For many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic forced a shift to remote work overnight. As a silver lining, in a new study, 56 percent of hiring managers found this transition to working from home went better than expected. Seeing more productive employees and the cost-saving benefits, many companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and more, are looking at keeping their workforce partially to fully remote from now on.
Many employees are looking for a remote work option as well. In fact, since March, data on LinkedIn searches for jobs including the keywords “remote” and “work at home” increased by 42% and the number of job listings offering remote work increased by 28%. This past April, the top companies posting remote jobs included K12, Cisco, Amazon, and UnitedHealth Group, showing the range of industries embracing the movement. As you develop your business continuity plan and incorporate a more remote labor strategy, here are some important tips to keep in mind to keep in mind:
1. Creating a Remote Company Culture and Communication Stream
It’s hard for people to feel connected when they’re miles and miles away from each other instead of one cubicle over. This is why it’s important to set up regular meetings and leverage tools to make everyone stay connected. At the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown, the use of online communication tools shot up by 400% as companies transitioned their employees to home offices.
Unfortunately, 67% of North American marketers in a recent survey found that not working in a shared office decreased creative collaboration. Adobe’s Creative Director, Adam Morgan, suggests social gatherings he refers to as “watercooler moments,” where people can casually chat outside a pre-scheduled meeting agenda in order to spark creative discussion. As you draw up your plan for business continuity, have your HR come up with more ideas on how to create regular cohesion within your remote “office.”
2. Increase Sales Online Instead of In-Person
Without the ability to attend conferences and trade events, companies are looking for ways to maintain sales digitally. As an alternative to conferences, some companies have been using Remo, which offers a “virtual conference” in which there are different Zoom-esque digital rooms you can “walk through” to find like-minded people to chat with, all from the comfort of your home.
And instead of holding full-day conferences, which can become boring sitting at your screen for hours, consider breaking up events into smaller chunks to improve engagement. Deloitte suggests using on-camera meetings to build trust as you build your relationship with a potential lead and making sure to not waste the first 15 minutes on your call by sending easy installation guidelines for whatever tech you might be using. Business Consultant Alon Zaibert focuses on building trust and emotional relevance to connect with your clients and prospects online. The need to connect has not changed, just how we do it has.
3. Customer Service Is Now More Important Than Ever
On top of working to establish customer relationships remotely, make sure to continue to provide quality customer service to your current customers as well. With the global pandemic and recession, these are particularly hard times. This provides the opportunity for you to show your customers you truly care about them. Think about how you can make life easier and be more helpful to your customers. For example, 60% of Americans are extremely concerned about the safety of themselves and their families. In response, there has been a 20% increase in contactless delivery in the U.S. as companies adapted to their customer’s needs. How can you meet your customer where they are?
When it comes to customer service, around 10% of customers are willing to stay on the line to speak with a representative for over 5 minutes. Can your customer service team beat that average? A Genesys study also found 9 out of 10 customers value when a business knows their account history and current activities. If you are still keeping customer data in file cabinets, it will take time for your employees to find their information from the boxes shipped to their homes or may not even have access to client account history if it’s still in boxes at your office. Working with a company such as MetaSource, we can scan all your customer’s documents and upload them into your system or easily accessible cloud software. That way, your employees can access those files within seconds, providing significantly better customer service.
4. From Mailroom to Home: Create an Automated Flow of Information
Transitioning away from your office is a great time to incorporate digital transformation into your business continuity strategy. Without a centralized office, you need to find ways to get information into your organization and securely out to your remote workforce. This starts with inbound information: both that coming in through your mailroom and through meetings and appointments that were formerly conducted in your office.
Outsourcing your mailroom is a way to safely and securely receive, scan, and index incoming business-critical documents, sending digitized information to your employees. By partnering with MetaSource, we can receive your mail for you and complete this process, while saving you overhead costs, decreasing the time it takes, and reducing late fees.
MetaSource also offers digital mailrooms where we can monitor your email inbox, digitally optimize your emails for processing, capture data, and electronically deliver them to you for review, approval, and processing.
And in replacement of paper forms your customers used to fill out in your office, consider e-forms. Using these processes can significantly decrease your overhead costs and improve operational efficiency, which can effectively improve the profitability of your business.
5. Make Your Files Accessible from Anywhere
Using paper is going the way of the Rolodex. Much like Salesforce and other business technology, going paperless makes it so much easier for your employees to share information when working from home. And on top of getting new business-critical documents to your employees, your business continuity plan also needs to include making information you already have available from anywhere. With document scanning services, you can ship all your boxes to MetaSource and have us scan, index, and upload all this information to the cloud. Once stored in the cloud, this information is available within seconds to your employees working from home.
6. Empower Your Employees to Be More Productive
Your employees are already fighting off the distractions of working from home with kids, pets, and spouses distracting them. Make it easier for them to focus on their work by using workflow automation software, which automates many of your employees’ manual tasks. This provides more time for them to focus on the tasks more closely linked to helping your business grow. Using this software can also cut costs. A Levvel (formerly PayStream Advisors) study found that manually processing a single invoice costs an average of $15 compared to only $2.50 with an automated workflow.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided the opportunity to completely rethink how your business operates. Factoring in the above into your business continuity plan will make your business more competitive during the current recession, helping you stand out with your customers and improve employee productivity, all while cutting costs. If you want to learn more about how to improve your business continuity plan, you can also check out our white paper or speak with one of our specialists at (888) 634-7684 who can help you find solutions tailored to your business needs.