The shift from office working to the freedom of working from anywhere has been recent and something that most of us weren't prepared for. The pandemic forced businesses and leaders across the globe to reconsider how well they are equipped to work remotely.
According to a recent Gartner study, 82% of company leaders plan to allow their employees to work remotely some of the time even as workers begin returning to the office. Simultaneously, some organizations with employees working both onsite and remotely are adapting to a new environment with a more complex, hybrid operating model. The challenge remains the same: How can you enable employees to work together and effectively get their jobs done while they’re away from the office?
Strategize and establish new policies
If you’re planning to switch to a hybrid work environment, offering employees the option to work from home while others come into the office, some of your policies will likely need to be updated, and new ones may even need to be put in place. It is always preferable to establish clear remote work policies and train your employees accordingly, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the proper tools to use, the processes in place, and what’s expected of remote workers.
Company leaders need to define remote working policies - including when and where employees can work - and establish a clear and definitive means of communicating these policies to employees.
Clear communication and monitoring efforts
One of the biggest challenges with remote working is establishing and maintaining consistent communication. Managers and employees both suffer due to communication gaps, which can adversely affect business. It is best to dedicate a few hours on a regular basis, often once or twice a week, to catch up – not necessarily just about work but also to keep the team connected and motivated.
Applications like Slack or Microsoft Teams can help bridge the communication gap, and project management tools like Trello and Asana can be put in place to track work updates and assign tasks. Time and location reporting for both onsite and remote workers can be done through solutions like Exela’s Contactless Entry & Exit (CEE), which offers an easy-to-use time tracking system that improves operational transparency and compliance while also supporting social distancing protocols.
Mail and document digitization solutions, like Exela’s Digital Mailroom (DMR), are another way to help maintain communication. By transforming documents into digital assets, these tools provide an innovative, convenient, and cost-effective alternative to mailing and remailing. Operating much like email, Exela’s Digital Mailroom makes location essentially irrelevant, as digitized documents become accessible from any location with an internet connection. So, no matter how far away your team is, or what the circumstances are, your communication remains uninterrupted. Not to mention, digitizing physical documents also makes them easily searchable and shareable, as well as more secure.
Maintain security while working remotely
Considering the increasing popularity of remote working and the likelihood that some or all of your team may work from home in the future, it is essential to update your cybersecurity policies to prepare for new threats this shift may present. For example, remote employees using unsecured WiFi networks could unwittingly cause data leaks or open themselves up to cyberattacks. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a great way to let your remote workers access the data they need while maintaining the same level of security they’d have on your company’s network.
Your cybersecurity policies should also encourage, or require, employees to encrypt data attached to an email in order to prevent unintended viewing. Company devices should also be set to have all stored data encrypted in case a device is lost, misplaced, or stolen.
Digital approvals and process transparency
Dependency and the slow movement of documents is another primary concern that affects business. With employees working remotely, the struggle to keep things moving can be difficult – especially when something like an important contract needs to be reviewed and signed. Solutions like Exela’s DrySign, together with Digital Mailroom, can help businesses avoid this issue entirely. Electronically signing documents with DrySign makes the review and execution process seamless. The platform also improves visibility and provides automated notifications to ensure that nothing is missed. You can start exploring the benefits of DrySign with the free version.
It may be uncertain exactly what the world will look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but one thing is clear - remote working will play a much bigger role in the new normal. Make sure your business is prepared by adopting new smart solutions designed to support your remote staff and add flexibility to your critical processes.
Not sure where to start? How does a DrySign free version sound?