The concept of remote working has long been touted as the future of work. But now, with many people working from home for the first time, the challenges and benefits of this way of working have swiftly become abundantly clear.
However, with pressure on the industry to make up for lost productivity, remote working presents businesses with major challenges. Some employees may struggle to be productive when they aren’t able to physically interact with their team. Others may easily become distracted or lonely working on their own. While all employees have to embrace different ways of collaborating with their colleagues and customers.
But that’s not to say there aren’t benefits to working this way. It’s clear that technology now, more than ever, plays a central role in enabling people to get work done. And that makes it even more important to ensure it’s being used in the right way.
With that in mind, here is our guide to doing great work from anywhere…
Demand information visibility
Businesses need to bring remote teams together by making information accessible and highly visible. This is especially the case when everyone is working remotely, by helping all employees to work as comfortably as possible without feeling “out of the loop.”
Mail Manager helps businesses to integrate documents with software like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint will also be vital to improving the visibility of information. Company directors, therefore, have peace of mind that project correspondence is available and visible at all times, even when staff are absent or leave the business.
For example, architect firm Caruso St John uses Mail Manager to store information in a centralised location and provide document and email access across its entire team. In the event of legal reasons, it’s then able to quickly and easily source information from a specific time period, which would ordinarily be a very labour-intensive activity.
On the importance of email management, the firm’s business administrator Christian Sager said: “It would be very unprofessional to not have an email filing system. For example, when people leave, their emails are gone otherwise. So having an archive with everything stored locally is key. These days so much is in email - not only communication but also files and attachments - so it has to be managed properly.”
With Mail Manager, businesses can say goodbye to those irritating email chains, avoid document duplication, and ensure they always find the latest version of the document they need. It provides a streamlined chain of correspondence that, with everyone working remotely, is invaluable for keeping track of email correspondence.
Popular collaboration and messaging tools help individuals and teams stay in touch with each other and stay on top of important business updates. However, employees may be more likely to negate these tools when they’re not in the office and collaboration levels could be impacted.
As a result, employees may struggle to understand tasks they’re being asked to complete, managers may have to chase the status of projects and deadlines could get missed. Furthermore, the business is now wholly reliant on email to share information with colleagues and customers. Directors have less visibility of what’s going on, less of a feel for potential distractions, and can’t rely on physical touchpoints to ensure people are happy and that projects are going to plan.
To avoid this, businesses need to bring some order to the chaos. Using machine learning and AI, Mail Manager helps businesses to file emails to a shared central location, which makes their life easier when searching for important project information, such as correspondence, contracts and approvals. It also ensures employees only ever work from the most recent version of a document.
A great example of how to enhance collaboration while working remotely is Australian consultancy firm Enspire Solutions. Founder and director Cameron Vella works remotely to his team on a different timezone, which creates project management challenges such as wasting time searching for emails that he’s not been included on.
“There are many examples where I've had to go searching for emails when people are asleep,” Cameron said. “For example, if I’ve asked someone to copy me in on something that I knew was critical but I didn't receive the email, I can search to find whether the email was sent it or not. If it was, then I'm maybe a bit annoyed they didn't CC me on it, but I’m happy that I can easily confirm the job is done without waking them up.”
Mail Manager ensures all employees stay up to speed with project activity no matter where they are in the world. They can quickly see the latest project correspondence from their team, there’s no need to play catch-up or wait for colleagues to respond to messages, and they are always best prepared for client and customer meetings.
Moreover, this brings peace of mind for business leaders who aren’t able to physically interact with their teams. They can see what’s going on with projects, assess the team’s current workload and have easy access to agreements that have been made, which helps to put disputes and risk to the back of their mind.
Minimise distractions and boost productivity
A recent GitLab study into remote work found that nearly half of the 3,000 respondents (47%) had difficulty managing distractions when working from home. Indeed, it’s all too easy for people to be distracted by everything from a shopping delivery and Facebook notifications to pets delighted to have them home all day or catching up on their favourite Netflix show. All of these things are far easier to do and be distracted by when working from home. But now, everyone is in the same boat.
The need for personal productivity is, therefore, at an all-time high, so it’s important for employees to prioritise their most important tasks and have a plan in place to make the best use of their time. And email remains a constant factor in this. It may be a major cause of stress but, with the right productivity hacks and the right software, it can also be an important tool in boosting productivity levels.
UK architecture firm Ben Cunliffe Architects is obligated to store project information for 12 years, which made information management a time-consuming task. It originally used Microsoft Explorer search and Outlook, which lacked severely in search functionality within filed emails, offered inefficient filing capability and limited storage space. Furthermore, the business found that former staff members had failed to file their emails before leaving the company, which meant wasting further time to fix it.
Mail Manager immediately solved Ben Cunliffe Architects’ problems, allowing them to rapidly save emails in one location and keep projects filed in an organised and simple manner. Staff are now far more productive and no longer have to waste time tediously filing emails manually. The software has also guaranteed that important information is stored and accessible without storage limits and enhanced organisation and speed across the business.
Mail Manager helps businesses to be more productive in their email management. The tool reduces the time and complexity of filing and searching for emails and attachments and provides the peace of mind that their important data is safe and easily discoverable.
Simplify document discovery
It’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed when working from home, so businesses need to make it simple for employees to find everything they need to get their job done. It’s also important to connect disparate departments and individuals working from various locations. By working from shared project folders, businesses can ensure easy access to the communication they need when they need it.
A good example of this is UK architecture firm Enjoy Design. The company’s employees faced a daily struggle of digging through numerous Windows Explorer and Outlook folders or individual emails to find the documents they required. It was a laborious and inefficient process that often meant they would miss email responses and chains and important emails could be locked in individual employees’ inboxes.
The company turned to Mail Manager, which immediately ensured everyone in the company had access to all project information by filing all data in a central location regardless of who received the email. The software has also been vital to helping Enjoy Design employees discover the information they need through its search capabilities and keeping their computers clog-free.
Mail Manager automatically files emails into the most appropriate folder and location on the business server. This ensures that emails are no longer locked away in individual inboxes and that anyone on a project team can access all information at any time. Furthermore, the software’s powerful search tool ensures that documents and emails can be discovered within half a second. It provides standardised email filing across the organisation, even when teams are working from home or outside the office, using smart artificial intelligence.
You can now say goodbye to having access to less information when out of the office, being reliant on old records, suffering from hoarded inboxes, and relying on one or two colleagues who know how to use key systems
Prepare for the remote working future
Remote working is likely to remain the new normal for the considerable time being, so it’s imperative that companies adapt the way they operate to ensure business continuity. It’s also vital that they ensure access to information is clear and simple for employees and that it remains secure at all times.
By delivering better access to information, organisations ensure they have more control, enhanced visibility into project activity, and a thorough understanding of what’s happening across the business. They’re able to see what’s happening across the business in real-time and enable to staff file information as they go, which is vital in these times of disparate teams working together from various locations.
Discover how Mail Manager can help your business with more effective remote working and how we can help you connect your remote teams. And, check out our top tips on being more productive in the age of email overload.