How Tech Can Make Us More Efficient Online in 2020

It’s said that every cloud has a silver lining, and that even applies to something as horrendous and world-changing as the Covid-19 pandemic. As we slowly adapt (and employment ticks back up), we can at least take advantage of the move towards remote working that the lockdown phase necessitated — now we know that almost every company can work effectively away from its office, there’s no clear need to return.

As we get used to the new standard of remote working, we need to do everything we can to ensure that workers are optimally efficient. There are some areas in which traditional office life still holds the edge, after all. By making the most of the technology available to us, we can squeeze maximum performance from remote working. Here’s how this can work.

It can automate repetitive tasks. Data entry can be a major time-sink for companies that haven’t moved with the times when it comes to digital transformation, and it can be distinctly more awkward when the members of a team aren’t able to work from the same place. This is why it should be automated, along with any other key tasks that don’t really require manual effort.

Automation tool Zapier has a variety of great suggestions, so it’s definitely worth checking those out to get an idea of which tasks you should think about automating (and how you can do it). Reducing workloads through the smart use of machine learning and integrations is by far the biggest way in which technology can help us speed things along.

It can take care of core security. The security concerns of remote working are somewhat different. Gone is the need to keep people out of physical premises, so that’s an improvement, but it’s much more vital to prevent unauthorized access to digital systems. Tasking individual employees with safeguarding their own work isn’t the best idea when they’re not particularly familiar with best practices.

Implemented at a company level, tools like password managers and VPNs can ensure that everyone works securely, allowing them to worry less and put their time towards productive tasks. VPNs are particularly useful. In addition to protecting communications, they can allow easier company file sharing through services like torrenting (there’s information on torrenting by if you’re not familiar) — though keep in mind that you don’t need the best VPN for torrenting unless speed is extremely important (focus on security first).

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It can accelerate onboarding. The onboarding process is particularly important for employees who start out operating remotely, because they need to be brought up to speed on how things work. While it’s still entirely possible to have an existing employee (or employees) help a new hire through their first weeks, it’s simply more efficient to handle this process with technology.

A well-designed onboarding system like Pipefy can explain everything the new hire needs to know, getting their account configured, giving them appropriate training exercises, and making it easy for them to request manual assistance when it’s absolutely necessary. Companies looking to stand out as employers should make a serious effort to improve their onboarding in this way.

While these aren’t the only ways in which we can use technology to improve operational efficiency (it’s great for enhancing time tracking and task management, for instance), they’re among the most significant for handling the move to remote working. Staffing firms should be aware of them and encourage their clients to adapt accordingly — candidates will increasingly expect them to be forward-thinking.

Rodney Laws
Rodney Laws in an editor at Ecommerce Platforms. He can be reached at rodney (at) ecommerceplatforms (dot) io.

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