The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has forced businesses of all types to adopt new productivity solutions. Traditional office life has been upended and employers are facing a new workforce split between on-site and at-home employees. Even with lockdown orders expiring in some areas, it’s unlikely that there’ll be a return to business as usual anytime soon.
Meet the New Mixed Workforce
During the height of the coronavirus crisis businesses sent many employees home to work remotely. The new normal will likely include a mix of some employees working in the office and others working from home. This new mix will require new workflows and can provide new opportunities for businesses willing to embrace new productivity solutions.
An MIT study estimates that 34% of employees are now working remotely, which has stressed technical support staff and caused companies to rethink workflow and document management. Still, after all this time at home, workers and management are getting used to the new routine – and liking it.
Gartner found that 74% of businesses surveyed intend to convert some of these temporary remote employees to permanent work-from-home status. Experts project that, when the current crisis is over, up to 30% of the total workforce may be working from home at least a few days every week.
Even those employees returning to the office will find a different work environment. Businesses are reconfiguring the physical workspace to allow greater social distancing, turning cubicles into walled offices, putting more space between desks, and eliminating group meeting rooms and common areas. Some companies are even experimenting with staggered schedules to reduce the number of employees in their offices at one time.
Employers need to look at these changes as opportunities to rethink traditional operations. Gaining this type of fresh look on the way things work can provide a fresh perspective that may lead to more efficient processes.
New Business Processes for a Different Workforce
Given that employees will no longer be constantly under the watchful eyes of their managers, how will businesses maintain acceptable work productivity? Some companies may be surprised to find that this new normal can create a more productive workforce.
One of the key challenges in the new workplace is maintaining the team dynamic. It will become increasingly necessary to rely on video conferences, group chats, instant messaging, email, and other new communications platforms to connect far-flung members of the team.
Video conferences will replace some traditional in-person meetings. Others will go away completely, replaced by individual messages and emails. Communication with colleagues and subordinates will become more agile, with more virtual face-to-face interaction, than actual face-to-face meetings in the old paradigm.
With less physical interaction possible with a mixed-place workforce, businesses need to embrace technology that replaces traditional processes. Employees both in their homes and in the office will spend more time on virtual platforms. Even if they’re in the office, they’ll still be communicating with remote teammates via Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, and other communications tools.
Technology can also help accelerate the automation of previously manual processes. The constraints imposed by social distancing have forced many businesses to operate with fewer employees physically present. Computer algorithms can replace repetitive tasks formerly done by humans, thus enabling more remote work or a smaller workforce. Companies will embrace automation and digital transformation more rapidly than they were before the coronavirus pandemic.
Document Management Systems for Remote Working
One of the key technological changes that can revolutionize business processes is document management. Digitization and automation are key to automating important back-office operations involving documents of all types. It’s also essential for dealing with employees doing their work from home.
To share documents between workers in different locations, it has to exist in digital format. Employees working from cannot easily access or share paper documents such as contracts, invoices, and reports. The solution is to scan all existing paper documents to digital format and create new documents electronically. With data files stored in a central location, team members can access them over the Internet.
Get a Free Productivity Assessment from First Phase Data
Businesses in Winnipeg and across Manitoba can receive a free productivity assessment from First Phase Data. We will evaluate your current document management processes and recommend enhancements for the new post-coronavirus mixed-location workforce. We can help your employees become more efficient and effective, whether they’re working in the office or from home. First Phase Data has been providing office productivity solutions to Canadian businesses since 1983, and we offer a variety of technology products and services that improve value while reducing waste and inefficiency.
Contact First Phase Data today for a free business productivity assessment!