PhD Progress & Thoughts

Needless Replication of Forms

How many times have you filled out a form with information that is easily search-able from an earlier form you’ve already filled?

Like a 100-point ‘proof of ID’ check that you had to perform when you enrolled in a program. Then, getting asked for that same ID checked again 6 months later when, obviously, you couldn’t exist in that institution without having your ID confirmed in the first place. So you go to the Justice of the Peace for the third time in 9 months to get a photocopy of your birth certificate verified, and a photocopy of your drivers’ licence verified, again. A process that requires heading out to get the documents printed (waste of paper), signed (waste of time) and then scanned back into digital form (waste of resources) just so admin has an ‘up-to-date’ copy.

Or providing your bank details, tax file number, and employee ID on a separate form when Admin could get those details sent through via a quick email?

The extra bit that really wastes my – and other peoples’ – time is the fact that many of these forms can’t be quickly filled out as an attachment in the email browser window. No – they need to be converted from PDF into a Word document, or a Paint file, and manually updated before they’re re-converted to a PDF so that hapless Administrative personnel can have a copy of easily-request-able information instead.

The process of downloading, converting, manually inputting and re-uploading a document that should be easy to fill out online easily wastes an hour of valuable research time each week, mostly due to IT incompetency. You know what’s faster? A five-minute phone call.

Hi! It’s X from admin; so that we can pay you for your work, can I quickly get you to answer these questions for me? Tax File number, BSB, Account number, working with children card number and the name of the person you’re working for? Thanks.”
>Hang up<

It really grinds my gears, and gets me wondering; how many other hours of productivity is wasted in other organisations by people mindlessly forwarding paperwork that is unnecessary? Are admin truly locked out of searching management documentation? In which case, why is admin tasked with collecting this management documentation? If admin DOES have access to management documentation, why don’t they use it? Do they lack IT training?

So many questions, and no time to answer them because I’ve been sent another bloody form about my name and date of birth.

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