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How to make work flow in a distributed workforce

How to make work flow in a distributed workforce

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With the adoption of remote working models set to become a permanent feature in the modern workplace, Penelope Feros, Vice President – APAC at Cherwell Software, outlines four key considerations to achieving a smooth workflow for your remote teams.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has forever changed the office environment. With countries around the globe instituting mandatory lockdowns, organizations have had to pivot to a work from home model for their entire workforce almost overnight.

And while some countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have recorded little to low COVID-19 cases and governments in those countries are encouraging employees to return to the office, organizations and employees are realizing the benefits of remote working with many opting to move to a hybrid work model moving forward.

According to Gartner, 82% of employers intend to permit remote working some of the time as employees return to the workplace. And nearly half (47%) said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward.

This means that organizations have to ensure that their workflows and distributed teams are equipped with the right tools and support is needed for a seamless transition and that productivity, efficiency and more importantly, employee morale remains high.

Pre-pandemic, organizations with distributed teams were increasingly finding that siloed systems and a lack of access to information were creating barriers when employees weren’t physically close to their colleagues. As a result, when remote working was enforced more generally due to lockdowns this year, the enterprise market began to look to align collaboration tools with core enterprise applications to make the flow of work easier for employees working from home.

2020 has highlighted the importance of the employee experience and this needs to be a key priority for organizations who have come to the realization that the world of work and the office environment isn’t going back to normal anytime soon.

Below are four key considerations to achieving a smooth workflow for your remote teams:

  1. Enable self-service support
    A self-service IT support portal is critical for managing a remote workforce. It’s your best guarantee that all other aspects of your remote infrastructure will be effective. The portal must be easy to access and easy to use. A well-designed portal provides a one-stop shop for both knowledge and support, reducing – and often eliminating – the time delays inherent in email and phone support.
  2. Ensure employees have the tech they need
    According to research from Roy Morgan, 4.3 million people (32% of working Australians) have been working from home during the last few months since the pandemic shut down large parts of the Australian economy.

To support such a distributed workforce, it’s important to enable rapid and seamless access to systems and equipment, create service packages to facilitate ordering and fulfilment of required technology and services. Filter those packages by region, role and other key criteria. Most importantly, automate approval flows to minimize the burden on your IT team.

Adapt to individual needs where possible and help support employees on a case by case basis. This will help to build employee confidence and enhance the employee communication and experience.

There are a multitude of tools available that can help to significantly improve workflow among your distributed teams. These include tools for collaboration, remote, task management and workflow automation.

  1. Leverage available resources with real-time collaboration
    A remote workforce is a distributed workforce, lending itself to different models of support from those traditionally used within a single worksite. Traditional ticket re-assignment is inefficient and breeds uncertainty in a time when anxiety is already running high. Give your employees real-time results by enabling virtual collaboration and team-based support. Remote collaboration tools foster efficiency and human interaction, reducing uncertainty.
  2. Extend remote services to HR, Facilities, Security and beyond
    While IT is vital to worker productivity, it is only one of several important service types. Providing a shared services portal leverages your employees’ familiarity with one service environment and extends it to other areas where they need support. Make sure your remote workforce gets both the knowledge and support it needs to succeed, whatever their function. This would include to provide training where necessary so that employees will feel more empowered and are able to make insightful decisions when required.

While there is no one size fits all approach, the more you are able to support your remote teams, the better equipped they’ll be to get their jobs done more productively.

Also, don’t forget the human element of managing your teams which includes setting up regular meetings to encourage employee engagement as well as getting employee feedback which can help you to fine tune the support you provide to your workforce. With remote work as the new normal, having a connected workflow for your distributed workforce will be one of the keys to your organization’s success.

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