By: Rj Sotelo
Working from home or remotely has been one of the trending business strategies since the late 2000s, with its importance being heavily emphasized amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether businesses are well-equipped to sustain a remote work setup or not, the governments around the world have mandated companies to suspend office work and conduct community quarantines — forcing companies and employees to change their business operations.
If you’re part of an organization or company who still finds remote work novel, it is important to be on-board now on how companies and employees can start implementing remote work in their business.
Steps on Getting Started
1. Be open to change: Have a town hall meeting about remote work
The biggest obstacle in implementing remote work, whether as part of monthly operations or a business continuity plan (BCP) — is due to the lack of openness to do so. These are usually caused by reliance to old customs, lack of knowledge in implementation, or difficulty in getting started.
However, especially in the Philippines, remote work is becoming more crucial in sustaining a productive workforce due to new factors which are either good or bad.
Examples of these are terrible traffic, enhanced digital and cloud capabilities, and increasing expenses on resources and utilities.
Both the managers and the staff must be open to work remotely and understand that it is beneficial for all. Having an open discussion with all affected members of the organization is a critical first step in achieving this.
2. Determine how a remote setup will work in your favor
Remote work is not for every company. There are industries such as advertising and marketing that can provide remote work to their employees for many days throughout the month.
This is due to the digitization of their industries which requires little need for the employees’ physical presence.
However, employees in manufacturing, banking, and retail are examples of industries who may find it challenging to implement this. What’s important is having an in-depth internal study of the company’s operations and adapt accordingly.
Whether a company provides remote work as seldom as once a month or as generous as twice a week, what’s important is setting up the remote system and process first. This allows you to be ready for national and global emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remote work is increasingly becoming a demand of the workforce, and it is proven to boost productivity. Getting started and knowing where to try remote work is what matters first.
3. Invest in technology: Digitally managing your information
If a company and its employees have now done the two aforementioned steps above, then the next (and perhaps most crucial step) is investing in the technology as a means to execute this.
The golden rule here is to use the technology that is best suited for the job. There are many subscriptions in various areas that are affordable for companies to utilize.
For remote work, there are two crucial systems that a company must have: Collaborative Tools and Remote Access to Information.
There are world-class leading content services platforms and document management systems provided by IT solution providers such as Infomax.
These can intelligently store information and documents while providing remote access to your employees.
Many companies still do not boast this technology, because managers think putting everything in a hard drive or an email thread will suffice.
However, many companies receive large volumes of information and files everyday. if you’re a manpower services agency or an insurance company for example, you tend to get thousands, if not millions of documents yearly.
What intelligent information management systems do is help you find the information you need by having artificial intelligence (AI) determine what it is versus where it is. This cuts time and boosts efficiency compared to searching files in a folder.
4. Invest in Technology: Collaboration tools and Automated Workflows
The best thing about these systems is that they also function as collaborative tools as well. These systems are equipped with automated workflows where a working file can be routed through different employees with approvals, customized by your dedicated Systems Administrator.
For example, an architect firm has thousands of AutoCad drafts serving as blueprints to their clients. These are done by the architects, which then must be annotated and reviewed by their managers. Once approved, it then needs to be routed again to the chief architect and then possibly emailed to the client.
This entire process can be done through the application remotely. It can even block certain parts of the document and add layers of security should the documents contain sensitive information that you don’t want certain members to see.
Depending on your requirement, there are dozens of business templates, add-ons, and connectors that you can further add to the base content services application.
5. Create a policy guideline for remote work
Once systems are in place, the next step is creating rules and regulations to manage your employees who will be undergoing remote work. Similar to the office, there should be an established and written policy that your employees can refer to.
Will your employees need to submit a productivity report by the end of the day? Do they need to do a web conference with their managers at some point during their remote work? Is there a required number of task points that they should meet? All of these are gray areas that a company should factor in creating a guideline to meet your standard for work.
Are you ready?
There’s no doubt that most of the workforce now sees remote work as a sign of modernization of a company’s operations. It has many benefits such as alleviating social problems, boosting productivity, and maximizing technology.
More importantly, it allows you to continue business during emergencies such as pandemics and calamities. With the number of businesses applying varying degrees of remote work to their operations, it is a trend companies cannot overlook.
Technology is here to maximize this opportunity, and the new decade of 2020 is a great time to take a leap into the digitization of your work space.