Sometimes, even the boss is forced answer to the powers that be – namely, local and state policymakers, and, in particularly concerning events, the feds. When force majeure events (i.e., catastrophic storms and pandemics) occur, it could be only a matter of time before your business is forced to close up shop. When this happens, having the ability to keep your business running – even if only at half capacity – could be the difference between a year of profits and a year of problems. For many businesses, the solution to this challenge is remote work.
As remote work continues to grow in popularity, business owners are beginning to take notice of the advantages of this unique work arrangement. Fewer business interruptions, a reduced dependency on physical infrastructure, and the ability to stay on track when force majeure events suddenly occur – there’s no shortage to the benefits of remote work. However, not all businesses are ready to take the leap from the office to the couch. In this article, we discuss several telecommuting tips to help you stay in business when unexpected events derail your operations.
Create a Remote Work or “Work-From-Home” Policy
Did you know that the number of U.S. workers who work from home has increased by more than 115 percent over the last 15 years? Coupled with findings from an American Sociological Association study that reported “higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress” for employees who were given the option to work from home, it’s becoming abundantly clear that remote work has progressed from a fad to a cultural movement within the U.S. job market.
Several recent events in the United States have put a spotlight on not only the importance of remote work for U.S. workers but also for business owners. If you want your workers to continue working when businesses are being told to close their doors, you’ll need to institute a comprehensive remote work policy to ensure that your workers have everything they need to perform their jobs safely, securely, and effectively when outside of the office. Here’s how you can get started:
- Avoid a Boilerplate Policy – Draft Your Own!
- Identify Workloads and Implement Activity Tracking
- Factor in “Time to Implement”
- Consult an Attorney for Guidance – No Assumptions!
- Establish Expectations Early
- Encourage Workers to Follow Their Normal Routine
- Be Consistent
Take Security Precautions
Hackers are already using COVID-19 fears to spread malware, making it just as (if not more) contagious than the actual virus. Similar to how the virus spreads more easily to immunocompromised individuals, businesses that haven’t bolstered their security are more likely to be stricken by malware. With the Department of Homeland Security alerting businesses to “adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity,” the time to reinforce your network’s security has officially arrived. At the very least, employers should require multi-factor authentication for all work-related logins. Virtual private networks (VPNs) should also be employed to encrypt network traffic and keep your information safe.
Equip Telecommuting Employees With the Tools to Succeed
Another important consideration when enforcing a telecommuting policy is whether or not your workers have the tools they need to be effective. For example, if your AP department is telecommuting but doesn’t have the ability to access your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to route invoices for approval, it’s going to be hard for them to perform meaningful tasks.
When employees work from home, they should have access to everything they need to fully complete their jobs – just like they would while in the office. Invoices sitting in a file on a desk back at the office are going to stay there until work resumes unless your business has a reliable way to receive invoices digitally, such as a monitored inbox that automatically routes documents to the proper user, even if that user is working from home. Ideally, your business is equipped for telecommuting with an enterprise content management system that features robust automation capabilities. Business owners will be pleased to know that remote workers are often times more productive than in-house teams – when equipped with the right tools.
Expand Your Remote Work Capabilities With Mobile Content Management
Remote Year defines remote work as “a working style that allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment.” Whether it be from home, a shared workspace, or the beach, remote workers get the job done no matter where they find themselves. Mobile content management is an expansion of remote work. It allows users to quickly complete important tasks from their smartphone without a dip in productivity. Mobile access allows your users to interact with business-critical documents anywhere their smartphone has service. Important business decisions, such as invoice approvals, can take place with minimal interruptions in a secure environment that follows you wherever you go.
Mobile content management allows these workers to access and manage any document in your ERP system in seconds – and they can even receive alerts with link shortcuts to minimize time spent navigating your system. If your company’s Accounts Payable and Customer Service departments are constantly processing incoming and outgoing Invoices and Purchase Orders, mobile access is crucial.
Ensure That Your Remote Capabilities Extend to Invoice Processing
Even the best-laid telecommuting plans are ultimately futile if your work from home policy fails to generate actual revenue when business is suspended. Due to this, business owners should be certain that their workers’ remote work capabilities extend to payment processing. By laying the groundwork for uninterrupted processing, your business can continue to accept and expend payments as needed to keep your business afloat.
In fact, with a solution like IntelliChief, you can continue to process invoices automatically without any manual intervention once they have been keyed into your system. And with IntelliChief Capture Enterprise, you can even automate the capture phase to usher invoices from a monitored email inbox automatically into IntelliChief for matching. Only matches that fail to meet your tolerances are handled manually. The end result? Fewer business interruptions and a distinct competitive advantage over your rivals.