A few years ago, the concept of workplace flexibility was outside the realm of mainstream business. However, in a span of few years, technological advances have transformed how business is being operated, giving rise to a flexible workplace.
As per a survey conducted by the American remote workers, approximately 91% of people working from home felt more productive as compared to when they were in the office. According to a report by McKinsey, by 2025, 70% of jobs are expected to be able to be performed remotely in the U.S. itself.
However, despite employee preferences for flexible work and technological advancements that enable remote work, a majority of organizations still subscribe to the traditional philosophy of having employees physically present in the office, with little or no flexibility. This reluctance stems from old-fashioned preferences, as well as bad experiences with remote workers. Managers are apprehensive that critical tasks and projects may be held up by workers who are disconnected from day-to-day workflow with no option available for physically checking their progress. (Give quote on this from Marissa Mayerm, when she took over as Yahoo CEO she canceled all remote work arrangements)
In an increasingly global and connected world, working with remote staff is just as important as in-office employees. As increasing number of companies turn to freelancers and remote workers, it’s imperative that organizations create workflow strategies to keep both remote and in-office employees efficient and accountable.
Below are some ways workflow automation can assist an organisation in providing a more flexible workplace while improving accountability and productivity.
If organizations want to provide workplace flexibiilty it is essential to build a culture of trust between management and employees. Studies suggest those employees who are given responsibility and freedom to work on their own perform better than employees micromanaged in organizations (need to refer to a study or an article here). Automated workflows facilitated by technology can provide a solution for managing remote workers without reducing accountability or losing productivity. The person seeking a status update can visit the workflow automation portal to get the latest view and progress. Analytics dashboards can provide a complete picture of the employee’s accomplishments and challenges, and also keep a close eye on their progress. Workflow automation can facilitate project management, communication, and collaboration, bringing people together regardless of location.
Companies with remote or flexible workers will function better when employees feel connected to each other. This can be achieved with workflows, for e.g., a project management workflow can be easily integrated with instant messaging facilitie for check-ins, sharing updates and remain connected to peers. Teams can conduct daily stand-up meeting with remote employees to set priorities, discuss challenges and brainstorm.
Video conferencing through virtual meeting software allows peers in multiple locations to connect for regular staff events and team meetings. Further, workflow automation software also facilitates safe and secure file sharing.
When employees are working from different locations around the globe it is difficult to manage and keep track of live projects. Through an automated workflow system, companies can classify projects and tasks based on priority providing employees the clarity of what is required to be completed first. An automated workflow system keeps track of different time zones and can highlight any roadblocks to team collaboration.
A large number of organizations still use paper as a part of their internal operations, which can be difficult when staff is not working from the office. Workflow automation eliminates the need of paper-based processes, with all forms and documents available digitally and can be accessed from anywhere at any time. These digital forms become part of the database which can be accessed from anywhere, relieving companies of the need to keep track of all paper.
In earlier days, all the databases of a company were stored on a fileserver that was typically on a single workstation. If the server crashed IT teams had to scramble to get it up and running. Further, these databases could only be accessed physically on the premises. Even if there was a facility to access them remotely it was plagued by data loss and latency issues. With the advent of cloud technology, files don’t have to be stored in a single location in the office. Through workflow automation, employees in different parts of the world can collaborate with simultaneously editing documents without fearing for data loss.
To find out more about how Ibism’s workflow solution can assist your organization to maximize flexible workplace potential, please get in touch.