Businesses operate differently these days, and technology has been a key player in this. If you are a mobile business, you are probably ahead of the curve – but it doesn’t hurt to review best practices. Understanding technology and how it can benefit your business is crucial.
Some of the new work practices we have adopted as we moved in and out of alert levels will remain, which provides all the more reason to know what tools to embrace to best manage, measure and interact with staff working remotely, or on the road.
Technology offers so many solutions, says Andrew Radcliffe, CEO of business automation company 3PM, but using Zoom or Microsoft Teams and investing in cloud-based technology are key starting points.
Andrew advises using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to reinforce the usual work culture and bring teams together – so interacting is about more than phone calls and staring at a blank screen. For this to be effective, make sure staff have access to good cameras and internet connections, and help those who may feel challenged by technology. Andrew suggests keeping Zoom meetings to a maximum of six people.
Businesses should ensure they have cloud-based technology (avoiding the need to log in to servers) which is perfectly suited for working remotely. The benefits are many and varied, from payroll systems that can be accessed from anywhere to shared, live documents that sit in the cloud, working more effectively than emails. Simply send a document link and others can contribute.
Use cloud-based tools and software for timesheets too. This allows staff to input information, giving visibility to business owners, and it stops micro-managing, which can occur within a remote working environment, says Andrew.
He advises moving from paper-based systems, instead digitising information and putting it into apps, as this increases efficiency for people working remotely.
Where you invest in technology depends on the size and maturity of your business. If you have fewer than 10 staff, the solution is likely to be an off-the-shelf product and your up-front investment will be small. But, there will be monthly recurring costs of about $200 to $300 to get the tools you need to operate a cloud-based system. The upfront costs are bigger for medium-sized (more customisable) businesses.
Before investing in new technology, find someone to help create digital strategies for your specific business. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good starting point.
Andrew believes we will see a lot of efficiency gained in the world of business if we continue to use some of the tools we have adopted in the past year. Here are some of the pluses