Our working lives have taken twists and turns that we wouldn’t have imagined at the start of the year. With 74% of CFOs intending to shift at least 5% of on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19, organizations are looking to create working environments to keep up with the needs of business and ensure the continued productivity of their employees.
For IT and line of business leaders, putting in place the right technology that enables a successful hybrid workplace is more than a ‘nice to have’, but rather a ‘must-have’. The time for action is now to ensure future success.
Focus on process, not place
There’s a lot of discussion around how productive employees are when working remotely. Some say the lack of in-person distractions gives them valuable time to focus and complete tasks. Others say the difficulty in separating work and personal life means they struggle to focus, and the lack of physical proximity to colleagues is a barrier to effective collaboration.
In reality, the situation is complicated and varies from person to person. The research tends to support this ambiguity, with a recent report finding that productivity rates fell across Europe but rose in North America.
However, regardless of how effectively your people work remotely, there are several things you can do to make the transition easier. As well as productivity, the success of remote working depends on numerous factors:
- Support systems
For the foreseeable future, the organizations’ priority should be maximizing workers’ productivity whether they are in the office or working remotely.
It’s clear, as we move into 2021 and beyond, that the “hybrid workplace” will increasingly define how we work. As social distancing and lockdown restrictions wax and wane, workers need to be empowered to work at their best whether they’re in the office or at home. To achieve this, IT managers and line of business leaders must focus on processes, not place. In short, your workplace’s processes should be able to progress swiftly and efficiently wherever your people are working. That’s where process automation comes in.
Process automation can enable the hybrid workplace
Whether it’s invoice processing, customer or employee onboarding, or help desk support – no business can function without its fundamental processes. When workers are no longer in the same room, these processes can start to break down. It’s often more difficult to ensure processes run smoothly when workers can’t communicate face-to-face. Emails or Microsoft Teams chats have their place but they aren’t always a great substitute for an in-person conversation.
To make sure your processes continue to run smoothly, a more robust, sustainable solution is needed. Business process automation (BPM) is designed to capture, record, and automate common business processes, meaning they can be efficiently carried out no matter where your people are. By untethering processes from physical locations, streamlining, and expediting them, process automation can make sure the right tasks get done by the right people at the right time. Let’s take a look at the technology in action in two common workplace processes.
1. Invoice processing
Many businesses must process invoices at one point or another – and many are still reliant on manual processes to settle accounts. If paper processing, physical signatures, and physically moving invoices around the office feature heavily in your working day, there’s a good chance that remote working is going to cause significant disruption.
With process automation, however, you can recreate these processes in new and improved digital variants, ensuring everyone can efficiently complete their tasks wherever they’re working. With an automated invoice process, documents can be automatically generated, tasks assigned, and signoffs become as simple as a click. This allows you to streamline, accelerate, and digitize your invoice processing from end to end.
2. Hardware and software requests
In the move to the home office, it’s important to make sure everyone has the equipment they need to work effectively and productively – whether that’s monitors, laptops, or SaaS licenses. But if your IT requests processes are manual or paper-based, you’re going to struggle to adapt to the remote working world, meaning people will have to wait far longer than necessary to get the equipment and support they need.
With an automated IT request process, you can vastly accelerate many of these processes, by building custom workflows for each stage of the process. When a user needs a new piece of equipment or license, they can fill out the relevant form, which begins the process. From there, it’s directed to the relevant IT or line of business manager to review, and then to the purchasing department to process. With this process in place, you can ensure your employees have access to the information they need to work at their best – no matter where they’re working.
Creating your hybrid workplace
No matter the industry or process, automation provides ample opportunity for today’s workplaces to adapt and embrace the future of work. With the right workflows in place, your everyday tasks can progress smoothly and efficiently, whether people sit right next to each other or are separated around the world.
The Nintex workflow automation platform is designed to be easy to use by employees with little to no IT experience. That means it’s easy to implement, requiring no coding, and is easily adaptable to a wide range of workplace processes. With Nintex, your employees will be building their own processes in no time.
Want to see what Nintex can do for your business? Try the power of process automation for yourself. Start your free trial today.