If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of being able to work digitally. Technology has been a vital enabler of business continuity, supporting a new kind of digital workspace that enables the largest remote workforce in history to stay connected with colleagues, collaborate, and be productive. And with so much riding on their digital workspaces, organizations have to be sure they’re set up to support success.
So, how do you ensure your digital workplace is operating to its fullest effectiveness? To answer that, we first need to examine the activities that take place in a digital workplace.
What happens in a digital workplace?
Think about all the things that people do within their offices or other physical workplaces. Your digital workplace should effectively facilitate as many of the same activities as possible. It should be a venue for:
- Meeting with colleagues/partners/customers for discussions and collaboration
- Performing business processes (e.g., contract/document review and approval)
- Accessing and using vital business tools and technology such as Microsoft 365
- Communicating with co-workers and partners on an ad-hoc basis
- Exchanging and accessing information and data in business documents
If you consider information workers, that list covers a lot of their workplace needs. There are also the “watercooler moments” – informal meetings and discussions – as well as company culture to be considered, which can prove a little more difficult to translate from the physical to the digital.
However, that list essentially distills down to the following: communication, collaboration, and productivity. You need those three pillars of your digital workspace to be as strong as possible to support your organization most effectively.
Frictionless communication, collaboration, and productivity
For your organization to operate as well as possible during a time of mass remote working, processes around communication, collaboration, and productivity need to be as frictionless as you can make them. As well as increasing efficiency, frictionless processes are robust processes, and robust processes support business continuity.
Here are some ways to reduce friction in your business processes:
Reduce your reliance on paper
When information and processes are tied to paper documents, they inherit all of paper’s limitations. Paper must be physically handled: it’s passed from person to person manually, signatures are collected manually, and paper documents travel from location to location slowly via mail or couriers.
Every process that’s bound to a paper document introduces inefficiencies and the risk of bottlenecks and holdups to your operations. Processes stall because documents are still in transit, or because they’re sitting in someone’s in-tray instead of being reviewed, approved, and signed off.
So how do you take paper and ink out of the equation? A good start is to replace physical signatures with easily collected eSignatures. You can also use simple digital forms to collect information instead of paper forms. These forms, like other digital documents, can also be automatically checked for obvious mistakes, stored, and emailed, or shared with the right people. Compare that to the process of sending a paper document between multiple stakeholders to be approved and signed.
Digitally transform everyday tasks
When people are working remotely from different locations, the connections between them – and between employees and their work – can easily break down. “Out of sight, out of mind”, as they say.
It becomes easier to forget when a task needs to be completed, or when to pass it on to the next person in the chain. A lack of timely communication can cause delays that are at best frustrating, and at worst, seriously detrimental to your business.
To avoid these issues, you can use workflow automation to ensure that processes keep moving and everyone knows when and what they should be doing at all times. With this technology, employees can be automatically alerted when they should play a part in a business process, with reminders issued periodically if they neglect to. When they’re done, the next person in the chain is automatically alerted that their attention is needed.
With digital workflows, business processes can be streamlined and expedited end-to-end, to the benefit of everyone involved. Everybody stays on the same page, unnecessary holdups are minimized, and work flows smoothly and steadily.
Ready to transform your digital workplace?
Cutting the paper and digitizing processes are core principles for operational excellence in your digital workplace. Smooth, efficient, more precise processes foster more productive and more profitable work.
We hope this article has prompted some curiosity and inspired you to examine your organization’s own operations. We’re sure you can already think of some business processes that are weighed down by a reliance on paper or could be streamlined to give your employees a helping hand. Why not start there?
If you’d like to learn more about achieving excellence in your digital workplace, contact Nintex today. We’ll be glad to explore the possibilities with you. You can also check out our latest Workflow Wonders webinar.