Remote working is the new normal for many small businesses. Companies are adapting to the trend not only because it’s a viable option but also because it is a necessity that will run into the future. In trying to establish how remote working with shape the future of work, we reached out to SME experts with experience in enabling remote work. This report encompasses their answers to these four pertinent questions:
- How can/have SMEs optimized remote work processes through digital transformation?
- How does business process automation enable seamless remote work processes for
- What does the future of remote work look like for SMEs?
- What are some success stories regarding the optimization of processes to enable remote work for SMEs?
How SMEs Can or Have Optimized Remote Work Processes Through Digital Transformation
Small businesses have embraced the use of video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. This has played a role in optimizing remote work processes, says Craig Beam, President, MicroXpress. Besides, it has brought the costs of travel to business meetings down significantly. Many eSignature and cloud-based document management and collaboration tools have also been designed to make digital transformation seamless.
Beam’s thoughts are backed by Jorge Rojas, a Partner at Tektonic Inc. Company. Rojas says that clients are swiftly moving to the cloud. Doing so has enabled them to take advantage of having online meetings, signing documents online, and creating workflows.
As this continues to happen, it’s clear that the future of remote work is practically here with us. The remote workforce is not coming back into the traditional workspace. SMEs have to adjust faster than they originally planned, adds Ilan Sredni, CEO and President, Palindrome Consulting, Inc.
However, as SMEs continue to optimize the remote workforce, they must maintain their security levels. These are thoughts from Anthony Buonaspina, CEO and founder, LI Tech Advisors. He says that there is an increase in cybercrime since the pandemic came. Companies should continue to incorporate the same security protections they used in the traditional office setting to cover the remote workforce.
How Does Business Process Automation Enable Seamless Remote Work Processes for SMEs?
Beam says that by automating business processes, companies can enable seamless remote work processes. Automation helps to remove the human element from daily tasks. When employees no longer have to rely on other colleagues to complete tasks, they’re free to work when and where they want.
Rojas gives an excellent example of how automation enhances processes in the HR department. Through automation, a company can interview potential employees online and have them sign contracts. This way, HR can set more appointments in a day and streamline the entire process.
Buonaspina adds that automation of business processes makes the remote workforce more effective. In his company, for example, they have always scheduled Think-Process-Action meetings to keep up with important issues. They have designed their internal automated business processes to incorporate the remote workforce. The level of effectiveness and productivity is the same whether a team member works from the office or home.
Wall Street manager, John, talked to Buonaspina. He is happy that he can put in more hours to manage his clients’ investments. This has become possible because of the entire workspace he has created for his home office. With four monitor dual computers, a high-quality network, and security measures in place, his home office has become his “war room.” The setup has enabled John to cut down on the 1.5 hours he spent on his way in and out of the city to his Wall Street office. By working remotely, he now has more time to spend on the business and with his family.
LI Tech Advisors, Buonaspina’s company, assisted John in creating his at-home war room to improve his effectiveness in serving his clients. He now enjoys daily video meetings with his partners and clients and feels he has not lost anything in customer service but has gained so much more in his work and personal life.
So, the trend is that more and more SMEs will realize that with this “new norm.” “everything isn’t all that bad,” says Buonaspina.
What Does the Future of Remote Work Look Like for SMEs?
Beam believes that SMEs will continue to increase and improve their remote work processes. The biggest lesson companies have learned during this time is the importance of allowing people to work remotely whenever possible. The approach is more cost-effective and efficient.
As the remote work trend becomes more pronounced, there will be more demand for cloud services, says Rojas. Cloud apps, especially M365 or some other flavor of published apps for specialized use will expand their market size. Graphic workstations have also moved to the cloud.
There will be an increase in the implementation of hybrid systems and virtual desktops. Small businesses are as close to being on one office desktop as ever before. Remote workforce monitoring will enable employers to see what employees are doing and how they use their time while on the clock. Managers will have to acquire new skills in managing the remote workforce. This seems to be one area with a gap in the SMEs since no one was used to working this way.
VoIP phone systems have come a long way towards delivering a stable phone extension. This allows for companies to transfer calls amongst different employees or departments quickly. VoIP phone solutions will enhance communication with remote workers, says Sredni.
What Are Some Success Stories Regarding the Optimization of Processes to Enable Remote Work for SMEs?
When the pandemic started, one of Beam’s clients was still using an in-house document management solution for their law firm. The client has a large office and was used to having every desk filled during business hours. Things changed very quickly, and they soon found their current solution was not going to work. Remote access was painfully slow, and real-time collaboration was impossible. Beam and his team quickly helped the client transition to a cloud-based document management solution. Currently, all employees can access and share documents, whether they’re in the office or at home.
Rojas and his team also had a financial firm move to the cloud, with no need for servers anymore. Since the client started using M365 instead of regular Office apps, it’s easier to streamline processes, sign documents online, and use MFA for enhanced security.
Nick Allo, Director, SemTech IT Solutions, also tells of a success story. His company’s latest transformation involves moving clients’ servers to a data center. This move allows the organization to drastically reduce the need for office space and pay their employees more. By activating remote monitoring tools, supervisors can manage their staff better to ensure they are productive.