Building new digital agility with secure workflows

The new normal will include workflow systems to accommodate remote working and flexi-hours with built-in security and management visibility


 

The commentary and opinions captured lower on this page suggest that there are two strong impulses for post-pandemic change: staff want to retain some aspects of work flexibility, and businesses are evaluating continuity and efficiency strategies. If either are to be implemented properly – with managed workflows and reduced risks – centralised systems and systems resilience are key.  

These are some of the benefits and safeguards of remote working with Document Manager that we would like to discuss with you: 

  • Index and assign electronically received emails and documents to a secure central hub

  • Scan and upload paper documents (contracts, POs, PODs, GRNs, NDAs, HR requests, expenses) 

  • Centralised access for all, with controlled access levels

  • Easy, fast search and retrieval functions

  • Simple document filing from remote locations

  • Standardised policies for remote working

  • Integration with all leading platforms

  • Simple document sharing and routing

  • Automated workflows from input to finalisation

  • Checkpoint, threshold and scheduling alerts

  • Annotations and document notes for closer collaboration

  • Compliance: no need to copy files or remove them from secure central hub

  • Environmentally friendly (Green)

  • Security and risk management: no file duplication

  • Retention: automated retention and destruction

  • Auditable: all activity is user-associated and time-stamped; stress-free audits

  • Automate GDPR and other regulatory compliance 

Add a scanner to your infrastructure to digitise paper records and legacy documents quickly

Our partner Fujitsu helps our customers to create a complete digital life-cycle with capture solutions that enable remote workers, SOHO and headquarters to work effectively together. Check out these dedicated, reliable, flexible scanners that provide quality image capture at the start of the document management process, for paper-based items such as contracts with ‘wet’ signatures, NDAs, expenses, and so much more, .

What have we learned during lockdown?

The next weeks and months present personal and professional challenges. What positive lessons have been learned in recent months that we ought to retain in our business operations and working lives?

Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The coronavirus pandemic will be no different. The twentieth century ‘great depression’ generated a “waste not want not” attitude that defined consumer patterns for decades. 

This time it’s a public health emergency that has shaken the world economy. In a matter of weeks, people in affected areas have become accustomed to wearing masks, stocking up on essentials, cancelling social and business gatherings, working from home and scrapping travel plans.

Traces of such habits will endure after the virus lockdowns ease, prompting businesses and their staff to consider the ongoing benefits of remote working and flexible working hours.

Office-based businesses have ramped up measures for teleworking and staggered shifts, during an enforced period of working that has allowed evaluation of the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ benefits of dispersed teams. 

Document Logistix helps businesses to plan to incorporate the positives of remote working in robust, resilient, centralised systems.

Immediate systems challenges

COVID-19 has pushed companies to operate in new ways, and systems resilience is being tested like never before. 

As businesses juggle a range of new systems priorities and challenges - business continuity risks, sudden changes in volume, real-time decision-making, workforce productivity, security risks - leaders must act quickly to address immediate systems resilience issues and lay a foundation for the future.

Europeans aren’t working from home

A large proportion of Europeans never work from home; in the UK only 50% of the workforce have ever worked from home. However, there are elements of teleworking that will appeal to workers as the world returns to work. 


Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, January 2019

In the UK, the average commuting time is one hour and twenty minutes a day, and many people have commented how they have not missed the heavy morning and evening congestion on roads, rail, underground and walkways.

Phil Flaxton, of Work Wise UK, says: "Excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors contributing to work-life balance problems. Not only is the time spent commuting an issue, the nine-to-five culture with its peak travel times generates congestion. 

Flaxton argues that job satisfaction can be improved, and stress levels reduced if workers have opportunities to cut their commuting time. We have learned a lot about the capability of ‘white collar’ businesses to function productively with remote workers when the majority of staff have been working from home and staggering their hours. 

The AA projects changes in travel habits

The AA says that the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will transform the way we live, work and travel in the UK. It predicts a permanent reduction in the demand for travel because people have learned during the crisis to use home-working technology. 

The implications are profound for commuters and for government finances. The Chancellor currently plans to spend £27bn to curb congestion on roads and £100bn on HS2 – but if demand falls, that may not be needed.

AA President Edmund King says anecdotal evidence from people lucky enough to be working during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown suggests that infrastructure funds might be better spent on broadband to support home working.

King told BBC News: "This current crisis has shown that the majority of companies can continue working from home, and it can be more efficient."

Other experts say if commuters spend just one day a week working from home after the crisis the roads will be as empty as they are in the school holidays. 

King continued: "People travelling up and down motorways just to hold meetings is inefficient, expensive and not good for the environment. I think use of roads and rail and indeed bus will be reduced after this crisis."

A reset on HQs with more field workers

The chief executives of Barclays and WPP have predicted an end to crowded city centre offices and rush hours as flexible working becomes the new normal.

Jes Staley, the Chief Executive of Barclays, said “I think the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past, and we will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time”.

The view is echoed by Mark Read, the Chief Executive of WPP, the world’s biggest employer in the marketing and advertising sector. He said employees returning to work would be in offices at “substantially lower capacity with enhanced safety measures.”

WPP was one of the first UK-headquartered businesses to be exposed to the realities of work during the coronavirus. Read says that in China, where the lockdown has been lifted, on any given day about 10% of staff who were previously coming to the office are now working from home.

Read says, “The number one question I get in the video town hall sessions I have with staff around the world is will there be more flexible working after coronavirus.”

Balancing work, family and leisure

Businesses will have had a chance to evaluate their productivity and managers will have become accustomed to working with remote workers. When the lockdown is fully lifted, will we elect to do more from home, and perhaps to eliminate or reduce commuting times? Perhaps we can make new school run and other family arrangements to improve work-life balance?

Beyond the home, more of our embedded daily activities could be re-evaluated. Universities and schools will need to be better prepared to educate online when events force closure. Distant learning could evolve as part of creative educational programmes. 

Flexi-working in the USA provides more insight 

The number of Americans working from home is small but increasing. What is certain is that the freedom to work remotely is highly valued by staff.


(Source: US census 2017)

Key Remote Work Statistics (2020) include:

  • 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule.

  • 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.

  • Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.

  • 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.

  • People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.

  • The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005.

Remote work is becoming one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer. The freedom to work wherever you want with more flexible hours is great motivation for people who don't like rigid office routines or tiresome commuting. Indeed, many workers are willing to forego vacations, pay rises, and even retirement plans for the chance to work remotely.

5 Reasons why work-life balance is so important 

Work-life balance is about separating personal and professional lives without allowing one to encroach on the other. Both are important, neither should be neglected. The five main reasons why you absolutely must maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

1. To maintain your mental health
2. To ensure your physical health and wellbeing
3. It increases productivity
4. Become a more rounded individual
5. You only get one life 

Gearing for a new business operations model

If it proves beneficial to the business to retain some of the flexibility (locations) experienced during lockdown, then we will need to far look beyond ad hoc arrangements (temporary home office set-ups) and daisy-chained systems (email, phone, text, Messenger, etc). 

It is not only large enterprises that can take advantage of secure, centralised digital systems with automated document workflows, from digital receipt or scan, to compliant destruction.

If more people are to have access to company and customer data, working away from HQ, security, compliance and accountable management are key issues. Management ‘line of sight’ will need to be established and audit trails will become even more important. Copying files and duplication will need to be eliminated to enhance efficiency, to manage risk and to demonstrate compliance. 

If you want to implement a digital strategy to achieve operational efficiency and business continuity, or to expand your current capabilities, be sure to use the right tools.

Document Manager helps you to capture, store, access, assign, share and approve documents and data. Document Manager enables you to optimise process efficiency and stay closely connected with your team through efficient digital workflows, with secure access from any location.

Digital transformation for business continuity

Any workflow benefits from periodic review to verify its efficiency, but reviews are rarely undertaken as often as they should be. However, in 2020 we have experienced a period of intense business operations analysis. 

During lockdown Document Logistix has helped customers to transform more of their processes to replace analogue, paper-based or over-complicated steps in their workflows. A case in point is our customers working in Healthcare, Education, and Research and Development, who not only have very heavy, complicated document and data throughput, but also must adhere to stringent policies for approvals, escalations and compliance. 

Our system allows customers to automate and digitise to maintain compliant business momentum. Many have adopted legally binding digital, time-stamped sign-off procedures to replace historical ‘wet’ signatures.

Bounce back better prepared

Companies will have new perspectives on the world, the markets, customer engagement and their own organisation. Business-critical services are being restructured as organisations must respond quickly to maintain continuity and to de-risk operations in the future. In all likelihood, your culture and identity will change as a result of the pandemic. 

A crisis can bring people together in a spirit of endurance, or it can push people apart. It’s crucial to consider how your perspective could evolve. How prepared was your organisation to deal with the crisis? Your answers will inform what you can achieve when the pandemic ends. 

The challenge is to prioritise initiatives that will future-proof your organisation. 

We wish everyone a safe passage.

 

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