All posts tagged: Applications

Planning a Field Trip with Parents, Students, and Multiple Approvers

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Educational institutions benefit from going paperless

Many of our customers in Form Workflow Plus are admins or coordinators in schools or universities, and the most common approval workflows have to do with organizing students and teachers. Some literal “old schools” still use paper forms, but the modern school has gone paperless, using online tools and applications to manage the most basic processes.

In this blog post, we demonstrate how to use Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Form Workflow Plus for organizing a field trip to help you get started with your own process planning.

Organizing the student body

No matter what level, whether it’s kindergarten or school or college, the ratio of students to teachers is usually many dozens to one. 

Organizing students can be challenging when there are between tens to hundreds of students per class, and even more so when taking them outside of school grounds, where you not only need to figure out who’s going or not to figure out the headcount and resources you need to book such as admission tickets and buses, but also secure waivers from parents if they are underaged, and collect any payments for additional fees required for expenses not shouldered by the school. 

At the end of the day, it ends up that there is one person in charge of overseeing and coordinating everything. This is not only a humongous responsibility, but also one where you cannot afford to make mistakes. 

How to begin organizing the trip

First, decide what information you need in order to organize the trip and get things done. As a coordinator, you may need to find out at a high level: 

  • How many people want to go to the field trip so that you can book the right number of admission tickets you need to book (if any) or how many buses you need to take the students to the field trip destination.
  • The ages of the students going on the field trip to secure liability waivers from parents and guardians, and/or add parents who will accompany students so that you can add them to the resources you need. (This is easier with elementary students and more complex at the high school level where you get a mix of minor and adult ages per class.)
  • How many attendees have actually paid the appropriate fees for the field trip so that you can follow up on anyone who hasn’t paid yet or exclude them from the final headcount after the deadline has passed.
  • Miscellaneous information that is important to key stakeholders like the principal, the PTA, concerned parents, bus operators, the management at the venue of the field trip, etc. If your school doesn’t yet have a procedure for field trips, it’s important to keep in touch with and be able to assure transparency with all parties involved. 

Second, break down what you need in steps to make it easier for everyone to coordinate with each other: 

  • Teachers can coordinate per classroom or section the number of students attending, their ages, waivers required, and any accompanying parents
  • OIC for payments (this can be another representative per class, a department head, or a faculty leader per year level, depending on what the school’s organizational structure is like) can approve final headcount after confirming payment for field trip fees
  • Coordinator can base the booking of resources and finalize the itinerary based on the final headcount, which will then be shared back with the school heads and teachers

How to set up the field trip with Form Workflow Plus

The best way to accomplish this in Form Workflow Plus is to create a Google Form form to collect responses, and then set up a workflow with at least two steps of approvals. 

REQUEST FORM: The Google Form must request information such as Name, Grade/Year Level, Class Name, Homeroom Teacher, etc. For fields that will require filtering later on (such as by class), we recommend setting up the answers as a drop-down menu or multiple choice rather than free text forms to avoid typos and mistakes.

Click the “Create” button to create and link a form automatically
Edit the default form

(On Form Workflow Plus, click Add-Ons > Form Workflow Plus > Start > Create and then Edit Form. You can then edit the default form with the questions you want, such as below.)

Customize the form to tailor to your needs

STEP 1: The workflow creator would ideally set up multiple conditions, one for each class, so that the approver for each class would go to the specific homeroom teacher assigned to it. 

Teachers are the first line of approval and they can cross-reference their class lists and note the information and consents prior to sending the approval to the next level. 

Approval workflows can be as simple or as rich as you want
If you are overseeing the workflow or process, you can set the default approver as yourself
Add your conditions, such as one approver per class
Filter requests per classroom to go to the homeroom teacher in charge

STEP 2: The workflow creator can set this up in two ways: either set up specific approvers per class again, or the same approvers for all second level approvals (this can be the principal or an accountant/finance manager or an administrator). They would then look after whether the field trip attendees have paid up prior to approving. 

In this example, we’ll set up the approvers per Year Level Head, who will check if everyone attending has paid up or not. 

Filter all first-level approved requests by year level so that the second approvers can check

The workflow creator can then set up the coordinator/administrator to be CC’ed upon final approval, OR set up an optional third approval step for the coordinator to approve once actions have been taken. 

Under “Final notification” you can put the email address of the people who need to take action on the approved requests

OPTIONAL: STEP 3 and Onwards. You can set up as many conditions and filters and approval steps as you like, based on the question fields and conditions you set. 

Overseeing workflows 

Form Workflow Plus allows different user roles to make workflow management easy. If the coordinator/administrator is also the workflow creator or has been set up as an admin or owner, they can also oversee the requests at every step of the way without needing to set up a third step with the admin/coordinator as an approver, unless it is required as a formality. You can do this via the web app by clicking on “Manage Workflows” at the bottom of the add-on or logging in directly from your browser at //app.formworkflowplus.com. 

More power to the people

Fortunately, now that everything can be done online, virtually anyone can create an approval workflow. Form Workflow Plus makes it easier for those who work for schools by empowering anyone at any level to set up an approval process for their needs, with multiple steps and multiple conditions for each step, and be fully transparent to all users.

Try Form Workflow Plus now, or schedule a demo with us. 

We offer a 40% discount off our standard rates for educational institutions and non-profit institutions. If you need us to fill out vendor verification or send you an invoice for a purchase order, you may also contact sales@wizy.io

Leica PalileoPlanning a Field Trip with Parents, Students, and Multiple Approvers
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Form Workflow Plus – Set up approval workflows within minutes via Google Sheets add-on or web app!

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Watch our video about Form Workflow Plus.

Install the Google Sheets Form Workflow Plus Add-on for creators or the Form Workflow Plus web application for all roles from the G Suite Marketplace now or schedule a demo with Marko, our Customer Success Manager at your convenience!

Leica PalileoForm Workflow Plus – Set up approval workflows within minutes via Google Sheets add-on or web app!
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Why Approval Workflows Are Perfect for Access Requests for Global Companies

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Many years ago, before I started working for wizy.io, I worked for a large global financial institution that wanted us to create a shared services team that would handle corporate services requests globally. My team’s job was to study the different processes in the different offices (each one had a slightly different one based on the office structure and region’s culture and regulations), streamline these processes, and roll out a standardized process to all sites and ensure that these processes were well-documented for internal reference for the shared services team.  

Global Corporations Have Stringent Door Access Requirements

Being a financial institution, one of the biggest parts of operation was security access for specific doors around the office. Staff who were traveling, transferring departments, or simply visiting a different part of a multi-floor workplace for a meeting needed to request access to a specific area, which needed to be approved by various levels of approvers sitting in different cost centers (departments), some of them regional VIPs who would frequently travel to various sites. Once access was approved, the specific door access would be programmed on the requester’s ID badge, whether permanently or for a specific time period. 

 The security request flow would look like this: 

Corporate services would only accept approved forms, so a requester would have to seek assistance from an admin assistant to use the correct form, submit it back to the group assistant who would collate the forms and send them to the reviewer, get the approved form back, then submit it to corporate services.

Not only was the process long, involved, and had an unpredictable turnaround time, but it also put a lot of heavy lifting onto the group assistants. While each department had a group assistant, they were often busy with admin tasks for the entire department. (Not included in the diagram is the nuance that some bigger divisions also an executive assistant for the division head, who could either approve on behalf of the VIP or acted as a gateway to the reviewer.) There would be a lot of delays, and both group assistants and requesters would chase up multiple people just to find out where the request was. If the approver was traveling and people did not know about it, or they didn’t authorize anyone else to approve on their behalf, it would hold up the whole process. 

Shared Services Teams Can Help to Streamline the Process

In our improved process, we standardized the forms across all sites and we took a lot of the legwork off of the group assistants. Individual requesters could now make requests instantly, or assistants could put in requests on their behalf. This drastically cut down the turnaround time. 

That said, most of this was still done manually, via email, around a decade ago. In some old-fashioned offices, they would print out the standardized form, get physical signatures, and scan them. Some old-fashioned group assistants would fill out the form, scan it, send it to the reviewer, who would approve via email, and then forward it to us. Whatever got things done, what was important was that we were taking our baby steps towards streamlining office management processes around the globe, at least for our company. 

An online approval workflow process would have been a godsend. 

How Approvals Using Form Workflow Plus Could Have Helped

With an online approval workflow, the request flow would simply look like this:

A requester would simply have to submit a form which would automatically go to the reviewer for approval, and once approved, the request would then go on to the next step, which was for corporate services to do their task. Then the requester would know instantly that this was done.  

Not only that, each person involved would have visibility over the approval process and where it currently is on the flow, and who to chase up if there were any delays. 

Corporate services and group assistants could co-create workflows and customize the forms based on real needs, and set up conditions for multiple approvers in as many approval steps as they need.

Collaboration, Transparency, and Efficiency

Now that I’m working for the company that created Form Workflow Plus, I wish I could turn back time. Granted, it hadn’t been created yet at the time I was working in that corporation, but process is probably still the same as when I left it. This is only one of many use cases, but there are dozens of companies out there who still have approval processes dating back to the age of paper! With the technology available now, especially if you’re using G Suite, or even just as an individual using GMail, Google Forms, and Google Sheets, it’s so simple to utilize existing easily available tools and add-ons like Form Workflow Plus. 

You can try out Form Workflow Plus for free for two weeks. If you’d like to schedule a demo with us, I and my Customer Success team love to help you figure out how to use it for your particular situation! We also offer support via email or scheduled video calls when needed.

Please subscribe to our blog if you’d like to hear more about Form Workflow Plus. We’ll feature more use cases and different types of customers in the future, as well as provide you with updates about new changes and features. 

Leica PalileoWhy Approval Workflows Are Perfect for Access Requests for Global Companies
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