Executives often overlook risks and challenges when implementing hybrid working in their organizations. Hybrid working has become a significant trend, especially after the turbulent times of the COVID-19 pandemic. With increasing interest rates and inflation costs, organizations are looking for ways to save on traveling expenses while maintaining productivity. However, despite the growing popularity of hybrid working, many organizations struggle to implement it successfully. In this blog post, we will discuss the risks associated with hybrid working, particularly concerning business processes and process technology.
Organization Subject to Change: Keeping the Flow Alive
In hybrid working environments, there is a risk that employees become disconnected from the expected ways of working, especially when business requirements change. Consider the example of executives who print out standard operating procedures (SOPs) and attach them to their office walls. While this may seem like a pragmatic solution, it exposes significant issues and risks to the organization. Business requirements are constantly evolving due to factors such as new regulations or process improvements. How can the company update the printed materials on the wall to reflect these changes?
The existence of “shadows” within an organization, such as shadow IT, shadow processes, and shadow documents, poses a grave threat. Shadows represent the hidden and often outdated logic of an organization. Updating and refreshing these shadows can be a daunting task, leading to the continued use of outdated processes, systems, and documents by employees. While past work instructions may seem “good enough” in most situations, they may not be sufficiently accurate in critical situations, such as safety or quality assurance. To address this challenge, the flow of information on business process updates must be dynamic and living. Digital SOPs, accessible through web-based process portals, can help keep the flow of change alive. Employees can easily browse and find relevant information for their roles, as well as subscribe to updates. Unlike printed versions, digital SOPs stored in a repository ensure that updates can be easily distributed and maintained.
Hybrid Working: Overcoming Stagnation in Processes
In hybrid working situations, employees can quickly adapt to their working styles, which may result in a lack of critical examination of existing processes. Even within excellent working environments, there is always room for improvement and opportunities for change. However, without the ability to observe and understand current ways of working, companies lose the ability to progress in their business practices.
Remote working has undoubtedly brought about a significant shift in productivity, eliminating the need for commuting and freeing up time. However, it also comes with its own challenges. The absence of in-person meetings can lead to fatigue and drain individuals’ energy, hindering their ability to question and improve work processes. To address this issue, organizations must leverage the right tools and processes that transcend the physical location of employees. Task Mining technology can help identify patterns in processes, enabling opportunities for automation and compliance. Process Mining technology, on the other hand, can identify weaknesses in process performance through the analysis of digital footprints. By making these patterns and weaknesses visible, organizations can drive continuous improvement.
Processes Establish Meaningful Connections
Hybrid working presents unique challenges for new employees who may never have met their co-workers or have limited face-to-face interactions. Establishing trust and ensuring that employees are doing their tasks correctly becomes crucial. Digital SOPs, which outline standardized processes, provide newcomers with a sense of security and guidance. In the past, this knowledge transfer often occurred through informal interactions and conversations. However, with digital SOPs, individuals can learn how to perform tasks effectively and efficiently, understand their purpose, and know whom to connect and collaborate with. Processes act as a connecting layer between people and the organization they work for, ensuring a seamless transition for new employees.
As organizations embrace hybrid working and hybrid management, technology plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration and transcending physical boundaries. However, it is essential not to overlook the impact on processes and workflows. Processes act as the fundamental connector between individuals and the purpose of an organization. To maintain an organization’s ability to question, learn, improve, and update ways of working, it is crucial to leverage process technology such as process portals with digital SOPs, Process Mining, and Task Mining. These tools enable organizations to adapt to hybrid working, foster continuous improvement, and ensure productivity and efficiency in the new normal.