*The name of “G Suite” was changed into “Google Workspace” in October 2020.
Currently, many companies are promoting telecommuting as part of measures to prevent infectious diseases. I wrote this article in early June 2020, when the state of emergency was lifted, but I guess this trend is likely to continue.
As telecommuting continues to spread more rapidly, there are more discussions regarding the merits and demerits of telecommuting. Among these discussions, there is often a question about how to let the business continue as usual.
Therefore, in this article, I tried to consider key points for carrying on business as usual even in the event of an emergency.
First, let me jump to the conclusion…
As I mentioned in “What are Essential Elements for Telecommuting?“, in my case, I don’t feel any stress in telecommuting. This is because I am basically able to work in the same environment at home and in the office.
At Questetra I always use our own product named Questetra BPM Suite for work, but the key point is that Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based Workflow.
The reason why using the cloud-based Workflows for business is critical to telecommuting, is because you can work from anywhere with easy access to a well-organized/built business system.
Share business processes in workflows
For example, in the case of writing work, I receive a request from a leader, prepare a proposal to submit, and after getting approval from the leader I can start work.
This is a fairly simple business process. However, in the case of Workflows, the business process is visualized as a diagram, making it easy to share even fairly complex workflows. Moreover, it automates task delivery so that the person in charge can pass the task to the next person by a simple process on the screen.
In the case of Questetra BPM Suite, the current progress of the work is indicated by the “Token” icon on the Workflow diagram so that you can see the progress and status of your work at a glance.
Also since each Task has an ID, you can look at the page related to it, and can also clearly see the contents and the communications of the person in charge. Once you hold all this data, you don’t need a verbal explanation. If supplementary information or confirmation is necessary we use Open Chat, one of the features of Questetra BPM Suite.
Routine Report via a chat tool
Open Chat is a chat tool in Questetra BPM Suite. This is a sort of communication tool mixing chat and message board, where you can post a message to the entire company or send it to specific individuals or departments.
For example, we post the tasks handled that day and the next work schedule to Open Chat at the end of each working day. That helps your managers and coworkers see what kind of work you and other employees have done at a glance. I think Open Chat is also very useful for managing the attendance of telecommuters.
Although Open Chat is a business tool, employees sometimes (or often) enjoy talking about casual topics, and they use stickers like those used in social media to communicate emotions. Even though you are not in the office, you can join a conversation via Open Chat. Therefore, even those who are telecommuting should not feel isolated.
Only firmly established business systems can utilize the advantage of the cloud
We actually proceed with our business cooperating mainly with three elements: Workflow, the system built along with Workflows, and Open Chat. However, since such construction and cooperation are done automatically, it can reduce the hassle for you.
The reason why I can focus on my work while telecommuting is because the Workflow and the system are well constructed. And I think only a well-built environment like this can utilize the cloud’s advantage of a system accessible from anywhere.
If your Workflow has got problems, such as overkill and waste, with Questetra BPM Suite you can easily make improvements and new releases. Conversely, Questetra BPM Suite can visualize, organize, share, and understand business processes in Workflows, so you can be aware of problems. Moreover, it is flexible to change the system in accordance with the situation, which means it is resistant to disasters and emergencies.
In the past, a client company that implemented Questetra BPM Suite gave Questetra the comment that cloud services were able to keep the business running when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred (Read this more).
The client company accordingly uses Questetra BPM Suite for Workflows and G Suite for files and email. And even though the internal servers became unavailable and various other disruptions occurred due to the earthquake, the company was able to use the cloud as usual. I think this is an episode that demonstrates the system built using Cloud and Workflow which I mentioned above, is also effective as a BCP (Business Continuity Plan) countermeasure.
Considering these examples and the current scale of infections by COVID-19, the following two conditions might be necessary to be able to keep business running as usual even in the event of viruses and disasters:
- A well-built and flexible system that can quickly respond to changes
- The ability to access and share the system from anywhere