A Guide to Remote Working and How Workflow Automation Helps

COVID19 is yet another test of man’s collective strength and determination. We will fight and we will win. In time the virus is bound to disappear. However, the post-coronavirus landscape will be different from what we have been used to until now. This will be especially true of businesses and their functioning; employees working remotely is one change that is here to stay.  

Some types of work will continue as it did traditionally and the merits of such work cannot be completely negated. But automation will make the way traditional work is done more flexible. Work performed “outside the traditional boundaries” will become more feasible and more commonplace. This is a new reality. 

To make remote working better we have to leverage technology and automate our business processes. 

Here’s How You Can Get Started With Workflow Automation

1. Get teams involved in identifying processes that need to be automated. A simple flowchart will outline subtasks and activities within a process that will lend themselves to automation. A straightforward guideline will be to identify work that optimizes the human-automation combination and makes the end result “more efficient, effective, and impactful.”  

2. Decide the kind automation to be involved and the extent of human interaction. 

3. Assign ownership to the team member managing a specific activity.

4. Define timelines for different activities. Set reminders and follow-ups to ensure work gets done on time.

5. Outline subtasks and activities in a neat checklist that people can tick off once completed. 

6. Design documents and reports that stakeholders need to submit, review, and approve.

How Is Workflow Automation Going To Help With Remote Working

Better Team Engagement And Productivity

With teams working remotely, how do you keep team members more engaged in their work? Based on a study in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization of productivity of teams working remotely, the nature of the task had a correlation with productivity. Dull tasks have a negative impact on productivity, while creative tasks have a more positive effect. With workflow automation, you can free up time for the team to work on more creative and challenging tasks. This will help manage dull and repetitive tasks with less manual intervention. Once you have created a workflow for such tasks, your team need not focus too much time and energy and direct their attention to more creative pursuits. 

Improves Team Collaboration

With team members working from different locations, collaboration and communication can be challenging. Workflow automation assigns clear responsibilities to individual members. Everyone knows what is expected of them along with expected timelines. Various channels for internal communication through Emails and Comments allow members to interact with each other which further increases collaboration. 

Enhances Trust Among Team Members

How do managers develop trust when their teams operate remotely? A recent study by Gartner revealed that 76% of HR leaders reported concerns from managers on team productivity and engagement. The lack of visibility of what each member was doing was largely the reason behind this concern. Managers need to understand that productivity is more important than the time clocked in by each member of the team. Also, they need to understand that individual productivity peaks at different times in the day. Stooping to micromanagement will only aggravate the situation. Building trust is key to improve team interaction. Workflow automation gives managers a clear representation of everyone’s task and what stage each one is in. Clear and transparent communication that workflow automation promotes, helps in developing trust within teams. 

Enables End-to-end Process Management

Managing processes is crucial to achieving desired outcomes. Recreating your processes through workflow automation aids in effectively managing the process. It centralizes all activities associated with a process. Tracking of work progress becomes so much easier. Ensuring standardization of processes makes sure people don’t get sidetracked. Seamless review and approval should be possible. Once you have got a workable model for each process, you want to make sure it can be easily replicated. In a remote working environment, workflow automation makes all of this possible. 

Improves Time Management

Individuals often struggle with managing their time in remote work situations. Prioritization of tasks and having a clear routine helps manage time effectively. This is exactly what workflow automation does. Your workflow can include templates that can be reused for repetitive tasks, simple follow-ups, and reminders set up to manage your time better. 

The Future Of Working

Although the Coronavirus pandemic may have forced many of us to work from home. A recent Gartner research indicates that:

By 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% due to Generation Z fully entering the workforce. 

64% of today’s professionals say they could work anywhere and remote work policies are common (in place at 71% of organizations in developed nations).

Remote working is the future. In the current scenario that future is not too far off. Are you prepared? HappyFox workflows can better prepare you for this not so distant future.

Sharon Samuel

Sharon is a HR professional who looks for the good in people and situations. Writes blogs on a variety of subjects.