing how many students will be attending each meal.

If you can make your boarding processes increasingly cost efficient to operate, you’ll be able to make better use of your budget, and if you’re also able to prove that you’re saving the school money, you’ll have a good chance of increasing your budget for the next school year.

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

The beauty of simple boarding management software is that it doesn’t require a full-time employee to manage it. If the system is intuitively designed, it will be able to operate autonomously with your staff performing tasks and updating information as they need to.

This means you can re-purpose your staff to other areas of boarding where they can have a greater impact on your student’s personal development.

Plus, accurate meal time forecasts help you to cut costs with food waste and valuable insights into your boarding activities help you to understand what’s happening so you can constantly optimise your processes for greater efficiency.

Download our ROI calculator to find out exactly how much time and money you could be saving with Boardingware

tracking-students

3. Hindering your ability to keep track of your students

Student accountability. It’s arguably your most important responsibility in boarding.

Schools are making big promises to parents to guarantee that their children will be safe and always accounted, and parents expect and trust you to deliver on that promise to a high standard.

The problem is that keeping track of where all your students are is really tough when you have to rely on paper-based processes, spreadsheets or clunky legacy systems.

Paper-based processes are static, storage heavy, difficult to update and access, and easily damaged. Here are 7 alarming ways paper is hurting your boarding processes

And spreadsheets or other clunky systems can be confusing, difficult-to-use, risky and inaccurate. Here are 8 signs you’ve reached the limit of spreadsheets in boarding

What’s more, with the increasing pressure for better accountability records, adopting the “everything will be fine” attitude won’t cut it anymore.

So while things may seem find for now, all it takes is one crisis to turn your world upside down. If a crisis occurs and you can’t prove that you’ve been actively accounting for your students, you and your school could end up facing big legal challenges and a PR nightmare.

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

From a security standpoint, the most important thing about student accountability is the ability to have quick access to accurate information, and boarding management software that operates in the cloud is capable of doing just that.

With Boardingware, you get a real-time view of where all your students are that can be instantly accessed from any device, anywhere, anytime.

And in case of emergency situations, boarding staff can use our exclusive live roll checks. Live rolls allow you to invite multiple staff members to a single roll check to help you account for students faster.

With a proper system for keeping track of your students in place, you can confidently ensure that everyone is accounted for and give parents a sense of security that their children are in safe hands.

4. Damaging relationships with parents

For a parent, sending your child away to boarding school can be a stressful time. After all, it’s natural for parents to worry about their children – Will they be safe? How are they coping with life in boarding? Are they happy? When can they come home for the weekend?

So one of the biggest challenges for you is to maintain a healthy relationship with parents by keeping them informed with what is happening.

The problem is that parents can be quite invasive at times, especially helicopter parents. How many calls, texts, emails and voice messages do you get from parents everyday? How many times have you had to wake up in the middle of the night to answer a call from a parent on the other side of the world.

This broken process of back and forth communication is chaotic and increasingly disruptive for everyone. And although parents may not like interrupting your day with a phone call, the reality is that they don’t have any other alternative.

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

Boarding management software adds a layer of transparency to your boarding community like never before. Because it operates in the cloud, parents are able to login to their account and access important information about their children whenever they need to.

Parents can view their children’s boarding profiles, see where they’ve been going and where they’re heading to next.

They can also apply for leave on behalf of their children and respond to leave requests with a simple “approve” or “decline” button.

Plus, integrated communications means parents can discuss details about leave requests right from their account. No more email chains, txts, calls or voicemails.

Giving parents this added layer of transparency will streamline communications, strengthen community and provide parents with a greater sense of security and trust that their children are safe.

friction-with-students

5. Adding friction between staff and students

In boarding, building strong relationships with your students is crucial, but there are areas of your management processes that may be adding unnecessary friction to your relationships.

As we discussed earlier, keeping track of your students is a required process. However it’s easy to see how the idea of being tracked doesn’t appeal to students in quite the same way.

On one hand, you need to be more strict and enforce the process of signing-in-and-out and getting approval for leave requests. But on the other hand, you also want to be the cool and friendly person that they can trust to talk to.

And that’s where the friction lies. Complicated and timely manual processes are an inconvenience for students and the added friction may cause them to react negatively.

Plus kids these days aren’t as accustomed to paper-based processes. They’re brought up in a technological world where things like this happen much faster, simpler and easier. The outdated notion of the status quo just seems backwards for them.

So how do you eliminate the friction between students and staff?

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

A well-designed boarding management system will bring your accountability processes into the 21st Century. Instant access and automated processes make everything simple and straight-forward for your students.

And by utilising mobile and cloud technologies, you’ll be able to deliver a system that not only appeals to your students but also drives a willingness to engage and cooperate with staff with the accountability process.

When the processes are smooth and as straightforward as possible, friction is reduced and relationships are strengthened.

6. Affecting your staff’s teamwork and well-being

Teamwork is key to any successful boarding program. And the key to teamwork is communication.

But too often, staff have to rely on paper notes, word of mouth or their own memory to understand what’s going on. This is because the manual processes involved with the status quo makes it difficult to access accurate information, get notified about certain events and view end-of-shift reports.

Misalignment in boarding manifests itself in inconsistent student data, poor messaging, inefficient processes and confused reporting which results in a non-cohesive team and possible internal conflicts.

What’s more, the demanding 12-15 hour work days aren’t helping either. The added stress, exhaustion and burnout produced by manual processes can affect the overall performance of your team.

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

Boarding management software puts everyone on the same page, by giving you one place to store all your student information. Everyone has access to the same set of data, and any changes are updated instantly so you can trust that it’s always accurate and up-to-date.

With Boardingware, you can also use the activity feed to send internal messages, receive notifications about important events and customise staff restrictions for better performance.

7. Restricting your ability to deliver timely support

Above everything else, your role in boarding is to deliver personal support to every student.

If you want to be on top of your game and provide the best support, you need to be able to quickly recall what is going on with every student.

But the human brain can only remember so much and it can be tough to remember every achievement, disciplinary incident or medical event.

As a result, you may be missing out on opportunities to provide support to students who need it most.

How Boarding Management Software Helps:

Boarding management software provides you with quick access to all your students pastoral information. So can quickly jog your memory and provide the right kind of support, to the right student at the right time.

With Boardingware, you can also use the watchlist to flag certain students, notifications to alert you of events that require your attention, and insights to discover which students may need more attention.


 

Don’t get left behind

Hopefully the scenarios presented here resonated with you and opened your eyes to some of the hidden costs that you may be incurring by sticking with the status quo.

Boarding management software is revolutionising the boarding environment, and those who dwell in the past with the status quo, will be left behind.

If any of these points especially hit close to home, we would love to tell you more about boarding management software and show you exactly how it works. Go to www.boardingware.com/demo to organise a free consultation with one of our experts.

As always, leave your thoughts, feedback and questions in the comments below 🙂

 


 

 

Vincent Paget is the Head of Content @ Boardingware (Safe and Simple Boarding School Management Software) who loves reading, design and the outdoors.

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