As the world continues to grapple with uncertainty, enabling working from home (WFH) and figuring out how to make remote working work continues to be a priority for organizations everywhere.
In fact, according to 451 Research’s most recent study—measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses—two-thirds of organizations (67%) expect those WFH policies implemented during the pandemic to remain in place long term or permanently.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of working remotely, share some of our team’s experiences and insights, and explore how technology can offset the challenges and amplify the opportunities. Let’s start by examining the positives.
Major benefits for businesses
The need for rapid digital transformation and remote working driven by COVID-19 has led many organizations to discover certain advantages of going remote. These include:
- Lower overheads: reduced on-premises operating expenses, e.g. utilities, rent, office supplies
- Greater flexibility: employees can better manage their work schedules around their personal lives
- Long-distance collaboration: remote employees learn to work more effectively with colleagues worldwide
Many at Nintex have ourselves recognized the effect that mass remote working has had on collaboration across different regions. It is perhaps ironic that a time of increased distancing has in some ways brought people closer.
“Nintex Marketing is a global team anyway, but this has really forced us to jump on calls with everyone – something that perhaps I wouldn’t have been part of if the AMER team were all in an office together. It’s really pushing our team to build more cohesion.”
– Karl White, EMEA Marketing Director, London
Jumping straight in and learning to swim
Organizations have had to implement a remote working plan fast. For some, this has been done without the usual scrupulous attention to detail they might have otherwise favored and has meant results are less than optimal. But even for the most well-prepared, this new way of working has needed a lot of getting used to.
“When we first started to work from home, I feel like I wasn’t able to work as productively, but as time has progressed I am getting more on track, and continuous communication with my teammates makes my remote job easier.”
– Sajeer Noohumuhammed, Automation Test Analyst, Kuala Lumpur
Some degree of teething issues may be unavoidable. But lingering problems must be ironed out if an organization is to succeed with remote working on an ongoing basis.
Why WFH may not be working out for you
Here are three of the most common ways in which remote working is coming up short for businesses:
- Employees feel disengaged from work and disconnected from colleagues
- Requests and information forgotten or unseen in chats and inboxes
- Unwieldy manual processes and physical paperwork don’t fit remote work
Small tasks that we take for granted in the office can be much harder when working from home. Distances can create delays, manual processes leftover from the pre-COVID era can cause disruption, and absence can make the memory grow fuzzier. Tasks are neglected, follow-ups forgotten, and keeping everyone on the same page can be like herding cats.
Fortunately, solutions are available to help bring everyone back together and make sure they all stay on track. Let’s take a look at how organizations are using this technology to overcome remote working challenges.
How to make remote working work
Digitizing your business processes is the key to understanding how to make remote working work. The aim is not just to “go remote” but to ensure as many of your processes as possible are digital and working optimally.
Workflow automation is ideal for this. It allows your organization to connect all your people, processes, and data, so that everything is coordinated perfectly and tasks flow smoothly through all the stages and stakeholders, from start to finish.
Information is automatically routed to the relevant personnel, tasks are expedited to a speedy resolution, valuable data is collected and stored for later use, so your business can keep moving forward without a hitch.
Streamlining processes digitally
Business processes of all kinds can be digitized, and automation added, for greater ease and efficiency. For instance, approval processes, often central to employee leave requests and contract management, can be more quickly and effectively completed when they’re being managed by well-created automated workflows.
Contracts and other documents can be auto-generated according to your own pre-set templates and rules. These are then quickly signed via electronic signatures and emailed to relevant parties immediately—instead of languishing in a co-signee’s inbox for weeks, keeping the task from being completed. Workflow automation ensures that everyone can be automatically prompted to play their part and there are no holdups as documents are circulated for review and sign-off.
Workflow automation enables remote collaboration as it should be. Here, technology serves as a facilitator providing valuable assistance and reminders, as well as lightening the load when people need it most. In times like these, when your WFH strategy has been forced together hastily, the right technology can make all the difference.
“Nintex Promapp® is a great tool for staying up to date with the constantly changing processes, policies, and procedures stemming from COVID-19. Additionally, Nintex Forms and Workflow have helped digitize and automate paper processes and approvals, and Nintex Sign® adds great value in capturing digital signatures.”
– Colin Walters, Sales Development Representative, Bellevue, WA
Ready to realize the benefits of process automation?
We hope this article has been useful in illustrating how to make remote working work, thanks to process automation. Through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, we believe that this technology really does have a vital role in helping organizations adjust to changing conditions and stay productive in any circumstances. Stay tuned for more dispatches from the front line of work in challenging times.
Want to learn more about how to make remote working really work with workflow automation? The Nintex team will be happy to help. Get in touch today.