Covid-19 required a rapid transition away from central work locations to remote work with little time to prepare. Many SMEs relied heavily on manual, paper-based processes. These processes failed when people were not in the same physical space. Organizations grabbed for a patchwork of tools to facilitate the disbursement of employees and the need to communicate and collaborate across many work locations. In the beginning, few expected remote work to last longer than weeks. As the pandemic stretches into months and threatens to last years, now is the time to replace short term solutions with sustainable upgrades to address the new normal of “work from anywhere” distributed work patterns.
Business life will not return to early 2020 practices. The pandemic has defined new standards for the digital capabilities of business organizations of all stripes. There has been an acceleration of trends that were evolving prior to business shutdowns including cloud computing, online collaboration, remote work, digital marketing, and on-demand labor. Employees have tasted and embraced work-life flexibility and remote work but also crave the social connection of their work-life relationships.
Companies, not-for-profits, and governments need to embrace the acceleration and move to the new standards of an all-digital world, where work happens wherever people are—whether they’re in the office, at home, or somewhere in between. They need to deliver connected experiences for their customers across every touchpoint and enable their employees, partners, contractors, and vendors to work and collaborate seamlessly on continually changing data, documents, and plans across the span of the many physical locations. Work activity needs a central, consistent place for sharing up-to-date information and communications for business-wide data analysis and archive purposes.
Yet this is not a real-world experience for most. Employees and managers are struggling to function with stand-alone tools rapidly adopted to facilitate collaboration and online work management. Frustration boils over when tools (e.g., email, mobile SMS, on-line channels, file sharing) are not designed to work together, information can be in many places and cannot be easily searched or located. To try to relieve pain and work around bottlenecks employees and teams will:
- rely on email “to keep everything in one place” despite the inefficiencies, duplication of mass cc’s, and many file iterations of attached documents.
- use their phone apps such as SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Linkedin, personal g-suite apps to communicate and share documents.
- seek out their own subscriptions to cloud-based work management tools.
Without authorization or coordination, these efforts place organization information and digital assets beyond the reach of management and under employee control.
Does this feel familiar? Is your organization ready to handle work management in a new coordinated, productive way? A successful work management tool offers a coordinated way to organize, share and analyze the spectrum of information types and rich data sets to support business planning and decisions. A cloud-based solution makes it easier to see context because it pulls together content from multiple sources into one place, for a centralized view to guide business success.