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Managing Remote Workflows: Tools and Approaches

While the pandemic will certainly come to an end at some point, the work trends it gave rise to are here to stay. From SMBs to industry giants like Microsoft, organizations have realized that working remotely from anywhere can be far more productive than working in offices. For example, HBR research reveals that during the lockdown employees spend 12% less time in meetings and 9% more time in conversations with customers and partners. 

However, this unprecedented workflow change has also revealed many flaws in the digital employee experience. IT management practices have proven to be unable to handle full-time remote work. Let’s figure how organizations can revisit their approach to enterprise software to make the shift as painless as possible.  

Managing IT burden

The sudden shift to full-time remote work noticeably reshaped the relationship between employees and the IT department. According to a 1E study, 36% of employees started experiencing more IT issues after transitioning to remote work. In addition, 26% of respondents report that they are unable to continue working while their issues are being resolved. In the context of large enterprises, this would mean a disastrous drop in productivity and a consequential profit decrease. 

To address these issues, companies need to adopt new IT management practices. While there are chatbots poised to automate IT work, the majority of employees still prefer direct communication with the service desk. This can be largely attributed to the fact that in many cases chatbots are unable to resolve issues on the own, with human intervention still required. However, this is not the root cause of the problem. What really matters is that it takes a single instance of poor experience for an employee to consider using chatbots as a waste of time.  

This leads us to two conclusions. First, self-service tools are critical for enabling uninterrupted work-from-anywhere workflows. Second, it’s time to significantly upgrade chatbot capabilities, so that the majority of recurring service desk requests can be automatically resolved, reducing IT department workload. For this, identify the most common issues and automate resolution steps with the help of simple RPA implementation. Third, democratize self-service tool access and encourage its usage. This can be done by enabling the underpinning automation system to autonomously identify the most common incidents and offer a self-service approach to resolution.  

Building a solid digital workplace

The end-goal here is straightforward — you need to provide your employees with the ability to quickly access everything they need, from technology to information, to do their work with maximum efficiency.

There is a multitude of attributes that comprise a well-designed digital workplace that brings real value. It should be personalized for each employee or at least customized for every department. It needs to provide effective internal search engines and user-friendly collaboration tools while protecting both personal and corporate data at all costs. 

Here’s what you need to consider when building a solid digital workplace: 

Make it an all-in-one solution

In a nutshell, a well-designed digital workplace should be the only platform that employees need to log in to. Although modern workers have become accustomed to processing information from a wide array of communication channels, including emails and messengers, at once, a unified platform for all the incoming information would significantly cut the noise and allow workers to remain focused and engaged. To achieve this, companies need to be ready to completely get rid of other communication mechanisms or significantly reduce their usage. 

Relieve employees from the need to juggle multiple credentials for unintegrated applications and provide them with a unified solution that enables collaboration, information access, and task management, all in one place.

Measure its effectiveness

Building a great digital workplace is a continuous process. Besides adding new features, legacy processes need to be constantly refined and updated. 

Establish defined KPI systems that will help you measure the value the digital workplace provides to your employees. For example, customer-facing employees will use the digital workplace to quickly find answers to customers’ questions. Do they still go outside the enterprise software to find information? How often? How quickly do they find the information they need on average? For every such question, you can establish a specific metric, process this data, and fine-tune the digital workplace features based on the insights.

Provide mobile access

Your employees are also consumers that are used to accessing their favorite apps via any device. Being able to seamlessly transition from desktop to mobile is a strong prerequisite for increased employee engagement. Most importantly, the mobile version should offer the same array of possibilities as the full-scale web version, just in a different format.

However, with introducing more points of access, data security may become an issue. Consider disabling information forwarding, implementing document watermark protection and message encryption, and ensure that workplace managers can revoke access at any point.

Closing thoughts

Admittedly, the pandemic has forced many organizations to rush their digital transformation plans to mitigate the impact. Remote work has become a necessity, rather than a distant possibility. To make this shift as seamless as possible, companies need to revisit their technology stack and communication mechanisms and help their employees embrace the work-from-anywhere approach easier.


Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 March, 2021, 13:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Couldn't agree more about the importance of measuring the success of your digital workplace. I came across this e-book that provides key metrics to keep in mind, their use case, and the formula which I've found helpful. 

Yaroslav Kuflinski

Yaroslav Kuflinski

AI/ML Observer


Member since

17 Apr 2020



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