Teleworking and document management
Written by Ana Canteli on 20 March 2020
Teleworking is an increasingly popular option in many companies. Except for those jobs or trades that require physical effort or presence (construction, crafts, or hospitality industry, to name just a few), working from home can be a possibility within reach of any company. Furthermore, it can be managed in a way that most benefits the parties involved: the company and the worker. The most common is that teleworking is combined with work in the company; some days, the employee will work from home, others the worker will move to their usual place of work. If the experience is beneficial to both parties, you can choose to work remotely as the primary form of work.
In any case, for the implementation of teleworking to be a success, the organization should follow specific guidelines or steps to take advantage of all its benefits and avoid or minimize the inconveniences associated with this work style.
- Previous assessment: it is recommended to create a work team to identify and solve potential problems that may affect working from home. In this way, we can visualize all the factors involved, from the needs of the company and the worker to other actors such as managerial staff, stipulated by legislation, or collective agreement. The preliminary study will also result in the listing of areas or departments involved in the project.
- Selection plan and procedures: it is about defining the conditions that must be met to be a candidate for teleworking and in what terms the organization contemplates them. Including possible training needs, telework support resources in the company, as well as equipment, maintenance, security, and control needs, among others. Ideally, implementing telework is an option for workers. However, this does not guarantee that any position is suitable for remote work, nor that the candidate meets the necessary conditions. Something that directly affects not only your employee but also their direct superior, who must collaborate in this new approach.
- Design of the telework project: as a result of the feasibility study, the telework team will know what the shortcomings and needs are. Once the candidates are selected, it is necessary to train them and make them aware of the conditions in which they are going to develop their professional work. Time management, communication skills (both oral and written), technical skills related to the use of company hardware and software, rights and responsibilities, prevention of occupational risks; these are just some of the knowledge, competences, or abilities that employees who choose this option should have.
- Continuous evaluation: as a product of the previous phases, it is advisable to collect the conclusions in official company documentation, since the techniques developed for teleworking can be applied to other procedures, which were not previously taken into account.
Advantages of telecommuting
Remote working offers a series of benefits that make it an attractive working option for both companies and individuals.
Benefits for the company
- Improvement of performance: on many occasions, an easy way to assess telework is based on the achievement of objectives. As the employee is not present in the office during their workday, it becomes more challenging to evaluate the worker's performance. Still, these doubts disappear when the approach is oriented towards obtaining results. Teleworking implies a more robust technological platform, which, in addition to offering solutions to the employee in different areas of their work, can also be used to audit their tasks.
- Acquisition and retention of talent: it must be recognized that not everyone is made to work in an office from Monday to Friday during fixed hours. Working remotely allows the company to hire the services of the best professionals, regardless of their geographical location. You can also negotiate the flexibility of the working day with these candidates and thus retain the best employees.
- Better customer service: since we do not have to stick to a specific geographic region, who says that we cannot extend customer service hours? This can result in the acquisition of new clients while maintaining old ones with more benefits.
- Lower absenteeism and abandonment ratio: the possibility of working in the office or from home, makes it easier for our staff to combine their professional and private life. Allowing them to choose, they will be able to harmonize the requirements of their employment with their objectives, which results in a lower incidence of absenteeism and even abandonment of the job for another company that offers better conditions.
- Cost reduction: Fixed and variable expenses are positively impacted by the absence of staff in the offices, who nevertheless continue to support the organization from their homes.
- Improved productivity: considering that teleworking is usually an option and also voluntary, working outside the office makes it possible to prevent unwanted interruptions or even avoid working in conditions that may not be ideal.
- Geographical freedom: thanks to teleworking, the employee can choose a workplace, as long as the conditions required by the company are met
- Improvement of work-life balance: if, for example, the workday is from 8 to 5 and children have school from 9 to 2, it is evident that providing proper family support in such circumstances is impossible without the collaboration of third parties. The same occurs when we have dependent relatives and many other situations. Teleworking gives us the possibility of combining professional needs with family or private demands.
- Reduction of costs: mainly related to commuting, including the time invested in going to and from the office.
The role of electronic document management in telecommuting
Hardly any worker - whether self-employed or salaried - could consider remote work without the possibility of accessing their documents and content when they need it, regardless of where they are.
Document management systems offer the technology platform necessary to carry out all the tasks related to the access, management, and administration of documents, business content, and company-owned data.
OpenKM, as a management system for documents and electronic records, guarantees that only users with a login and password can enter the system. Furthermore, access within the system is controlled according to their profile and the granular security applied to each content (folder, document, registration, or email, including attachments). Sensitive content can be encrypted and subject to stricter security.
Thanks to OpenKM development tools, the organization will be able to complete or extend the system's utilities, for example creating a portal for clients or suppliers, where these groups will access selected functionalities of the document manager through a custom-made user interface.
The document management system also allows the definition and streamlining of business processes through various functionalities such as automation, the workflow engine, or the zonal OCR. These tools guarantee compliance with tasks while protecting regulatory and legal compliance.
One of the drawbacks of teleworking may be that communication and coordination among staff become more complicated because not all workers are in the office at the same time. With OpenKM, this situation can be tackled using the communication tools available in the system, such as online chat and the possibility of adding notes to the content. In the Forum, we find a space for exchanging opinions or points of view related to the content we share with other authors. We can even use it to ask questions or make suggestions. In the Wiki, we will take advantage of clarifying the bibliographic sources and other resources that we use to work. And we can even establish relationships between content hosted in the document manager and define what type of relationship unites them: bidirectional, parent-child, or group.
OpenKM is also used to apply version control. The system allows the editing of any content; Each version is saved in the file history, and if necessary, different versions from the current one can be restored. On the other hand, the system search engine provides a multitude of tools to search and find the information we need. We can search by content since the text extractors are capable of extracting any word contained in the file. Users will be able to search by name, title, categories, keywords, extension, author, date range, folder, content type, or even by metadata.
For more complex tasks, which require the collaboration of several users in a coordinated way, as in the case of projects or online meetings, the OpenKM task manager allows organizing this type of event.
With OpenKM, the inconveniences of teleworking are eliminated or minimized, bringing all the benefits to both companies and workers.