Business Technology

How organisations can successfully implement remote working: Part 2

4 min read

18 October 2013

The cloud, cloud computing and connectivity are terms that are now commonplace in the enterprise, but unless you work in the IT department, the value of these buzzwords is often misunderstood. Although many employees might be aware THAT technology helps them to work from different locations, it’s likely that that they are not aware of HOW the same technology can help.

The right technology and training should encourage even the most reluctant of organisations and employees to adopt some level of mobile working and to understand the benefits when it comes to productivity and efficiency.

Canon recently commissioned an independent pan-European Office Insights study of 1,671 employees to help understand how working practices are evolving across Europe. Although part one focussed on state of play, part two looks at the value that cloud and connectivity can add to businesses.

The value of cloud and connectivity

The report reveals that employees are starting to recognise the additional perks of mobile technology. For example, over half of the employees surveyed would like to be able to send scanned documents directly to cloud applications. This has a positive impact on organisation’s document workflows, as digitising documents at the point of origin reduces the risk of errors as well as increasing the security of sensitive information as it can be protected by encryptions and passwords. Additionally, it removes the risk of sensitive documents sitting unprotected on a physical computer.

Efficiency is also an area that can be improved. Employees can now access live documents through the cloud, removing the constraints of having to print the latest version and waiting until they’re back at their computer to update any changes. This also removes the issues of version management and prevents conflicting changes.

Additionally, employees are also starting to see the value of Wi-Fi enabled printers and scanners that can be connected directly to mobile devices and the cloud. According to the report, 27 per cent of employees say that Wi-Fi enabled printers or scanners greatly improved their productivity levels by speeding up internal document management processes. Having access to this technology will enable employees to print and scan without having to be at a work station.

Significantly, it’s only a small percentage of workers that recognise the value of connected office devices – supporting the claim that education is required. More employees are aware of the benefits of mobile printing, with 43 per cent claiming to see the value. Primarily, it removes the need to return to the central office with every document that needs printing. Instead, by using a digital workflow, the approval process can happen remotely. Employees that are away from their desks can instead scan and share documents with their managers to edit.

What you should be doing

It’s important to include all employees in the decision making process when buying new equipment and devices for the workplace. This not only prevents them from feeling isolated but also helps employees identify how they can improve their work process. For example, if an employee is happy to email using their personal tablet/smartphone, then why not provide them with a scanner to help them improve their efficiency? This links to the next step of ensuring that all solutions and devices match the employee’s needs for mobility.

Overall, it’s clear that employees want to be more mobile, and the good news is that the right technology exists to enable them to work this way. But the technology alone isn’t enough. In order to get the most value from a workforce that is mobile and flexible, employee education is crucial.

Francis Thornhill is European & UK marketing manager of Canon Europe.