5 Free TemplatesWhat is WFH and How Can it be Maximized?
Believe it or not the shift from in-office working to remote working happened well before 2020.
Working from home has grown by 173 percent since 2005, which gives you an idea of the astounding transition that has taken place in the US alone.
I asked Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics whether there is substantial evidence to show that remote working is just as productive as in-office working, if not more.
Her response was that “Just about every study ever done on the topic shows people who work at home are more productive than office workers. Our latest study showed they are distracted or interrupted twice as much in the office as at home (even now when they’re doing so in less than ideal conditions). They also give back half the time they’d have otherwise spent commuting.”
But the question of how to increase or at least match in-office productivity remains, and we’ve revealed the solid data to answer this.
Microsoft found in a 2005 survey that in an average 45 hours of work a week; workers considered 16 hours of that to be unproductive, with the main issues being recorded as poor software, unclear objectives, commuting time, and unnecessary meetings.
Compare that to the 2-year Stanford study that recorded a boost in remote work productivity when a CEO split a team of 500 employees and discovered that the WFH test group worked a ‘true full shift’ as opposed to the HQ-based interruptions of commuting, workplace interaction, and leaving early.
The logical definition of productivity, or efficiency, is to spend valuable time on the tasks that will give the biggest return, so it makes sense to not only define which tasks are priorities but also document exactly how to complete them, so that almost anyone qualified could do it. Popular fast-food restaurant chains use this method to not only become global brands, but to allow almost anyone to do the job right, repeatedly.
So now that you’ve heard it from the experts, do you think remote working could work (pun intended) for you too?
If your first thought is yes, Process.st has what you need to take team productivity to the next level. This article will show you the basics of how business practice software will improve your work-from-home process management, including:
- What is WFH and How Can it be Maximized?
- How BPM and SOP can Streamline the WFH process
- 5 Free Templates to Maximize your WFH Efficiency
- Benefits of WFH When Paired with Management Software
- Avoid the WFH Disconnect
- Further WFH Resources
How BPM and SOP can Streamline the WFH Process
If you’re wondering what Business Process Management (BPM) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are and why they would make your work-from-home team more efficient, read on for everything you need to know.
BPM allows process-centric businesses to outline and record crucial processes for everyday and individual tasks and actions in an accessible way. You might also hear BPM referred to as a holistic method of aligning business procedures with the exact needs of a customer or client base. BPM software allows team members, including different types of employees, to see the exact steps to complete any processes recorded in a BPM software.
An easy way to understand how BPM helps a business is to imagine a man on a boat trying to get to land. If he constantly switches from one oar to another, paddling in different directions, he ends up going nowhere.
But if he had a note in front of him with clear ‘how to row to land’ instructions, he makes sure he uses both oars, paddles in the same direction, and he can make it to land time and again. He could also pass those instructions onto another person and they could get to land reliably too.
Whether you are the man in the boat (employee) or the one giving the instructions (management or business owner), you want repeatable, positive results for your team and clients. Using a BPM framework in a process-oriented business structure allows you to simply integrate and improve systems using technology.
This creates a more cost-effective environment and allows room for developing even more effectiveness by making each step in a process identifiable and therefore accountable.
How do you get a BPM system in place to start with though? This is where your SOP takes centre stage.
SOP is related to BPM as it means Standard Operating Procedures and refers to recording the technical procedures that make your business function, with the intent that other employees can access it and have the same result.
However, in most businesses SOP documents are maintained purely for compliance and training purposes, and the contents can often be complex. Some basic SOP may not demonstrate exactly which team members are involved or how a single procedure can relate to a greater structure. This is why translating your SOP into a holistic BPM software can create a bigger picture that’s more reader-friendly and usable daily.
In essence, BPM utilizes your SOP.
Don’t worry! If you’re a little apprehensive about documenting every process or task, we have a whole library filled with free templates made just for this moment. You can access this library and use as many templates as you need absolutely for free when you sign up. Isn’t that handy? We think so.
To get you started on maximizing your WFH productivity, here are a few of the most relevant templates you can access in the Process.st template library…
5 Free Templates to Increase your WFH Efficiency
You might be reading this from your home office, hoping to make some big improvements to your business’ standard procedures and how you implement them. The first step of recording your SOPs may seem daunting, but it’s necessary and crucial to take your processes to the next level. To help you get started, here’s a list of the most useful and free SOP checklist templates in the Process.st library, especially if you’re transitioning or already switched to WFH.
In these checklist templates, you can expect a detailed breakdown of the steps normally associated with each task or project. We know writing up SOP can be a little intimidating, so all of these templates are fully customizable, which means you don’t need to write paragraphs of technical jargon; just add in the specificities to the points that are already there.
Your business deserves to be future-proof and prepared for not just continuity but growth. These are some of the templates that can help you get there.
- Your business starts with the people who work in it. That’s why a clear and concise checklist will guarantee that your employees will understand the whole process from start to completion. With a template like the Advanced Content Promotion Checklist you’ll have productivity coming out of your metaphoric ears when it comes to planning campaigns, creating content, and marketing with consistency.
- And if you’re a start-up or just refreshing your online presence, why not reach as many eyes as possible when you launch a new website? The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist template is ready and waiting for you and your team to utilize – don’t forget you can also easily edit these templates to suit your specific requirements and processes.
- The Remote daily Work Schedule is an intuitive option if you’re transitioning to WFH. Your whole team can synchronize their scheduled activities and you have peace of mind knowing best practices are being followed every day.
- How could we possibly leave out the online meetings? Of course, you or your senior team will be handling a few more remote conferences and that can be stressful itself. With the Virtual Meeting Checklist, though, every step is outlined for a smooth meeting; reliable internet connection notwithstanding! This template includes a fully customizable to-do list broken down into headings including preparation, hosting, discussion items, and follow-up tasks.
- The benefits of having a workplace policy are abundant, and the same goes for a WFH policy. This Work From Home Policy Checklist template is designed to be completed by employees on a quarterly basis to ensure they understand your particular remote working policies, and could also be useful for newly onboarded WFH employees.
Benefits of WFH When Paired with Management Software
You’ve probably read some of the studies and surveys on the advantages of WFH, for both the employee and the employer. Some of the most notable benefits for those who transitioned to WFH include:
- Better work engagement
- Lower costs
- Employee happiness
- Easier monitoring
What you may not already know is that those benefits can be increased when put together with an effective management software. Telecommuting in 2015 saved employers an astounding $44 billion collectively, so it’s clear to see WFH is worth investing in.
However, it’s also important to prepare for the unforeseeable, just as many businesses have had to do with the COVID-19 disruptions.
With many if not all staff working from home at least part of the time, integral systems and processes that could be overseen in the office now needed to be easily accessible online to a variety of staff.
This is where an adaptable workflow management software becomes the key for keeping things moving smoothly for your team. Aside from generally communicating tasks and processes, you might also need to:
- Check on team engagement and monitor contribution to ongoing projects
- Collaborate between staff responsible for different aspects of a process
- Track progress and get notifications when tasks are completed
- Get authorizations in single instances or sequentially if work needs approval
- Integrate workflow checklists with other frequently used apps and tools
62 percent of organizations have increased virtual and remote work models when faced with the changes in the business market – along with the necessity for WFH in a global crisis.
Business continuity is something an efficient BPM software like Process.st can give you, and it starts with the SOP.
I don’t know about you but visualizing my goals has proven to be the best way for me to start achieving them. In the same way having a checklist can help you keep track of not only the clear-cut tasks but also those tricky, miscellaneous jobs that could instead be broken down into realizable steps and assigned to the best-suited employee.
When reports are showing that people who work remotely at least once a month are 24 percent more likely to be happy and productive, providing them with reliable WFH process management software seems to be the smart move.
Avoiding the WFH Disconnect
You’ve taken the plunge and moved to either partial or complete WFH operations.
You’ve reduced your office-space rental costs and commuting expenses.
Productivity is on the rise and your team feel happier and more content in their jobs.
Don’t fear the ‘disconnect’, a drop in professional communication or nostalgia for those watercooler conversations. Just like you’d schedule your weekly or quarterly meetings to track progress, schedule in some allowances for human time too. Here are some ideas to keep connected with your WFH employees:
If you have a larger team, make the effort to include your remote workers in the conversation! Many businesses have seen the benefits of increased team contentment by scheduling in yearly or regular ‘company days out’ where the whole team, remote or in-office, can get together and decompress. Did someone say… spa day?
Regular Catch-up Conversations
Alongside the off-the-clock connections, it’s good practice to make room in your management’s schedule to check-in with your WFH team. Find out about their current workload and ask if they have any worries or ideas about improvements. You might be surprised how much perspective getting out of the workplace can offer.
Hey, we’re all human. Anyone working on premises is just as likely to make the occasional human error as someone working from home. Being remote means a little more initiative is given to you, along with the usual responsibilities of any job role, so make sure to encourage any moments of independence or fresh ideas from your WFH team and watch them grow.Further WFH Resources
If you’re ready and rearing to document your SOP, use BPM to maximize your WFH efficiency, and track your processes for easy improvement – here are some extra resources to help you get the most from remote working procedures.
- If you’re in need of time-management apps for remote workers, some of the top contenders include Paymo, Time Doctor, and Toggl
- For those more nonchalant long distance video calls, try WhatsApp and Discord for reliable, secure conversation platforms
- For regular scheduled meetings for a group of staff who need to share screens or graphics, try out Microsoft Teams
- Remote: Office Not Required is a concept and method book for WFH managers and remote workers alike.