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Remote workers lack appropriate tools to adapt to the new normal

Research finds that companies must proactively address the workflow and productivity challenges remote workers continue to face in order to drive greater productivity

In the new hybrid working environment, employees are increasingly using digital workflows while working from home because of the pandemic, but many lack the right tools and technology to fully enable remote work, according to a new report from Nitro.

In the second instalment of its The future of work report, the global document productivity company examined how workers’ document behaviours, productivity levels, job satisfaction and work expectations have changed during the Covid crisis.

According to the report, 46% of workers said their company was only somewhat prepared, at best, when offices closed in response to the pandemic. And as remote work becomes a permanent norm for many companies, Nitro said IT leaders must commit to digital transformation and invest in the right technology to improve their organisations.

The report also found that 56% of workers are still printing and 50% still scanning, despite more than 60% not having printers or scanners at home. As a result, 95% of workers see room for improvement in how their organisations handle documents.

The report identified immediate needs for IT leaders to provide better training, more automated workflows and remote working tools, and a greater focus on collaboration.

“We believe we are in the early stages of what is to become a permanent shift towards more flexible work, including largely remote work for many industries, and so, as business leaders, we cannot afford to be complacent as we think about how we need to adapt to this new normal,” said Nitro COO Gina O’Reilly. “Before the halo dims, we need to proactively address the workflow and productivity challenges that workers continue to face, especially when working remotely, in order to continue to drive greater efficiencies, effectiveness and, ultimately, engagement among employees.”

Among other findings in the report, two-fifths of workers reported being very productive at home, and only 29% felt moderately stressed, while 10% felt no stress at all. Almost two-thirds (64%) expressed satisfaction with their job, which up from 60% in 2019, and a slightly bigger percentage said a work-from-home policy was very or extremely important to their future job opportunities.

“While it is encouraging to see many positive outcomes of remote working, it is important to consider the long-term impacts of such a significant shift within the workplace,” said O’Reilly. “The nature of work has permanently changed and consequently, we must change and continue to evolve our thinking around the concept of workplaces and redefine the role of offices. Ultimately, we believe this is a really exciting opportunity to innovate around the workplace of the future.”

In a call to action, O’Reilly said that firms needed to assess the current document challenges within their organisations and that by doing so they would be able to determine areas lacking efficiency or otherwise in need of attention. Another key element would be to capture candid feedback at the source consulting with knowledge workers within organisations to get a sense of workflow needs and shortcomings, particularly in regard to remote work. O’Reilly added that it was equally as important to support the introduction of any new tools with “robust” training to minimise any staff resistance and ensure they are taking full advantage of any new software.


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