The state of the workforce is changing, and over the past decade, remote work has become more and more prevalent across industries and positions. As COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) dominates the headlines, organizations are taking precautions to ensure the disease doesn’t spread within their business, including making sure that sick employees stay home or pivoting to an entirely remote workforce. As businesses make this shift, they likely have to update how their day-to-day tasks are completed. To best accommodate remote workers, it’s absolutely crucial to have the systems and processes that allow for work to be completed without any disruptions. 

While the use of email, instant messaging, and web conferencing can be helpful for remote employees, typically more advanced solutions are required to effectively complete work outside the four walls of the office. Fortunately, PiF has been providing organizations with automation solutions for over 20 years that can help your business maintain an efficient and productive office, no matter where your employees are located.  

Document Management

Just about every organization, regardless of industry, has paper documents that are necessary to complete key tasks. Unfortunately, these piles of paper can quickly fill up filing cabinets and closets, making them virtually inaccessible to in-office employees, and entirely impossible to retrieve for remote employees. By storing files in a way that makes employees unable to find and view them, you put your business at risk for slowing down or completely halting key operations. 

Enterprise Document Management (EDM) eliminates those issues both inside the office and remotely by securely hosting and organizing all your documents in one place. Employees can quickly retrieve the file and continue working without hiccups. To best support employees regardless of the platform they’re using, our EDM solution is built for the web and made to support all popular browsers, meaning they can access key documents anywhere, anytime, on any device. 

It’s designed to be user friendly, meaning your employees will be able to utilize the system without spending extensive time in training, which is ideal for those who work far from your central office. Enterprise Document Management is made to be versatile, and is designed to work with multiple locations, departments, and devices. Even with its versatility across your organization, it’s extremely secure, allowing for version control and user-based access to ensure that a document doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Our solution is much more robust than free file-sharing programs, it has full imaging features (scan, separation, OCR), a comprehensive audit trail to track changes, allows for annotations to make updates to the document, retention scheduling to ensure best case evidence and document lifecycle and web viewer control to view all common document formats without needing the native application. All these features promote active communication across departments, offices, and employees. 

Web Forms

Your organization likely has dozens of forms required in order to complete basic day-to-day tasks. Processes such as hiring, onboarding, sales and work orders, safety and service checklists, and more rely on forms in order to complete them. By using traditional paper forms you’re doing a massive disservice to your remote employees who either have to mail, scan, or email them back to someone who then has to manually re-enter the data into whatever system you’re utilizing. A paper-intensive form process leads to a loss of data, efficiency, and profitability. Fillable PDFs help alleviate some of these issues, but they’re clunky to use and are still error-prone, plus employees still need to manually enter in data.

Much like Document Management, web forms easily integrate with your ERP or other business software, meaning that an employee can complete a form and the data can immediately go exactly where it needs to. 

This can be especially successful in hiring and onboarding remote employees. As part of the process, prospective employees typically need to complete an application and background check form, then once they’re hired they need to complete forms for federal and state income tax, benefits enrollment, the employee handbook, and others. Rather than sending each form separately and hoping that it’s completed correctly, your human resources team can send a link to the application and background check forms, and once they’re hired, send a link to additional onboarding forms, prefilled with the information they put in on the initial application. 

Web forms are particularly compatible with employees who do the majority of their work on the road. A perfect example is if an employee is meeting a customer and needs to update their sales order, they can easily pull up the sales order form on their smartphone or tablet, complete the required fields, and have the customer approve and sign the sales order. The form immediately sends the data to your ERP and can streamline the ordering process significantly, saving time for employees and making for happier customers. 

Remote Accounts Payable 

Accounts Payable used to be a paper-intensive process that could only be completed in-office. Using manual methods, the average invoice takes two weeks to process and requires approval from two to five people before it is fully processed. For remote employees, this could mean sending countless faxes and emails back and forth trying to get approval, and if a document needs to be sent from one office to another, it delays the process even more. 

Implementing an Accounts Payable automation solution means that employees gain access to crucial documents as needed, and no longer need to manually enter and re-enter data, something that can prove to be a frustrating task if employees have limited desk space or a single monitor. Beyond that, your organization can eliminate late payment fees and take advantage of more early payment discounts. 

Through AP Automation you can easily streamline your organization’s manual processes and significantly reduce invoice processing time and costs. The best part is you can take advantage of these benefits while supporting your remote employees, without needing to send documents back and forth for review or approval. 

Why supporting remote employees matters

As individuals are choosing to move out of cities and into more rural areas, businesses need to offer a successful remote work plan in order to keep and maintain the best employees. With the rising costs of real estate, many organizations are turning to a 100% remote workforce in order to alleviate building ownership, leasing, and maintenance costs. Additionally, having business processes that work effectively regardless of where employees are located is absolutely crucial in the case of emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak. By not having a plan and process in place, your organization may struggle to maintain day-to-day operations, frustrating employees and customers and leading to loss of profits. 

Fortunately, PiF can help your organization implement an automation system that is effective regardless of where your employees are located. Schedule a demo to learn more about our complete automation suite.