Updated: Jul 14
Whether you own a restaurant or run an e-commerce website, repetitive tasks are commonplace in the business world. A great way to manage them effectively is by using checklists.
What is a Checklist?
A checklist consists of a template of tasks which dictates the steps that need to be taken in order to complete a process. It’s essentially a “formula” for getting something done.
A checklist differs from a to-do list. A to-do list is an ad-hoc series of things, like ingredients, or miscellaneous tasks that you must accomplish in a certain week. Checklists, on the other hand, are more like recipes - they’re standardised, documented operations.
A to-do list could be a simple list of groceries. A checklist could be a list of cleaning tasks (e.g. vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing) in order to achieve a spotless home.
The idea behind checklists is that you “check” each item once it’s complete, so you can easily tell where you are in the process. The checklist behind the process of writing this blog was something along the lines of: research > proposal > structure > write > edit > source images > publish. All done ✔.
What are the Benefits of Checklists?
Although a seemingly simple tool, checklists have many benefits for businesses. In particular, they are extremely useful when it comes to repetitive and recurring business tasks.
Remembering all the steps to complete a process isn’t always easy. It’s common for people to forget or skip certain tasks, which can result in mistakes. This is where checklists come in handy, as they provide documented, detailed steps for people to follow.
Checklists help keep everything organised and enhance efficiency. They allow you to verify the progress made on specific tasks and procedures, and they ensure there’s a record of things that were done and things that weren’t.
Another great benefit of checklists for businesses is that they increase productivity. A checklist ensures that tasks are completed quicker and with fewer mistakes, saving time and allowing you to accomplish more each day.
As if this wasn’t enough, checklists can help keep employees motivated and focused, providing an achievable template of tasks that encourage action and initiative.
Here’s a list of the main benefits of using checklists for your business:
Keeps things organised
Gives you a record of what’s been done and what hasn’t
Gives you confidence to delegate tasks
Leaves more time for creative tasks
Improves productivity in the workplace
Increases motivation as people are encouraged to get things done
Food Businesses & Checklists
For those who run food businesses, checklists are even more critical. This is because regulations require you to document food safety checks so that you can show what steps you take to ensure that the food that you sell is safe to eat. In other words, you need checklists to prove your due diligence; i.e., that you’ve done everything considered reasonably possible to prevent food safety issues.
Food safety checklists help you maintain and ensure food quality standards as well as preventing mistakes. They also help you prepare for an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) visit.
Food safety checklists cover tasks such as cleaning, temperature logging, and more. You can use a paper-based diary for your checklists, or a digital, cost-effective option like the Hubl food safety app.
What Makes a Good Checklist?
There are a few key things to consider when putting together an effective checklist:
Clarity: It’s vital that checklist items are clear to ensure that your team can understand the actions that need to be completed.
Relevancy: The items in your checklist should be bespoke to your business operations. Templates can be useful – but not if they include irrelevant checks that lead teams to simply “ticking” instead of actioning tasks.
Conciseness: Stick to the important tasks and avoid micromanaging. A recurring checklist with too many items can become onerous and lead to your team not completing it correctly.
Consistency: Keep checklists under review to reflect changes in your operation, but avoid changing them regularly as this can be confusing for teams.