This Covid-19 pandemic has given us all a lot to think about and to reconsider in our daily lives. In March it had many scrambling to get home offices set up. Many are returning to the office now, but uncertainty is still in the air. And a lot of people and businesses have found that it is economical as well as productive to have stay-at-home workers. Lots of business owners have been surprised at the level of productivity that has been able to be maintained during this. This has led to more and more workers to want to explore the option of working from home full time.
Harbor is currently working on some really great ideas for businesses that want to explore more options for home workers. We’re looking at hardware, software, security, and other factors to assist you in every way possible to make your workers as efficient and productive as possible in their home offices. Stay tuned for details!
Moving Away from Paper
One of the big questions regarding home workers is; How do we work around these processes that involve physical paper? That’s simple. You do it without paper.
- Filing cabinets are replaced with cloud storage.
- Physical forms are replaced with Microsoft forms, Adobe Acrobat, or other software solutions.
- Email replaces snail mail.
- Ginormous heavy ugly low-resolution monitors are replaced by slim lightweight monitors with high resolution, allowing you to have multiple monitors on your desk.
- Printing out paper to read/reference is replaced by having a second monitor.
- There are apps to replace faxing, sticky notes, meeting notes, business cards, forms, signatures, invoices, banking, bill paying, and the list goes on and on. Many of these you already use or have in your toolbox! We can consult you on any of these.
There will still be a need for some forms of paper, usually in the form items that will need to be mailed to your customers and clients. Even though many businesses have embraced email for these processes, not all are on board, and you can’t do much about that. Internal processes, however, can become 100% paperless with few exceptions!
Let’s first think about having a workforce that mainly works from home offices. You’ll need to provide them with some basic needs, most of which you would provide anyway if they were at your physical location. Hardware, security solutions, and software are your main expense. But what do you NOT NEED if your workers are working remotely?
- You don’t need a large office location, cutting your real estate or rent expenses, maybe eliminating that expense entirely.
- Eliminate the need to purchase furniture, cubicles, and filing cabinets for your workers.
- You will have fewer office hardware fixtures such as printers, copiers, and postage machines.
- Your office cleaning bill will be reduced.
- You could see a decrease in mileage and expense reports.
- You will see a decrease in wasted meetings. Your workers will communicate more efficiently when meeting online. They are more focused on the subject at hand and it is easier to stay on topic.
- Your workers will be more efficient with fewer distractions. Water cooler conversations, people talking loudly on the phone, general office noise, etc.
- You will have a much lower risk of HR-related issues. With your workers not in the same space day in and day out, there will be less conflict.
- Your potential candidate pool will be greatly increased. You can explore hiring workers that live a greater distance from your physical office location.
- Your workers will be less stressed, therefore more productive. Reducing commute time, auto maintenance, fuel costs, clothing, and food expenses of being away from home will make your employees happier and more productive.
- Your employee retainage will be higher. Having a benefit such as remote work offered to potential candidates is greatly desired. Not many will want to give that up.
- Your impact on the environment will go down! Fewer people on the road, less paper, less waste all contribute to a smaller footprint.
- You will have continuity during a disaster! What if your building catches fire? What if there is a flood? Tornado? What if there is another pandemic? What if this current pandemic lasts for two more years? So many what-ifs! Your workers being in remote locations combined with your cloud storage solutions will keep your business afloat during the worst of it!
Knowing your resources is half the battle. This is your toolbox. What do you currently have that will benefit your remote workforce? Your Microsoft 365 suite will solve a lot of those obstacles! Microsoft foresaw the migration of the workforce to working remotely and have integrated some wonderful features into their products to get you where you need to be. So it really becomes a matter of brainstorming some of those processes to see how they can be transformed for remote work.
A special shout out to Microsoft Teams is deserving here. Being a collaboration tool, Teams is highly robust in the things you can do with it. Here are just a few:
- Chat with internal and external users
- Meetings with video conferencing
- VOIP phone system
- Document filing and editing
- Project management
- Task assignment
- Full integration with numerous apps
What are your other resources? Apps that you use? Services that you use or are available to you?
Transforming your Processes to Paperless
The biggest obstacle is paper. But, if you have your resources in place, transposing those processes into paperless is a breeze! The first step is to write down in detail every step that takes place. Examine each step and brainstorm ways to not use paper. Then you may want to do a dry run with the new proposed process to see if it’s going to work for your team. Then make it happen!
One thing that Harbor does well is consulting on work processes. We know how to make them more efficient and better, often using tools that you already have! We would love to help you get where you want to be in moving to a remote workplace. Give us a call!
Remote work may not be possible for every business, or every scenario. And remote work isn’t for everyone. This is a decision that only you and your business stakeholders can make. But it has been proven to be beneficial to both the business and the workforce when it is done correctly. Think about your business and how it would benefit from remote workers. Consider your current toolbox, think about your current workforce, and whether remote working is right for your business. You might be surprised.
About Harbor Computer Services
Harbor Computer Services is an IT firm servicing Southeastern Michigan. We work exclusively under contract with our clients to provide technology direction and either become the IT department or provide assistance to the internal IT they already have. We have won many awards for our work over the years, including the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2010. We’re the smallest firm to have ever won this most prestigious award. Most recently we were recognized as one of the top 20 visionaries in small business IT by ChannelPro Magazine (2015). And in 2016 as the top Michigan IT firm for Manufacturing. There are a few simple things that make Harbor Computer Services the best choice for your business. •We are Professionals •We are Responsible •We are Concerned About The Success of Your Business