When nominations roll in for 2020's "Buzz Term of the Year" you can expect "Remote Working" to be on the short list.
It will, however, be a crowded field, with "Social Distancing", "Contact Tracing" and "Flattening the Curve" among the early favourites.
The ability to work from home had been regarded by many as a perk for the elite, the lucky minority who had been granted the privilege of working flexibly. COVID-19 changed everything. Workers everywhere were forced, virtually overnight, to work from home if it was humanly possible.
Just as suddenly, managers and IT staff around the globe were tasked with making it possible.
Orchid Products supporting Remote Working
All of Orchid's Sage 300 add-ons are designed to increase productivity, but the following can prove especially useful when it comes to providing better support for remote workers.
Facilitates the sharing of relevant information between Sage 300 users in different locations. Context-sensitive Notes (plain text, formatted rich text, hyperlinks, small images) are associated with specific field values and/or screens, and automatically displayed.
Document Management Link
(DML) supports paperless, context-sensitive access to relevant documents from Sage 300. E.g. Upload digital copies of Invoices, Purchase Orders, Contracts, Product Specs, emails etc. to a shared network server or cloud-based repository and make them visible to any user who opens a related Sage 300 screen.
Removes the need for paper cheques, physical signatures and trips to the post office.
Generate electronic funds transfer (EFT) files for your Sage 300 payments, ready for uploading to your banking software. (The processing of A/R Receipts by EFT is also supported.)
Can be configured to monitor sensitive Sage 300 data and trigger email alerts to remote users when exception events occur. Use of Extender scripts can take this further, e.g. by using SMS or Microsoft Teams for notifications.
Extender Workflow can also support robust business processes, e.g. auditable approval of Accounts Payable batches without admin and executive staff needing to be co-located.
Remote Action Service
Takes mobility to another level, allowing you to securely progress Extender Workflows from any internet-connected device, without needing to be logged in to Sage 300
Smarter Remote Working Video
Nathalie demonstrates a number of scenarios showing how Orchid Systems made the transition to remote working in response to COVID-19, and shares ideas about how other businesses could work smarter remotely using Orchid's Sage 300 add-ons.
Automatic refresh & distribution of reports and BI cubes to your remote teams
Orchid's affordable Business Intelligence (BI) tool. Cubes can be distributed by email to multiple team members for 'slice & dice' analysis, with drill-through to the underlying Sage 300 records.
Streamline the setup, execution and distribution of Crystal or Sage 300 Financial Reports
Some Home Truths about Home Working
Working from home has suddenly taken on a whole new meaning, so let's get some perspective.
We're not talking about shooting off a couple of emails before bed. We're not talking about the occasional Sunday afternoon at the kitchen table preparing for a Monday meeting back in the office.
The most powerful software available will be of little use unless you have the basics sorted:
We're talking about home replacing, and becoming, the office. How do we make that work?
Technology is clearly a key enabler for productive remote working, but for many the biggest barriers will be cultural.
For remote workers...making a mental separation from a sometimes-chaotic home life is tough. Workers are finding that they don’t have the skills to be successful in an extended remote environment, from networking to creating routines that drive productivity.McKinsey & Company
Home Office Setup...and Mindset
The need for fast, reliable and secure connectivity is a given. An ergonomic chair and a good desktop setup, preferably in a separate room, are not far behind.
Just as important is a mindset that allows you to switch off from domestic matters and put yourself into work mode once you step into that space.
Time-based to Task-based thinking
In some cases, practical considerations make remote working impossible. In others, a reluctance to support it can flow from a lack of trust. (How can I tell that you are putting in the hours if I can't see you?)
A challenge for some workers will be self-motivation, especially for those who have been used to working with one eye on the clock. Similarly, the struggle for some managers will be to start measuring the value of their staff not by hours spent on the job, but by the quality of their work.
There’s ample research showing that virtual teams can be completely equal to co-located ones in terms of trust and collaboration. It just requires discipline.Tsedal Neeley, Harvard Business School