Not long ago, remote work was the exception for most businesses. Now, it’s the rule. In fact, many companies are allowing employees to telecommute as needed, no questions asked. And, that’s true even if workers aren’t feeling sick or under COVID-19 lock downs. As part of this major shift in embracing work-from-home situations, organizations have ramped up their abilities to stay connected, productive, and competitive despite location. They’ve added more remote-work friendly solutions to their tech stacks. They’ve changed office meeting protocols. Yet, there’s more that could be done to be truly efficient and thrive in COVID-19’s remote work era.
Which areas are the ripest for advancements in most businesses? Below are several begging for upgrades that will allow workers to maximize their skill sets so they can thrive in COVID-19’s remote work era.
Business Areas to Upgrade During COVID-19’s Remote Work Era
1. Automation and uniformity of sales processes
Redundancy is a costly problem in any department, but it’s especially frustrating for sales teams. According to PandaDoc, a document automation software, salespeople typically spend very little time selling. Rather than working with clients, they’re shuffling papers and essentially reinventing the wheel.
Take proposals, for instance. Many sales teams redo proposals for every client, rather than relying on templates that can be individualized. Other sellers follow no specific proposal workflow method, which can cause major snags.
By automating sales processes and outlining standard operating procedures for them with a document automation tool, sales employees can see greater returns. Their supervisors can also be assured that regardless of where the sellers work—whether in the office or at home—the processes will be the same.
2. Collective knowledge systems
When everyone’s working in a brick-and-mortar office, finding documents or historic data is simplified. Even if the information is located in several places, pulling it together isn’t difficult. Plus, team members can contribute to impromptu discussions to fill in knowledge gaps.
In remote working situations, crowdsourcing legacy knowledge is more challenging. Unless everyone is on a teleconferencing meeting from morning until evening, people will have trouble finding answers to some questions. The solution is a centralized portal where information can be crowdsourced and situated.
Centralized knowledge portals needn’t be complex, although they should ideally “talk” to other systems used by a team, such as CRM software. A well-organized knowledge hub that’s available to team members ensures that no one has to hunt for data, documents, or material for long. This is particularly useful for customer experience representatives who make decisions on behalf of clients.
3. Onboarding and continuous workforce training
For companies that decide to go fully remote, the landscape of hiring will necessarily change. From evaluating resumes to interviewing candidates, each step in bringing new people aboard must be carefully reconsidered.
To help streamline the experience for both internal workers and outside applicants, many organizations have turned to robust cloud-based solutions. For instance, some applicant tracking software providers offer a one-location place to house candidate information. This makes the hiring experience more pleasant, valuable, and empowering for everyone. It also increases brand reputation, which is important for top talent with several offers on the table, per the findings from Breezy, a recruiting software.
Along with improving the onboarding journey, businesses can also lean on programs to provide consistent training of all new personnel. This is especially vital for companies that hire a lot of people at once, such as for seasonal or temporary work. Training everyone the same way reduces friction points, unwanted deviations, and unconscious bias.
4. Employee tools and technologies
When the Coronavirus forced personnel to work from home, many relied on their own devices. Now, months later, some companies are realizing that not everyone’s technology is up to par. As a result, some organizations are embracing the notion of giving each employee a home office fund.
This decision may seem unnecessary, but it can pay off handsomely. When all workers have updated systems, they’re less likely to run into issues downloading documents or logging into systems. Removing any virtual working barriers always sets the stage for more workforce efficiency.
When an employer pays for home offices, the biggest question is whether or not employees must give equipment back if they leave. Therefore, companies should decide how they’ll deal with these circumstances upfront to reduce confusion.
Thriving During COVID-19’s Remote Work Era
Telework doesn’t have to be clunky or challenging for teams during COVID-19’s remote work era. Making just a few strategic upgrades can help any company compete, no matter where its employees set up their laptops.