16 March 2022
Hybrid and remote working; secure document management is a must
The pandemic changed everything
The pandemic changed working lives and work practices forever. In early 2020, millions of people started working from home overnight, literally. The plusses and minuses of that enforced social experiment have been debated at length and in-depth.
With the relative freedom of remote working and increased average working hours reported by many, some concerns were raised by business leaders. Trust (or lack of) about so many people effectively working unsupervised and in less structured environments largely disappeared, albeit temporarily. Other, bigger, concerns were more apparent.
Although some businesses later communicated something somewhere between reticence and inherent distrust about their teams working from home, many didn't, and widespread reports of reduced productivity didn’t eventuate. Employees, very largely, got on with it.
Concerns and risks around hybrid and remote working
Concerns emerged around loneliness, lack of interaction – particularly for younger workers – and ultimately, possible impacts on mental health. Much of the media and business focus was on the people side of things as businesses hunkered down with summer approaching.
Security became a bigger concern than it had been. With millions of people now working at home challenges emerged about how businesses would manage information, data and documents. Those concerns weren’t just about physical documentation – files and documents lying around homes with young children or in flat shares. Secure disposal of physical documents also needed to be considered. Additionally, a larger scale concern reared its head. With significantly increased numbers of people working at home… what about online security, sharing files, emailing documents and potential cyber security threats?
Needed! Easy, ready access…
In addition to concerns about document security there was the not-inconsequential matter of employees needing easy, ready access to documents, files and data so they could actually work remotely. Organisations need rigid document and data security processes in place to avoid potentially costly censure. Clearly, with limited employee mobility during the pandemic, paper-based storage solutions weren’t going to be much use. Businesses needed to consider document management solutions or extending existing systems and processes to meet the changed demand and situation, while remaining flexible.
What do organisations need in a data management solution?
What criteria needed satisfying?
- Quick, ready access to documents.
- Confidence that documents would be held securely.
- Access control.
- Digitisation and storage of older documents.
- A system that would leave an audit trail.
- Solid search mechanisms.
- An auto retention/data purging function.
The move to hybrid working required a major rethink for businesses. Employees and team members need access wherever they’re working in order to function effectively. An effective document storage system needs to work holistically with the business’s IT infrastructure. It needs to be centralised, accessible anywhere and secure to avoid impacting productivity. Additionally, effective access control measures ensure only the right people have access to certain data and information.
It’s also critical that any new solution considers cyber security with the risk of breaches and attacks. The current conflict in Eastern Europe has seen an increase in the threat of cyber-attacks on big business and government targets in the UK.
Organisations also need to be mindful that penalties for security breaches as a result of negligence are heavier than in the past.
Solutions to this challenge abound, with iTrent Document Manager from MHR and DLX the chosen option for many large organisations. Security, easy access, time and office space savings are delivered, freeing up internal resources while providing peace of mind.
The implementation of iTrent Document Manager at Queen’s University Belfast significantly improved working practices, delivering benefits across different areas of the university. See our Queen’s case study.
The ‘workplace (r)evolution’
Whether or not the pandemic effectively spawned what we now call ‘hybrid working’ or merely accelerated something that was happening anyway is open to debate. It doesn’t matter; this new way of working is here to stay. The question is how it will evolve from here. How will it change behaviours? Social interaction? What are the benefits? Negatives? What increased levels of risk are there to organisations? What can they do to mitigate those risks? And what can organisations do to help facilitate smoother operations? A robust document management system will go some considerable way to answering those questions.