How to Reduce Your Workload as a Clerk

Lena Eisenstein
If your work schedule suddenly granted you a couple of extra hours in the day, what would you want to accomplish using the extra hours? The biggest challenge that municipal clerks face is managing their workloads. Each day brings many regular duties. As the dates of council meetings draw nearer, clerks have many additional duties to perform to prepare for meetings and complete tasks afterwards.

While current workloads for clerks are already considerable, most clerks expect their workloads to become even more challenging in the future. According to a recent survey of municipal clerks by iCompass, just over 60% of clerks said that they expected to face challenges with their workload in the next 12'18 months.

If clerks could save time on many of the meeting-related tasks, like preparing the agenda and the minutes, reducing calls about meeting discussions, recording votes, and managing and sharing records, the cumulative time savings could save clerks hours every day. Fortunately, iCompass, a Diligent brand, has the electronic tools that clerks need to work smarter, rather than harder, saving valuable time on many of their regular duties.

Meeting Manager Streamlines Meeting Processes

One of the most notable areas where clerks can save time is by using cloud-based software solutions that save hours of time in preparation before every meeting. Meeting Manager by iCompass is a program that streamlines the processes for managing meetings from start to finish.

Saving Time Creating Agendas and Minutes

Meeting Manager software includes an online agenda-builder, which is a basic electronic template for an agenda. Clerks can easily attach reports and supplementary materials to the agenda online. In addition, they can also add online links to other useful documents. The agenda-builder tool eliminates the time-consuming process of creating agendas and makes it easy to make last-minute agenda changes in just a few clicks.

As clerks create the agenda, the tool is automatically transferring information to another tool that simultaneously creates a template for the official minutes. Once council meetings end, clerks merely have to proofread the minutes and publish them.

Clerks will also save time with the action-tracking feature in Meeting Manager that assists clerks in adding and approving requests for agenda items.

Since the programs are paperless, they also cut down on the cost of supplies like ink and paper, as well as save time clerks spend on ordering supplies.

Time-Savers During Council Meetings

Meeting Manager drastically reduces the number of calls and email questions that the public raises. Citizens can access council meetings online using their computers or mobile devices. They can even split their screens to view a copy of the agenda at the same time.

Meeting Manager lets council members cast their votes online at the meeting or using the mobile device of their choice. Attendees get to see the results of votes in the council chambers in real time.

Clerks who use Meeting Manager will see a reduction of questions about the votes and discussions that take place at council meetings. The program gives citizens a way to view the meetings as they occur or to view recorded versions at their convenience. Clerks can add time stamps to the agenda items to make it easy for city workers and citizens to find the information they need quickly.

Video Streaming Meetings as a Time-Saver

As technology advances, the public expects to reap the benefits of better communication and information. Audio and video live streaming are becoming household words. Our survey shows that city councils are trending behind. Only about 26% of municipal clerks said that they currently use audio or video streaming for council meetings. Slightly more than a third of the clerks in the survey responded by saying that their council had budgeted or planned for audio and video streaming at some point in the future. A tiny percentage of clerks said that video streaming was on their radar. Only about 6% said that adding video streaming was in their three- to five-year plan for council meetings.

Video streaming is a cost-effective way to increase citizen engagement, especially for the younger population. Video recordings of council meetings, conveniently labeled with time stamps, will cut down on calls for information to clerks about agenda items, discussions and votes.

One of every three clerks stated that their municipalities desired to improve citizen engagement. To get the most value from video streaming and to maximize the viewers' experience, municipalities should explore programs like Meeting Manager, which offers video streaming in HD and 360.

Cloud-Based Solutions Increase Clerk Productivity

Time constraints are one of the most notable challenges that clerks face. Most of them have a list of ideas of things they'd like to change or implement if only they had the proper time. In fact, the iCompass survey showed that about 44% of clerks wanted to modify programs or services.

Additionally, the survey showed that clerks anticipated upcoming circumstances that could create even greater demands on their time. About 29% of clerks said that they were expecting key staff changes within their offices. Just over 27% of the clerks in the survey said that they anticipated having some personal challenges that they'd need additional time to address.

Our survey indicated that at least half of clerks recognized that technology could improve their time management. About 52% of clerks responded that they would be implementing new technology in the next 12'18 months.

Meeting Manager has all of the electronic tools that busy clerks need to save their municipalities money and free up their hours, so that they can perform their duties in the most efficient and citizen-friendly way possible.

Networking Among Clerks Highlights New Possibilities

Using cloud-based tools to streamline the workload and increase productivity will open up more time for clerks to address pending issues and projects. What better way to start planning new initiatives than by networking directly with other clerks using Clerk On, an online gathering place where clerks can connect and share information? Here, clerks will find blogs and articles on relevant topics. This platform lets clerks share ideas and learn from others in a mutually trusted space.

With cloud-based solutions for meetings, agenda and meeting minutes preparation, creating board packets, video streaming and electronic document storage, the cumulative effect of time savings for clerks grows exponentially. Electronic solutions like Meeting Manager not only save time and money, they improve transparency and citizen engagement, making them win-win solutions overall.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.