At this point, you have heard much about the productivity value of remote working environments and the need to develop processes that support them. With the recent work slowdowns, the “why” of remote working is indisputable. The question for many financial asset management firms is “how” do they go about establishing remote work procedures that support their business.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
Remote working is not simply doing work at home. It is a way of increasing productivity among your staff in ways that benefit both the employee and management. Firms have been having success with flexible scheduling including alternating time in the home and office, shorter or longer daily hours, as well as working remotely full-time offsite.
For employees, remote working creates higher job satisfaction by giving them the ability to manage work/life balance. For management staff, work creation and deadline stress go down since work is still done regardless of the employee’s location.
Many employees, however, worry that remote working may have an impact on their career path. They might feel they’re not receiving all the information they need to succeed, nor given direction when they need it. By using a cloud-based, workflow management platform employees can be in as much contact with coworkers and managers as they need.
The Challenges of Managing Remote Workers
For management staff, keeping in contact with remote employees can be a challenge. In normal office environments, people communicate through meetings but a lot of significant work happens through casual encounters throughout the day. For remote workers, new habits need creating, such as regular check-ins via email, group chat applications, and phone calls.
Technology has become a crucial piece of the remote working puzzle. Online video chat, shared documents, and mobile social apps are becoming more the norm. For businesses, however, the technological needs demand the sophistication that a centralized platform can provide. A workflow management platform connects staff across all departments, from office to office, and across the globe.
Communication also serves to support employee engagement, which, in turn, maintains productivity. Study after study has shown that engaged employees are simply more productive. The keys to supporting that engagement are ensuring that employees are valuable regardless of their work environment location by checking in on a regular basis.
As an operations management and task tracking platform, the ideal workflow tool is a solution to the needs of today’s team collaborations.
Your Platform Should Provide Tools for Teamwork in Remote Environments
The built-in tools of the best platform are flexible so that firms and users can tailor their needs to how they work. Any platform that doesn’t easily adapt has no place in the modern business environment.
There are three tool functions that can make this happen: Tasks, Workflow, and Notes Tasks.
The Tasks tool enables users to organize responsibilities in a clear, searchable framework accessible to all. Whether a task is one-time, repeatable, frequent or ad hoc, the tasks tool can organize the work within a clear, easy-to-use interface.
Within the Task function, develop and categorize tasks by type, date, user, and manager. Log due dates and times and the automated notification system will ensure that no task gets overlooked or forgotten. Everyone involved in the chain can have access through highly adaptable permissions granting on a need-to-know basis.
Examples of regular tasks to monitor on an automated basis include:
- Regular reporting on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis
- Reconciliations and treasury reviews and calculations
- Monthly or quarterly NAV and performance measurement calculations
- The compliance calendar for regulators, trustees and governance
- Counterparty risk, operational risk and credit officer reviews
- Automated document archiving
- Manage all personal or group projects
In addition to task tracking, the Workflow tool serves as a powerhouse of collaboration within the platform. At its core, Workflow gathers Tasks into a seamless timeline of work for team players to see where they fit into the overall process for these on demand events.
Any event that requires multiple steps by various people, regardless of department, improves with using the workflow functionality. By building out workflows, managers can track the flow for efficiency, timeliness, and its completion.
While individual departments can build their Tasks and assign them categories, the Workflow tool can pull together these Tasks across departments. The completion of a Task in one department, for instance, can sequence in Workflow to the next Task function in a different department.
The users and executors of specific job functions can be clearly identified for everyone to understand who is responsible and who they can contact for clarification for their information needs, task completion expectations, and time-frames to complete jobs.
Examples of Workflows that consist of regular, automated Tasks include:
- Onboarding / Off-boarding new clients, employees, investors or vendors
- Due diligence evaluations
- New business launch timelines and the parties and steps involved
- Re-balance funds or portfolios
- Evaluate new investments, portfolio companies and side pockets
- Capital calls
- New subscriptions, redemptions, AML / KYC and client suitability
A Notes tool provides task-tracking for a versatile array of ad-hoc working needs from the standard to-do list to note reminders and automated alerts. Users can design their own personal task-tracking that remains private. Individual responsibilities that users prefer to maintain in a more detailed or personalized way can be categorized and dated with automated reminders in one unified dashboard.
Tasks and reminders that Notes is ideal for include:
- Respond to client call or email
- Finish and distribute internal report
- Reminder to respond to senior management inquiry
- Prepare for client / investor due diligence meeting
- Greatly improve team efficiency and accountability
- Complete presentation for board, client or regulator
- Approve or sign-off on internal requests
Now is the Time to Develop Remote Working Procedures
Clearly, the current crisis has changed the workplace in an abrupt manner. Any Financial firm and their operations teams need an immediate response, and a flexible operations platform is the answer.
Remote workers need to stay in the loop of the greater office community, managers need immediate access to monitor ongoing workflows, and clients want to have confidence that business continuity issues are being met.
With OpsCheck, you can meet these needs with fast implementation, robust support, and the confidence you need to continue your best business practices.