Productivity

What is Workflow Management & How to Make it Work?

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Aug 14, 2021
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As technology takes precedence over most systems these days, there are critical integrations that are being made. Primary benefits include reduction in human error, standardized processes, increase in efficiency, and more.  The first basic step of any workflow management process is to break it down into smaller tasks, clearly identifying the outcome and ownership and more details.  Let’s explore.

What is Workflow Management?

What is workflow? A workflow will be made up of a series of tasks to complete a larger goal or how tasks flow from one step to another.  Steps include identifying what has to be done, who is responsible for it, who needs to be informed, escalation matrix, back-ups, triggering alarms and escalations if missed, and more.

A workflow may be represented visually by diagrams of process flows for ease of understanding. You could create simple standard operating manuals (SOPs) to define the standard process at the next level.  Any deviations expected are also defined as many processes may have options.

What is Workflow Management

The key objective is to achieve the same result every time you operate the same workflow.  This offers credibility to the workflow. Hence, any workflow could have a series of processes based on contingencies of certain prior steps.

What is the purpose of identifying and creating a workflow?

Simply put, as automation takes over, identifying workflow enables computer systems to work, achieve the task, and report.  You can carry out automation for numerous repetitive tasks.  Process efficiencies contribute to overall gains as workflow management identifies any bottlenecks that hold up the process.  With automation, many processes are working remotely. You may find that some employees have been working from their recent additions of an ergonomic desk for home.

What is Workflow Management

An example

Here is an example. An air traveler booking his tickets on an online portal undergoes several small steps to procure his tickets. While this is the front end, the systems supporting his purchase are data-led research-based and work dynamically. Numerous business workflow management processes are integrated to get a traveler a direct and live feed of options available, sorted by travel duration, destinations, class of travel, dates of travel, travel duration and time, and more. This entire setup is only possible due to a workflow that the concerned online organization has created.

Workflow management can be deployed for tasks carried out by human beings and can be further automated if the process allows it. However, systemic integration by IT will need to be mapped and enabled.

Making Workflow Management Work

Employees, clients, and suppliers/vendors are your primary end-users of any workflow systems and processes. Therefore, different modules are built at an enterprise level to ensure all stakeholders are benefitted from the system-led workflow management processes.

What is Workflow Management

One such important group is your employees.  No matter the level of expertise, most employees have a better way of doing things and hacks to overcome processes, making the job easier for themselves. If their tricks and hacks can provide systemic efficiencies by deploying workflow templates, then it’s worth a look. However, at times, employees may not be happy with the workflow as it increases their work or there exists systemic redundancies.

Feedback from employees will ensure that the workflow systems and processes are covered from all angles.  Being end users, the system is finally meant to enable them to do their job.

To ensure you get their buy-in and commitments with workflow management, you can call out the following top three benefits:

1. Decrease in Multitasking

Employees often multi-task as they try and complete schedules and tasks allocated to them. If you have engaged workflow management, consider reducing multi-tasking for employees and ease their workload.  There are enough studies that with automation, employees can be eased off from multi-tasking. Employees can then use their energies on critical aspects to make decisions that humans do better than robots providing the human touch.

What is Workflow Management

2. Defines Communication Systems

The amount of time and energy lost while communicating to necessary folks and departments by a human is huge. Writing emails, sending notifications, and more takes time. In addition, during emergencies, employees may make errors in triggering alarms or notifying leaders.  With workflow management defined, you can define systems for automatic notifications. Such notifications or information may be at a pre-set time, on an event's happening/not happening, and more. Thus, you can prevent critical information from being missed as communications are strengthened.

3. Enhanced Focus

A report carried by New York Times highlights that an employee gets very little time between interruptions. Such time is limited to an average of eleven minutes.  However, it takes more than an average of twenty-five minutes for the same worker to return to the same task. This can be reduced by automation and clear and concise workflow management processes.  This leaves employees free to manage their critical tasks with higher focus.

What is Workflow Management

Transforming to Hybrid Office Using Workflow Management

As businesses progress to a hybrid workplace, basis employee surveys, companies need to adapt to the new normal.  How do you manage your workforces? How do you manage your office/ operations to adapt to the new normal?  For the hotel industry, cloud kitchens that deliver food have taken precedence; for airlines, it means a higher turnaround time between disembarking passengers to the next take-off.

With hybrid office set-ups, companies have to deploy stronger mechanisms to manage their employees. Securing access in a hybrid office layout, managing data on who is working from which office takes priority. Information like are employees working remotely;  what work timings are they keeping and more information has to be secured to meet local laws and from managing employee welfare points of views.

Important Workflow Management solutions like the Autonomous Hybrid Office are here to your rescue to support you in meeting your business goals.

Don’t miss reading our reviews on how to make a hybrid work arrangement work for your business.

Wrap-up

As a final word, Workflow Management Systems offer great benefits to any company and its stakeholders. Businesses, large or small, can get inputs for critical decisions for business leaders to take, turning businesses favorable.

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