Set Up Your Remote Workspace

Set Up Your Remote Workspace

Whether your employees are in the office or working remotely, it’s important that their workspace inspires quality work and is safe to work for an extended period.
1. Set Up Your Workstation Initiator
First off, your remote employee needs a workstation that meets your company’s health & safety guidelines. The first step for an employee initiating the process should be the setup of their workstation in compliance with recommended ergonomics. This is a good opportunity to insert instructions or a video outlining the correct setup, along with inspiration on how to optimize their workspace.
2. Read & Sign the “Remote Work Agreement” Initiator
It is important to have a Remote Work Agreement for your organization. This is an opportunity to outline the expectations of both the employee and the employer. It’s also a good idea to cover off escalation procedures, communication requirements, and other essentials. If you’re using a workflow application such as Flowingly, the employee can download the agreement and sign it from here.
3. Conduct PC / Laptop check Initiator
With remote workers, it’s more important than ever to make sure that they have quality equipment and adequate security measures in place. At a basic level, your IT team will want to check that the device they are using is sufficient to run the required applications. IT may also need to make sure that sufficient security software is installed and that 2-factor authentication is being used. Finally, they will need to ensure that you have easy access to your systems and files, be that through VPN or other means.

4. Check VPN Connection Works Initiator
The last thing your employee will need to do is make sure that the connection that was set up is working seamlessly.

This is an excerpt from Flowingly’s latest process guide, Essential Processes for Remote Work.

Proven processes to help you manage a remote workforce.

Discover the building blocks for constructing a strong remote culture.

The Remote Work Software Blueprint

The Remote Work Software Blueprint

There are thousands of software platforms available to help you work from home, but which are really worth your time?

We’ve compiled a list of our 9 favorite platforms for remote work, the ones we really couldn’t work without.

1. Zoom – Video Conferencing
Zoom helps your team hold video meetings easily. It’s perfect for internal and external meetings since participants simply click a link to join the call.

2. Calendly – Scheduling
Change your meeting availability on the go and allow attendees to reschedule with ease with Calendly. Bonus tip: it has a great Zoom integration.

3. Trello – Task Management
Trello is an easy way to manage your tasks and projects. With various plugins, you can customize your boards to suit the way you work.

4. Naverisk – Remote IT
Naverisk helps IT teams deliver consistent service from anywhere in the world. It’s an impressive all-in-one IT services automation platform that keeps your systems running smoothly and accessible from the cloud.

Flowingly helps us deploy custom process systems in under a day.

5. Flowingly – Process Management
Make all of your processes and workflows accessible remotely. Run any process you want from home, from onboarding and training a new staff member, to processing a new sale. Added bonus: Flowingly gives you full visibility of where all your processes are sitting, and who they are sitting with. 

6. Intercom – Customer Engagement
Engage with customers and leads in real-time from anywhere using Intercom. Bonus tip: it can be set up to route conversations down the right channels, whether that is a help article or direct contact with sales or support. 

7. Canva – Graphic Collaboration
Collaborate on and share graphic designs in real-time with Canva. The perfect tool for de-centralizing your graphic creation, while still maintaining your brand style. 

8. Slack – Internal Communication
Slack is perfect for remote teams as it enables 1:1, team and topic-based communication. Bonus tip for pros: you can integrate other platforms to alert your team upon certain events e.g. when a new customer is registered in Salesforce, Slack will automatically let your team know. 

9. Cognism – Contact Data
Sales teams need contact data remotely? Lookup any business or prospect using Cognism, and even add them to a cold email sequence.

Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear about the software you just can’t work without.

How to Foster Continuous Improvement

How to Foster Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement identifies opportunities to reduce waste and streamline work. Broadly speaking, it finds opportunities to execute processes more effectively and get more from less. Although this approach originated in manufacturing, continuous improvement is an essential element to countless successful companies across every conceivable vertical.
For many, there’s little doubt that fostering continuous improvement can drive sustainable, long-term results. The bigger question is often whether it be introduced effectively across all levels of their organisation.

How individual staff can foster continuous improvement

As individuals within an organization, staff can encourage and support continuous improvement while also enjoying its benefits.

The Kaizen process is the almost synonymous methodology for this. The term itself translates to “continuous improvement” in Japanese.

Popularized by Toyota, Kaizen focuses on making small, frequent improvements to existing processes, and from any level of an organization. Kaizen challenges stubborn “how we’ve always done things” attitudes typically found in well-established organizations.  By way of making micro-changes, Kaizen eliminates waste and silos. It aims for standardized processes in: 

  • Quality of products, business processes and following best practices
  • Cost of resources
  • Delivery time and non-value-added activities
  • Management of attitudes, training, flow and documentation
  • Safe working conditions
Individuals can implement the Kaizen philosophy by: 
  • Using flowcharts or value stream maps to visualize current processes and identify areas of improvement.
  • Questioning the status quo in order to make meaningful changes to processes
  • Dropping the pursuit of perfection – no methodology can ever create perfect systems or processes, but they can continuously improve conditions.
  • Celebrating your successes and those of your team members in small ways to keep everyone invested and engaged.
  • Setting aside time for team collaboration on improvement projects

How leadership can foster continuous process improvement through systems and culture

Leadership have an equally important role to play as frontline staff. They can often contribute large amounts through creating a change culture.

This can be done by:

  • Empowering everyone to make small changes in their own processes. Small ideas can lead to big changes.
  • Creating an environment where employees feel free to address problems and pitch ideas. If the idea doesn’t work out, it should be iterated and improved instead of dismissed as a failure.
  • Holding continuous improvement events, providing team members with tasks to action to help new processes take hold within the organization.
While Kaizen can be highly applicable on a company-wide scale, Total Quality Management (TQM) is a methodology that leaders may wish to utilize or borrow from. Gaining popularity in the late 1980’s after the US Federal Government implemented it, TQM strives for customer satisfaction.  

Organizations using TQM typically adhere to the following principles: 

  • A strategic and systematic approach should be followed 
  • Customers determine the quality level 
  • Employees are to work towards common goals with effective communication and training ensuring consistent quality 
  • Organizations should define the steps that are required in any process and monitor performance, continuously looking for ways to compete.

Diagrams are readily embraced by TQM companies, including Ishikawa diagrams, flowcharts and check sheets. 

Aside from these systemic efforts, company leaders also need to make changes to culture to support continuous improvement by:   
  • Recognizing and rewarding continuous improvement successes, such as with raises, promotions, bonuses or even recognition 
  • Becoming a courageous change leader by supporting constructive disruption 
  • Leading by example, such as by being receptive to feedback or conducting regular self-assessments with vulnerability 
  • Thinking of ways to develop your employees, not just your product or service
  • Hiring with diversity in mind in order to benefit from a broad spectrum of perspectives and ideas 

How individual staff and leadership can work together to foster continuous process improvement

A culture of continuous process improvement can only thrive if individual staff and leadership work together.

Continuous improvement should be integrated into all aspects of the business. For example it can be included in internal communication, KPIs, personal development programs and job descriptions.

A shared vision needs to be emphasized through these everyday activities, reiterating the need to strive towards a common goal.

A suggestion process should be developed so that ideas can be easily gathered and evaluated. This also includes developing a clear system to follow instead of allowing individuals to implement changes at will.

Collaboration on continuous process improvement needs to be done through empowerment, involvement and suggestions, not directions or orders.

Achieving sustainable success

Continuous process improvement methodologies like Kaizen and TQM can help individuals improve their own approach to work by eliminating waste, while allowing organizations to optimize involvement from people at every level. As well as improving production and costs, continuous process improvement improves morale and satisfaction, leading to better outcomes and retention. Small changes can make an enormous difference, with a thriving continuous improvement process setting you up for sustainable success.

If you’d like to learn more about how Flowingly can help you on your process improvement journey, get a demo today!

Get your business flowing

Release Notes – 2019 R5

Release Notes – 2019 R5

Our fifth release of 2019 provides a more user-friendly Flowingly experience and significant improvements to reporting.

Here are the highlights of our December release: 

New Active Flow Experience

The Active Flow page is now split into Completed Steps (left panel) and Current Steps (right panel). This gives users the ability to see all pending steps assigned to them and/or others while simultaneously reviewing previously completed steps.

Report Module Improvements

The Report module has seen a major upgrade in functionality. Our improved filter system allows users to more clearly add filters or remove all filters at once. Report users will also notice a slicker experience as Flow IDs now directly link to corresponding flows. 

We’ve removed Step Data information from the UI for a smoother experience. Meanwhile, we’ve added new flow metadata which provides greater insight into flow performance and helps users identify active issues and look for ongoing trends.

Users can now download a CSV file, compatible with common BI tools. The CSV format also means you can now download large data sets much faster, without previous size and speed restrictions.

Additional Improvements

  • Improvements to Start Flows page and experience 
  • Ability to delegate work assigned to a single member team 
  • Ability to see the list of users CC’d on a Flow in the History log 
  • Improvements to validation around Intranet Forms
  • Navigation panel and icons have undergone a makeover to free up more space
  • Small tweaks and bug fixes 

If you’d like to learn more about how Flowingly can help you on your process improvement journey, get a demo today!

Get your business flowing

Helping staff adopt workflow automation

Helping staff adopt workflow automation

Change can be a doubled-edged sword. With any transformation, employees can face uncertainty. This is true whether you’re introducing a new CRM, ERP or workflow automation platform. The gains to overall efficiency are immense and accompanied by a far superior employee experience. To ensure that your employees face minimal disruption and buy into the project, planning the implementation phase and developing a culture of continuous improvement is essential.

 

The core benefits

At its core, workflow automation is about the linking of steps in a business process. It allows employees to focus on their actual work rather than balancing the processes that support them. Workflow automation has been readily embraced by businesses of all sizes, and it’s not hard to see why. Workflow automation offers:  

  • Greater efficiency
  • Measurability and visibility
  • Better collaboration within and between departments
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Fewer errors

If your employees spend half their day checking emails, always seem unclear on project or task progress, or are wasting energy and time on reviewing, editing and re-doing work, your organization can benefit enormously from workflow automation.

But how can you ensure employees see your workflow automation journey in the same light you do? 

Communicate effectively

People have a tendency to avoid the things they don’t understand. It’s essential for leadership to frequently and honestly communicate with team members about the benefits and challenges of adopting workflow automation. 

There can be a lot of confusion within a workforce around what “automation” involves. Showing your employees that workflow automation won’t replace them will help to alleviate some fear and resistance.

Focusing on the outcomes and bringing staff into the company vision will demonstrate why the effort is worth it. Be sure to reiterate the & benefits that employees will be able to experience directly thanks to automation. The same goes for communicating any expected challenges.

Finally, listening to concerns and taking on feedback will give employees a sense of ownership over the new workflow automation processes and keep them aligned with your vision. Employees intuitively know which processes are slowing them down, which can be improved, and which should be scrapped. After all, they’re on the frontline day in, day out. Getting feedback from them can inform your workflow automation on a company-wide scale.

Educate staff

Workflow automation does require staff to learn to use a new platform. However minor the learning curve, managers and senior leaders need to ensure support is in place. For example, helping staff understand the basics of documenting and improving their processes or providing training for the new process platform software.

It’s worth emphasizing how workflow automation will benefit the employees themselves in order to create enthusiasm for learning.

Understand the short-term impact

It’s important to be understanding of the learning curve as staff come to grips with new technology and an improved way of working.

Make sure to allocate time for learning and feedback. Employee questions need to be heard and addressed. The people who use the processes on a regular basis are an invaluable source and engaging them in the project is essential.

By acknowledging the short-term impact and addressing the concerns around this, you instantly build trust in the workforce.

Facilitate adoption

In order to allow the team to adopt your workflow automation steps, it’s important to facilitate opportunities to do so. This could be in the form of taking sessions with departments and teams to go over and work through process documentation and mapping together.

As a first step, it could be worth assigning a team to test and implement your workflow automation solutions gradually. This could start with process mapping and move gradually into automation. This will help to get collaborators on board with adopting new changes while allowing you to troubleshoot before a full-scale launch.

You may wish to seek support from the vendor when rolling out your workflow automation system, while you keep an eye on processes to identify bottlenecks and areas for further improvement.

A smooth transition

By utilizing workflow automation, organizations can reduce the time their employees spend on menial tasks and redirect focus to more important work. Workflow automation allows companies to achieve more consistent results by reducing expenses and errors. By following the above steps, you will be able to smoothly transition into workflow automation while maintaining employee satisfaction.

If you’d like to learn more about how Flowingly can help you on your process improvement journey, get a demo today!

Get your business flowing