Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, employees have been transitioning to telecommuting roles. Its been the greater portion of a year now since the pandemic began, and companies are still struggling to manage their newly remote workforce adequately. Some companies have accepted the reality of the situation, while others are failing to accommodate the newfound communication requirements of their employees. The pandemic has genuinely been a test of resiliency, as market leaders begin to rely on new and innovative technologies to manage critical project assets and the communication needs of their staff.
Before the pandemic, the availability of remote work software led to a rise in telecommuting. Now, due to employee safety concerns and some government regulations, offices have turned into ghost towns, leaving behind only evidence of once-bustling spaces.
The Power of Communication Tools
It didn’t take long for companies to spot issues in communication and collaboration, as it’s apparent that gone are the days of casual office encounters, where workers can conduct impromptu meetings about the status of their project timelines and project issues. Distance creates barriers – some that cannot be overstepped without the aid of advanced communication tools, e.g., video conferencing tools, and formal workflow and document management software.
Document management software provides employees with a cohesive picture of their project roles, by enabling them to view and manage project files, while ensuring the correct file version is being used, in a location easily accessible by managers and other project members. A robust document management system also provides managers with the control they need over their company’s intellectual property by allowing them to control user access at the file, project, user, group, or file metadata level.
Furthermore, these systems provide automated notifications to ensure employees and managers are aware of changes made to documents, transmittals, and RFIs/submittals (Request For Information), also ensuring they are notified of when it is their turn to take action.
Automation is the New Norm
Engineering workflow and document management systems let employees manage their project lifecycles both remotely, and in the office, by automating what would usually be repeatable manual processes. Workflow automation doesn’t exclusively assist telecommuters, but can also serve as a simple solution for maintaining and even increasing efficiency in the workplace. Regardless of which industry they serve, engineers must conduct a series of review and approval processes to ensure the quality and accuracy of their documents and drawings. In most cases, this task is repeatable and requires the transmittal of drawings and documents from engineers to reviewers and back.
These tasks also require documents to be moved, copied, archived, published, or even deleted depending on the preferences of the company. All this and more can be done automatically using advanced workflow management software, eliminating hours that could be better spent creating as opposed to managing subsequent documents.
Don’t Forget About Compliance
Workflow and document management systems help users ensure compliance when it is most difficult. If your company deals with government entities, e.g., DoD Contractors, then you must ensure you are meeting all 14 Security Categories specified in NIST SP 800-171 as well as applicable DFARS. For other organizations, making sure they are ISO9001 compliant is an everyday task. The right electronic document management system can help you do exactly this and allows managers to oversee and record actions taken in the system, making certain each user is complying with obligatory requirements and needed audit trails are created.
Not all Software is Equal
When looking for a document management solution, it is important to note that not all software is the same. Many companies offer basic document management software with limited functions that can be performed simply using your computer’s operating system. Engine-Box (eQuorum’s Cloud-based workflow and document management solution) provides all the robust functionality mentioned above, in addition to other features proven to be useful by eQuorum’s customers. Moreover, eQuorum software doesn’t require client software on user computers and can be accessed via any web browser, ensuring quick implementation and easy, secure access without the use of VPNs.