The American workforce has been undergoing a major shift in recent years. Technology has made it possible for workers to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, which has given rise to the remote worker. Companies who are able to offer a more flexible schedule also have a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting and hiring top talent. However, managing a far-flung team of employees can present a whole new set of challenges that businesses must address. Fortunately, business process management tools are poised to play a vital role in successfully managing and optimizing remote employees.
Remote Employee Trends
In 2016, a Gallup survey showed that 43% of Americans spend some part of their work week outside the office and for good reason. In addition to the benefits of a flexible schedule, employees argue that the ability to work remotely actually increases productivity and effectively closes the gender gap. In fact, workers who spend 60 to 80 percent of their time out of the office report the highest level of engagement with their work and their company. BPMs provide full-time internal employees and contractors with the opportunity to work from home or in the field while still providing employers with ways to monitor, analyze and improve productivity.
How BPMs Create the Right Environment for Remote Workers
There are some skeptics that claim BPMs amount to more oversight that makes employees feel micro-managed. In reality, the opposite tends to be true: remote employees who use BPMs to communicate, collaborate and contribute to the company actually report higher job satisfaction. Streamlined processes allow them to make better use of their time and avoid getting bogged down in repetitive tasks. Employees also appreciate the level of transparency that comes with BPMs. Their actions are fully documented and tracked and they are able to stay organized through the used of a centralized dashboard.
Business process management tools also help to create a company culture that is focused on continued improvement whether the employee is in the office or not. Performance data can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of employees and establish mentoring relationships that help empower employees. This sets employees up for success and ensure that they continue to grow and acquire news skills that can help them move up the ranks.
Challenges of Managing Remote Workers
While remote workers enjoy clear benefits, employers also experience a wide range of advantages although they need to be balanced out with the right management tools. As hiring remote contractors and offering more flexibility to full-time employees began to gain momentum, employers needed a way to hold workers accountable. In the past, companies who were looking to build a workforce of remote workers would partner with a freelance provider. The problem is that these services come with their own fees, which drives up the overall cost of operation. These costs are passed onto the clients and can leave them wondering exactly where their money is going.
BPMs allow businesses to run operations from a headquarters and manage hundreds or thousands of remote workers without having to pay extra fees. Companies can have easy access to all the tools they need to manage projects, track employees and identify gaps in efficiency where productivity could be improved. The result is a drastic savings in spending and a reduction in administrative costs.
In addition, BPMs provide a way to see exactly who is contributing to each project and make team members feel valued. Ultimately, this approach allows for more efficient operations that reduce overhead costs and free up money within the budget to hire more remote workers and promote growth.
Go Global with Top Talent
The ability to collaborate with remote workers and tap into talent from around the world also allows small businesses to compete with more established companies on a global level. BPM systems allow companies to improve communication and implement more efficient workflows that effectively eliminate delays and allow products and service to make it to market faster. This level of collaboration and innovation is something that is difficult to achieve when relying solely on internal employees. Going outside the boundaries of your business can help your identify new areas for inquiry and BPMs can help create and improve processes that speed up the research and development phase.
There is no denying that BPMs represent the future of business when it comes to both improving communication and collaboration and improving efficiency through streamlined processes. The potential for these tools to be used in new ways to stay competitive and drive innovation is only limited by the imagination. Opening the doors for remote workers, both in the form of contract workers and internal employees, is just one way BPMs are allowing even small business to operate on a large scale and compete with the big guys.
Want to know how BPM can help expand your remote employee base? Let's Talk!