Enabling Staff to Get Work Accomplished Remotely
In the midst of the pandemic, those of us who are deemed necessary and those lucky enough to have a function that can be accomplished remotely are now working from home. However, the logistics can be complex. Since we’re systems integrators and developers we’ve found that the right software and hardware tools address many work-from-home difficulties. Here’s a list of ways we’ve fostered remote work for ourselves and our clients:
If at all possible, let staff work from home routinely- In our business, many of us normally work from home. We appreciate the flexibility. I have a feeling if we practice safe distancing now, the quicker this will all be over. Outside of those who man counters in essential agencies and first responders, there’s probably a subset of your essential staff who can work remotely.
Provide the necessary tools and hardware- Staff should be provided with laptops/tablets/phones in order to complete their tasks. Enterprise content management (ECM) offers an extension of remote work. When staff work from home they should have access to everything they need to complete their job. They should also be empowered to complete processes, such as invoicing, without using email as the main communication channel. Most agencies are using cloud-based services, and these are certainly fit-for-purpose in regards to remote work. Ideally, your offices are equipped with an ECM with robust automation functionality. When equipped with the right tools, remote work is often more “productive” than in-house work. At CPS, we use Laserfiche for everything from ticket tracking to AP/AR. And we are constantly coming up with new ways to use this tool.
Factor in implementation time- While many agencies consider remote/mobile work as part of their disaster recovery plan, some have not even considered the function and now these agencies are needing to implement right away. Don’t expect productive work from remote staff from day one, if it’s not been planned in advance. Consider assigning a task force and using formal project management such as Agile or Six Sigma. While our staff has been working remotely for years, it took some time. One lesson we learned is that the more we leveraged access and automation, the smoother the effort went.
Establish expectations and routine early- Productivity is a mix of heads-down work, check-ins with supervisors, interaction with “clients”, and collaboration. Achieving a balance can be tricky. We’ve found that our folks are more effective spending more time heads-down and interacting with clients, but your ideal mix may be different. Our advice, consider supervisor and staff feedback, and be prepared to be flexible. Some folks are balancing full-time care responsibilities along with their work. And most importantly, select the kindest option first.
If you have any questions about how we work remotely or want to hear more about best practices, please contact us.