How To Implement an Effective Work From Home Strategy For Employers

As an employer, do you hear these common statements echoing through your ears?


“I want to start a work from home program, but I don’t know where to begin!”

“I have seven staff to coordinate through my Whatsapp group!”


Before the pandemic occurred, these issues were alien to us. However, times have changed. While some companies have been able to successfully transition from traditional business settings to this new dynamic way of working, some have failed miserably. Thus, we set out to interview a few of these organisations to find out what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them during the pandemic.


What We Have Found Out

Based on our interviews with a few companies, the results have shown that:-


  1.  Most organizations are not ready for a change in work policy
  2.  Some organizations are unable to adapt to change quickly  
  3.  There are no proper tools to facilitate the new working from home policy
  4.  Some organizations are in the infant stage of digitization and digitalization of their work processes 
  5.  Most organizations face resistance to change

After almost a year and a half, most organizations, especially SMEs have pivoted most of their organizations and business models by supporting a work from home policy. However, most of them are facing a tough time in coordinating and ensuring the workflow and internal processes are properly implemented and more importantly, business operations are running smoothly.


Even simple problems like “I need to go to the office to refer to a document, but the office is closed!” and “I need to share a part of this confidential document to Amir, but how can I split the documents and send it to him?” signal a big problem as they ultimately disrupt the work process and hinder productivity.


The Answer? Digitizing Your Most Precious Assets

The ability to have all your documents digitized is one of the main issues that plague companies, as we have gathered during the interview. These documents are the assets of the organization, accumulated through years of operation and experience.


The issue is that most organizations are still using documents in hardcopy format and keeping them in a vault or storage. Accessing these documents is restricted by level and authority and on a need-to-know basis. It is hard for employers and employees to coordinate tasks when everyone is stuck in their respective homes.


With documents maintained as assets (equivalent to gold or currency) in a company, combined with the inability to access them anytime or anywhere, this will result in loss of time and revenue to any organization. In a way, this is like having a billion dollars but being unable to withdraw the money from any ATM!


That is why having a system that can support document extractions and share them with your peers is a priceless experience. As cliche as it may sound, the ability to access your company’s documents anytime and anywhere is as important as the work itself! Imagine having to refer to a particular document in an office that is miles away, but you have to complete the work before lunchtime. Wouldn’t having a system make life so much easier?


What We Have Learned From This

An effective working from home policy needs three basic elements which are:-


  1.  An effective working from home system
  2.  An effective and easy to use work from home tool  
  3.  A way to digitize your documents and turn them into digital data

Thus, the first and most important step to having a successful work from home experience is by turning your hardcopy documents into digital data through scanning. While digitizing your assets by manually scanning may sound low tech, it is a strategic move that every employer must first undertake. This move enables your company to open the door to digitalization.


The Question is How?

You might think that merely scanning the documents and converting them into pdf format will do the trick. If your answer is yes, then you are half right! The tricky part is the ability to securely store and access your documents anytime and anywhere, share all or part of the documents in any shape and form – and be able to share your chosen parts through a common medium, all while controlling the level of access to your document.


The most important step is to digitize your documents or assets immediately. A basic scanning process includes:-

  1.  Identifying and prioritizing which documents need to be scanned first – This will involve getting your current and active working file to be digitized first.
  2.  Getting the right kind of heavy-duty scanner. A good scanner will be able to scan up to 165 pages per minute
  3.  The prioritised documents need to be prepared for scanning. This exercise will involve rigorous documents inspections such as removing any foreign objects such as pins and paper clips, dismantling glued documents, repairing any torn pieces with translucent tape, isolating the documents which are in poor condition and loosening documents that tend to stick together.
  4.  After the documents are scanned, it has to be assembled back in the manner it was found. You can then decide to keep it in an orderly fashion manner or destroy it via shredding.

Sounds hard? It definitely is. Not to mention you will need to use proper boxes to store your hardcopy documents if you decide not to destroy them. You will then need to label the box and store it somewhere secure and accessible. With movement restrictions in place during the pandemic, this can be a nuisance and counterproductive.


You Have Entered the Digitised Zone, Don’t Get Lost in The Maze!

But let’s assume that you have managed to scan all your documents and keep the hard copies safe, now what would be the next step? Is making it accessible and shareable by using any common storage platform enough?


Digital document management goes beyond the concept of sharing. The digital document needs to be structured in such a way to provide you with the following advantages:- 

  1.  The ability to retrieve all, part or a fraction of digital documents easily through folders, keywords, content or even characters. It is like defining one needle from all the needles in a haystack.
  2.  To share all or part of the documents with anybody with access levels. In simple terms, you may share or retrieve two pages from a hundred pages of sensitive documents for you or your peers to complete the task.
  3.  To help organize your organization’s knowledge management program through data extractions and references. Your digital data is your source of wealth in terms of knowledge and expertise. Having a system to support your knowledge management process is definitely rewarding to any organization.

You Have Found Your Way Out Of the Maze!

Every work from home policy needs a support system to make it effective. Having a support system will help:- 

  1.  Increase the odds of success for your organization work from home policy.
  2.  To continue your business operations anywhere and anytime.
  3.  Manage documents security and control access level.
  4.  Gain an effective learning and knowledge management system to ensure the organization grows and increases its expertise over time.
  5.  Make a combination of team effort work through a single and common platform for collaborative work in nature e.g. preparing a business proposal where several employees are involved simultaneously.

While large organizations can create a document management unit to handle all the rigorous processes and management, SMEs do not have the luxury or capabilities financially or operationally. To scan mountains of documents will hinder your efforts to focus on more important money-generating activities.


So why not outsource the process? Outsourcing is the most logical and economical way to start your document management system today.

 

You can rest assured that the correct methodology is applied and most importantly, the task will be completed perfectly.


While the pandemic has hit us hard, with it comes wisdom and knowledge to overcome it. We will have to learn to coexist together until such a time a cure for it may be found in the near future.


For more information, contact the writer

Amir Zahini Sahrim

Chief Executive Officer

Pro Office Solutions Sdn Bhd

6012-276 5522

[email protected]