Does workflow automation make remote work more efficient?
In the tech industry, it is very common to add remote work as a benefit to job offers. However, many companies, especially non-IT businesses, had concerns regarding letting employees work from home. That may be because still there is a belief that working remotely enhances worse quality or lesser efficiency. Though recent Airtasker research says that employee sitting in an office is unproductive for about 37 minut while at home this time shortens two times (supposedly the research wasn’t done with kids being at home though).
The recent coronavirus outbreak is the reason for the fall of barriers that were there for years between employees and managers regarding this topic. Now that many companies want to stop or limit COVID-19 pandemic, they very responsibly decided to temporarily move their employees to their homes. And who knows? Maybe it will stay this way.
Though many firms decided to make this bold move, not all of them were ready for the sudden change. Those who had their processes already automated, and had their systems and infrastructure ready to handle a number of home office workers, were in a much better position. In the face of crisis, it might be a good idea to review if there is still room for automation and improvement of communication strategies, so the remote work brings the biggest benefits to all the stakeholders in the situation.
Many fears kept companies from letting employees work from homes. The good news is that using the right tools can reduce subjects of those fears to a minimum and bring no-stress collaboration between managers and their teams.
Difficulties in switching to remote work model
1. Many companies don’t have their processes digitalized and their systems aren’t really remote work-friendly
It’s obvious that if the whole infrastructure of a company was built to serve work from an office, there may be some problems in changing ways of working. It is important to change the flow of information (especially about the project status) from physical meetings to an efficient online tool. A company might use emails, but those may be lost in jammed email boxes (happened to all of us). A good idea is to employ a workflow automation platform that not only will allow having all the information structured with kept history but also drastically improve the efficiency of the communication. This saves employees’ time which can be spent on uninterrupted work blocks (sometimes impossible with coworkers talking loudly on the phone or other meetings in the open-space).
Switch to writing culture is also important. At first painful but can bring big benefits. Many times invitiations to meetings are send to those, who would be just fine with meeting minutes. The time of the meeting is lost and might be used on other, profits-bringing tasks.
2. Data security
Data security is crucial while moving to remote work land. Companies like banks, financial or health institutions need to be very careful since data breaches can lead to serious customer’s problems and big fines for the firms themselves. A common practice is using a VPN while connecting to the network but also other practices like firewalls or data encryption.
3. Lack of experience in managing online
A managing style of many leaders is all about daily face-to-face meetings and it may be difficult for some managers to resign from getting the information right away just by coming to employees’ desks. It actually requires a lot of managing skills to lead a team without this type of communication.
At the same time, interrupting teams’ work isn’t good for the project either. Studies say that the best for the-work-being-done is the time in which an employee focuses on their task without any distractions. A good workflow automation system can eradicate some of the face-to-face meetings. It allows to see the overall status of tasks or projects and also automatically generates reports.
There are many solutions that make working remotely more efficient. Those are the applications that support:
- document workflow,
- payment requests,
- security incident management,
- vacation request,
- work-time reporting,
- project management
and a lot more. Good BPMS applications not only automate information and documents workflow in one company but also among several organizations at a time.
It may be scary to completely change ways of working but if the transformation is combined with automation processes and making the communication more efficient, it is such a great opportunity to gain competitive advantage or reduce costs. Especially that with workflow automation system it is possible to manage previously defined tasks but also those coming up ad hoc.
Remote work is an opportunity for organization
1. You can have access to talented people from all around the world
Even though we come to live in harsh times, some companies still do look for new employees. You have a much bigger chance to catch a phenomenal talent if you recruit people from all around the world rather than just your city (of course if you are able to work in English, but also you can still recruit from the whole country rather than just from locations nearby office). And we all know – big talents mean big profits.
2. Increase in satisfaction among employees
Less distraction and shorter commuting time are the factors that increase satisfaction levels in a workplace but not only that. Research says that they also make employees healthier. Long commuting times were correlated with higher blood pressure and worse mood while in the office. Besides in a survey by FlexJobs, conducted on 3000 people, 77% of the respondents answered they would be healthier working from home and 86% of them say they would be less stressed.
3. Lower costs
Let’s face it. Office space is expensive, especially in the city center. For many firms, it is the biggest fixed cost they have to pay monthly or annually. Some companies introduced the idea of hot desks. Every employee has their laptop and they just pin it to the station that is free at the moment. This isn’t the favorite policy though it can save quite an amount of money if one sends their workers home a couple of times a week.
Is it worth it?
Companies may benefit hugely by introducing remote work. With good preparation, it might be an opportunity to increase productivity and reduce costs. Just the right tools and well-defined processes can help immensely. If you want to give your employees the home office option we recommend introducing a workflow system like Neula that will bring out the best for all the sides without losing the quality of the work done.