Excel is great for planning your budget. Or for making simple charts for business presentations. But when it comes to managing EHS tasks, spreadsheets are a terrible choice.
That’s because Excel wasn’t designed for task management. Yet, many of us are still using it that way. Here are four ways spreadsheets are bogging down your team and putting you at risk of non-compliance.
Problem 1: Missed deadlines
When you use Excel to manage projects, important tasks can slip through the cracks. Let’s say you’ve created a spreadsheet that lists all of the tasks that need to be done, who they’re assigned to, and when they’re due. But unless each person checks the spreadsheet on a regular basis (which most people don’t do) it’s easy to overlook an important deadline.
That’s especially true if you’re tracking permit renewals on one sheet, regulatory deadlines on another, and training requirements on yet another. When information is spread out across one or more spreadsheets, it’s easy to make a mistake or miss a deadline — which can lead to a serious violation or fine.
If this situation sounds familiar, it’s probably time to invest in a dedicated EHS management system. These systems make managing your daily tasks much easier and reduce the chances of missing something.
Problem 2: Poor collaboration
If you’re like most organizations, it’s very likely your team is using spreadsheets to manage tasks that require input from multiple people. So you’ve probably also experienced the frustration that comes with trying to collaborate via Excel.
With spreadsheets, there’s no easy way to share files or documents related to a particular task. Instead, you end up wasting time emailing things back and forth and digging through attachments for the information you need.
Remote work is especially difficult when you use Excel. Everything is a disorganized mess, and productivity suffers.
EHS management software supports remote work and collaboration by letting you share and manage everything in a central location. What are you waiting for?
Problem 3: Tracking tasks with multiple subtasks, or recurring tasks
Let’s say you have a regulatory report that’s due on April 22nd. But before you can send that report, there are lots of other smaller tasks that need to get done first. Or, maybe you have a recurring task that takes place monthly, quarterly, or annually, and you need to keep track of each of those due dates.
Many people attempt to solve this problem by creating different columns in Excel for all the various subtasks and corresponding deadlines. Pretty soon, your spreadsheets looks like the startup checklist for a helicopter.
In both scenarios, you’re better off using a system that’s designed for project management. These systems give you the flexibility to create sub-tasks for a larger task and get reminders and notifications for each step within the task progress. They also allow you to track recurring tasks on a centralized calendar so you’ll always know what’s due and when.
Problem 4: Poor management visibility
Here's a scenario that happens all the time: A task gets added to the spreadsheet but the status never gets updated. For example, maybe you use a color-coding system to track (green is in progress, blue is completed, red is overdue) but people forget to keep up on it. When that happens, you might find that a task doesn’t look like it’s in progress when it actually is. Or a task looks like it’s in progress when it’s actually overdue!
For managers, there’s no reliable way to know if the work is getting done or if people are falling behind. You end up spending a lot of time checking in on people, sitting in status meetings, and revising spreadsheets. It’s especially problematic when some (or all) of your team is working remotely.
If you’re having trouble keeping tabs on your team’s work, there are more efficient alternatives. You’re probably better off taking the plunge for a task management system instead of wasting valuable time chasing down status updates.
Track tasks on a centralized calendar, see progress in dashboards, and get notifications when something needs your attention.
Perillon offers a simple, flexible EHS software system for managing your team’s documents and activities. If you’re still using spreadsheets, now is the time to make the switch. Perillon can be implemented 100% remotely and you can be up and running in 30 days. To learn more, request a demo with our solutions team.
Next, read about some of the other dangers of using spreadsheets in EHS.