Remote Working: What We Have Learnt So Far and Where Can Improvements Be Made?

Working from home, where do we start.

Working from home has undoubtedly been one of the biggest trends of 2020, whether you're a veteran of the home office, or only just becoming familiar with its quirks, we have all probably learnt a thing or two this year about the way that we work and what makes us tick. Here at Consilio, we wanted to share with you some of our keen observations about the remote working life that some of you may have experienced also…

Commuting? What's that???

Over a full year, the average annual commuting time for Brits is well over 200 hours, that means a lot of us spent more than eight full days a year on trains, busses, cars and planes to reach our destination of work. Aside from the fact that reducing commuting journeys is excellent for the environment, it means our focus and attention can be put back into business-critical tasks instead of how busy the motorway will be on the way home. This situation got us thinking about what else we could do to start making ourselves and our colleagues more efficient, what could we take off their plate that is taking up far more time than it needs to? The answer we found was admin, things that just need to happen to get the job done.Take processing an invoice for example; let's assume for this blog that the invoice has made its way directly to the right person in the finance team straight away and hasn't first been sat in the wrong inbox for a week or more already. The administration to fully process that invoice will likely require multiple steps of manual data entry, PO matching, file uploads, and payment, and this can take a while (particularly at the end of the month) and is prone to the occasional error. An automated invoice processing system can reduce that time by an average of 68%! Not to mention the added bonus of giving a far superior employee experience which in itself can boost productivity by 17%.

Bedroom vs Boardroom

Video conferencing has become integral to the way that we do business, it has also regularly reminded us of how much we miss the hair salons and barber shops when they are closed. Using video meeting and conference platforms has allowed us to maintain some level of social interaction with our colleagues, customers and suppliers whilst we haven't been able to meet in person. But does that mean the office is a thing of the past? Will it ever be necessary to go and meet with our peers' face to face to do business when we can do it from home. In short, yes, most likely. In a recent survey, 92% of business travellers believed businesses would struggle due to travel restrictions brought around by Covid-19 in 2020. That figure increases up to 96% when relating to 'Gen Z' employees which indicates that our future business leaders truly believe in the importance of in person meetings and events. Whilst travelling for business may be the last thing on some people's mind right now, the industry is rapidly evolving and making the necessary provisions so that as demand begins to rise again, it is in the safest way possible. Everybody from the hotel chains to the travel management companies have pulled together to enable us all to get back to those face to face meetings that we know and love.

Maybe the espresso machine is a bit much…

One thing a lot of us had to do was try and kit out our homes to resemble some form of reasonable working space, office chairs were more valuable than a gold bullion for a few weeks. This saw the demographic of expense claims being submitted to employers changed almost overnight from latte's and train tickets, to lumbar supports and computer monitors. This shift posed a very interesting question to makers and enforcers of expense policies within a business, and it caused a lot of disruption. Back in June of this year 72% of businesses noticed this transition in the expense landscape, yet only 24% had done anything to accommodate for this change. Staying on top of your expense policy can be a challenge at the best of times whether you are writing the rules or are trying to follow them. Having technology that helps keep policy upfront is the only real way to ensure that the policy being set is fit for purpose, and easily updated, but also clear and understandable for employees.

Fit for purpose… 

It has been 10 months since the first lock down was implemented in the UK so we can’t say that we are new to working from home, businesses must be better equipped to operate this way and have used the time to learn what is working for them and how things can be improved. In a recent survey of 450 European IT professionals by McKinsey Global, 50% of the respondents stated that they are preparing to better enable their remote workforce by 2021 by evaluating new technologies to understand where efficiencies can be gained. Only a handful have assessed their business processes and polices and deemed them as “fit for purpose”, but what does this mean, what can businesses do to start this evaluation and make the changes needed to operate digitally?

A good place to begin would be to look at your current business spend, cash is king, so by having data on spend analysis can be beneficial in making informed decisions about how you can improve your current processes and identify new opportunities to improve the working of an organisation.

Digital X-Ray from Consilio.io is a free to use tool that can provide your business with the overview it needs, taking a deep dive into your current spend management systems to understand what is currently working. At the end of the evaluation period you will be provided with detailed insight into your current spend management solution, bringing data together from multiple platforms to give you a holistic view of your business spend. We will also be able to advise you on how to get more from what you currently have by understanding the data capture quality and efficiencies to be gained from investing in new technology and processes.

The way we work has changed forever and businesses need to ensure that they are able to operate in these new conditions. By having the right tools to do the job no matter where your employees are based, will support you in 2021 and beyond.

To learn more about Consilio, or to book your Digital X-Ray visit our LinkedIn page or email info@consilio.io

 

 

 

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