Building a new digital agility

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 05-2020 Views: 786 Tags: Document, Cloud, Strategy, Workflow, Compliance, Document Logistix PDF Version:
The new normal will include workflow systems to accommodate remote working and flexi-hours, suggests Jason Field, Integration Manager at Document Logistix, with built-in security and management visibility

The next weeks and months present personal and professional challenges. What positive lessons have been learned in recent months that we ought to retain in our business operations and working lives?

Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The Coronavirus pandemic will be no different. The twentieth century 'great depression' generated a "waste not want not" attitude that defined consumer patterns for decades.

This time it's a public health emergency that has shaken the world economy. In a matter of weeks, people in affected areas have become accustomed to wearing masks, cancelling social and business gatherings, working from home and scrapping travel plans.

Traces of such habits will endure after the virus lockdowns ease, prompting businesses and their staff to consider the ongoing benefits of remote working and flexible working hours. Office-based businesses have ramped up measures for teleworking and staggered shifts, during an enforced period of working that has allowed evaluation of the 'hard' and 'soft' benefits of dispersed teams.

Document Logistix helps businesses to plan to incorporate the positives of remote working in robust, resilient, centralised systems.

IMMEDIATE SYSTEMS CHALLENGES
COVID-19 has pushed companies to operate in new ways, and systems resilience is being tested like never before. As businesses juggle a range of new systems priorities and challenges - business continuity risks, sudden changes in volume, real-time decision-making, workforce productivity, security risks - leaders must act quickly to address immediate systems resilience issues and lay a foundation for the future.

A large proportion of Europeans never work from home. However, there are elements of teleworking that will appeal to workers as the world returns to work. In the UK, the average commuting time is one hour and twenty minutes a day, and many people have commented how they have not missed the heavy morning and evening congestion on roads, rail, underground and walkways. Phil Flaxton of Work Wise UK, says: "Excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors contributing to work-life balance problems. Not only is the time spent commuting an issue, the nine-to-five culture with its peak travel times generates congestion."

We have learned a lot about the capability of 'white collar' businesses to function productively with remote workers when the majority of staff have been working from home and staggering their hours.

CHANGING TRAVEL HABITS
The AA says that the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will transform the way we live, work and travel in the UK. AA President Edmund King told BBC News: "This current crisis has shown that the majority of companies can continue working from home, and it can be more efficient. People travelling up and down motorways just to hold meetings is inefficient, expensive and not good for the environment."

The chief executives of Barclays and WPP have predicted an end to crowded city centre offices and rush hours as flexible working becomes the new normal. Jes Staley, Chief Executive of Barclays, said "I think the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past, and we will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time". The view is echoed by Mark Read, the Chief Executive of WPP, who says: "The number one question I get in… sessions I have with staff around the world is will there be more flexible working after Coronavirus."

BALANCING WORK, FAMILY & LEISURE
Businesses will have had a chance to evaluate their productivity and managers will have become accustomed to working with remote workers. When the lockdown is fully lifted, will we elect to do more from home, and eliminate or reduce commuting times? Perhaps we can make new school run and other family arrangements to improve work-life balance?

Beyond the home, more of our embedded daily activities could be re-evaluated. Universities and schools will need to be better prepared to educate online when events force closure. Distance learning could evolve as part of creative educational programmes.

Work-life balance is about separating personal and professional lives without allowing one to encroach on the other. Both are important, neither should be neglected. There are five reasons why you absolutely must maintain a healthy work-life balance:

  1. To maintain your mental health
  2. To ensure your physical health and well-being
  3. It increases productivity
  4. Become a more rounded individual
  5. You only get one life

If it proves beneficial to the business to retain some of the flexibility (locations) experienced during lockdown, then we will need to look far beyond ad-hoc arrangements (temporary home office set-ups) and daisy-chained systems (email, phone, text, Messenger, etc.). GEARING FOR A NEW MODEL
It is not only large enterprises that can take advantage of secure, centralised digital systems with automated document workflows, from digital receipt or scan, to compliant destruction.

If more people are to have access to company and customer data, working away from HQ, security, compliance and accountable management are key issues. Management 'line of sight' will need to be established and audit trails will become even more important. Copying files and duplication will need to be eliminated to enhance efficiency, to manage risk and to demonstrate compliance.

If you want to implement a digital strategy to achieve operational efficiency and business continuity, or to expand your current capabilities, be sure to use the right tools.

Our flagship product, Document Manager, helps you to capture, store, access, assign, share and approve documents and data. It also enables you to optimise process efficiency and stay closely connected with your team through efficient digital workflows, with secure access from any location.

Here are some selected benefits of remote working with Document Manager:

  • Index and assign electronically received or scanned documents
  • Centralise access for all, with controlled access levels
  • Standardise remote working policies
  • Automate workflows from input to finalisation
  • Checkpoint, threshold and scheduling alerts
  • Compliance: no file duplication, automated retention, GDPR assurance
  • Auditable: time-stamped records

Any workflow benefits from periodic review to verify its efficiency, but reviews are rarely undertaken as often as they should be. However, in 2020 we have experienced a period of intense business operations analysis.

During lockdown Document Logistix has helped customers to transform more of their processes to replace analogue, paper-based or over-complicated steps in their workflows.

A case in point is our customers working in Healthcare, Education, and Research and Development, who have very heavy, complicated document and data throughput, and must also adhere to stringent policies for approvals, escalations and compliance.

BOUNCE BACK, BETTER PREPARED
Companies will have new perspectives on the world, the markets, customer engagement and their own organisation. Business-critical services are being restructured as organisations must respond quickly to maintain continuity and to de-risk operations in the future.

In all likelihood, your culture and identity will change as a result of the pandemic. The challenge is to prioritise initiatives that will future-proof your organisation.
More info: www.document-logistix.com/wfh