47% of remote workers indicate that managing WFH distractions is their biggest challenge. Other challenges high up on the list include collaborating with colleagues, motivation, career development, and burnout.
Whether your business has been making the decision to work remotely or the current global situation has forced the move, there are always going to be obstacles. With remote work you’re moving away from a centralized setup that you can control and easily monitor, to a more fluid setup that’s largely out of your control. It’s also harder to stay in touch with your workforce and monitor how they are doing in their everyday work life.
One of the biggest conversations happening around technology and remote working is automation. The key focus is how automating processes within a business can remove the sticking points that remote working has uncovered.
Business managers and owners are looking at how they can improve the experience for their employees, and ensure that company targets are still met.
Automation can help. Here’s how.
Maintain The Flow Of Projects
In a regular office environment, it’s easy to pull team members on a specific project into a quick update meeting. Employees can also walk over to each other’s desks and chat about the progress of a particular job. This is all still possible thanks to chat software and video conferencing solutions. However, chats are easily ignored or misinterpreted, and online meetings are not always that easy to host.
With the right automation solution for enterprise collaboration, everyone can immediately see what is running and who is responsible for what part of it. This helps to maintain a form of accountability when you aren’t face to face. It also facilitates collaboration, especially when the software allows for several people to work on a project concurrently.
Alleviate The Pressure On Your IT Department
The shift to remote working would not have been easy for most businesses, especially for those who were not expecting it to happen. Your IT team has likely been working overtime to help get everyone set up correctly at home. And they’ve had to ensure that everyone has the correct access to the work they do. Security online has also become a major concern for businesses as people now need to access company information from home, rather than from an internal office server.
Automating processes like monitoring security and even responding to basic support queries can free up a lot of time for your IT experts. They can focus on keeping the system operating, while the robotic and AI-enabled solutions assist in the background with repetitive and manual tasks.
Bridge The Gap Between Office-Based Legacy Systems And Remote Work Spaces
One of the major issues that businesses came up against when suddenly switching to a remote setup was realizing how much they depend on their systems in the office. Older systems installed years before remote working was even an option can be integral to the way older companies operate. However, they may not be able to sync with online methods of working.
To overhaul these systems will be a big task and will likely require a large outlay of time, manpower, and money. You may also have to disrupt workflows and halt production or output for a period while you try to bring the legacy systems up to speed.
The alternative is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or AI that can bridge the gap between the old system and your new, remote setup. These solutions can collect the necessary information when requested, and share it with the employees who require it.
Intelligent robots can save a lot of time as they can scan the system a lot faster than a human could to find the necessary information.
Remove Unnecessary Administrative Tasks
Administrative tasks are the bane of pretty much all employees. Except those employed specifically to carry out these tasks. Things like filling out timesheets and creating invoices are time-consuming and often lead to the jobs getting done at the last minute or standing in the way of actual work. Putting systems in place that automate these kinds of tasks will allow your employees to focus on the work that you actually hired them to do.
Automating these tasks will help your business too because a properly set up system will remove the chance for human error. You’ll likely see that fewer mistakes occur and you can check on things like timesheets in real-time to see how processes are running. It gives you greater oversight of remote workers and gives your employees less mundane distractions to worry about.
Improve The Ability To Monitor And Record Your Processes
Many process automation solutions by their very nature allow you to automatically keep a record of tasks, processes, workflows, and the history of work done on a system. When managing a remote workforce, this kind of oversight can be like gold. A manager can keep tabs on everyone under them without constantly having to ask for updates. You can also look back if there is a problem to see where it may have occurred.
This may feel a bit like “Big Brother is watching” but it can save a lot of heartache or headaches down the line. Completed processes are stored so that you can refer back to the information or decisions made later on.
Managers that create workflows can track version histories and are able to restore to previous versions in case of a major mistake, or if the workflow goes in a different direction. Having these elements recorded automatically will give you a buffer to ensure that work won’t get lost and processes can keep moving forward.
Automation in the remote workplace certainly offers major benefits. From collaboration tools to process automation tools that take over minor tasks and streamline processes, the advantages are clear.
It doesn’t take away the human element, it simply enhances it. You’re not replacing your workforce with machines—you’re simply making the work experience more efficient and productive.