Work Wellness

Workflow Process: Definition, Benefits & How to Manage

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | May 7, 2021
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The workflow process is a unique term to company management. Many successful businesses use that procedure to improve many tasks, which is why you should understand what it involves and how it can help you.

Even though workflow implies a change of the planning strategy, it can also make you a better manager and improve your company’s results. Therefore, keep reading if you want to know more about that approach.

What Is the Workflow Process?

workflow process

In the business world, the process of workflow is a series of activities that need to be completed so the company has an expected outcome. 

Although the workflow definition might sound unimportant, it’s one of the essential steps to create an effective work environment because it ensures that the outcomes are going to be what the company wants.

In other words, it allows business owners to improve many aspects of their companies. It’s an easy way to determine which areas need change or optimization, and which don’t.

Benefits of the Workflow Process

Striving towards a positive workflow brings many benefits to a company. Check out some of them:

  • It Reduces Risks

reduce risks

When managers focus on the workflow definition, they reduce the risks of anything going wrong in their company.

Since workflow specifically explains which activities must be completed and who is in charge of each one of them, people know exactly what to do. As a consequence, it reduces the risk of having to redo projects or making mistakes.

  • It Can Lead to Change

lead to change

When businesses rely on the process of workflow, they can find out if the usual procedures are effective or if they need some changes. 

Although change sounds scary to some, workflow process improvement can also lead to optimized strategies, which can improve the future of the company.

  • It Allows Managers to Focus on Strategy

strategy

If the company runs smoothly relying on the workflow process, managers don’t have to worry about each person doing their job. 

On the contrary, with a positive workflow, managers can spend time creating better strategies, doing research for future improvements, and more.

  • It Helps Workers to Have Time Estimates

When employers rely on workflow process management, employees know exactly how much time they’re going to spend in their activities. 

Likewise, focusing on workflow helps managers know a time estimate for the whole project. That, in turn, can lead to an effective workplace since the workers fulfill goals in a specified timeframe. 

  • It Improves Teamwork

improve teamwork

When companies focus on workflow process improvement, each worker knows what to do and the group is more cohesive.

Considering that all employees understand what their job is and what other people’s jobs are, they can work together to fulfill the organizational goals and boost overall effectiveness.

Guide to Workflow Process

guide to workflow process

To ensure workflow process management, you need to follow different steps. At first, they might seem complicated, but as you understand them, you might notice that they can bring many benefits to your company.

First, you need to identify all the activities that could be divided into different steps. For example, if you use a flexible working model, you might need to examine each of your workers’ tasks and determine which of them are similar and have specific stages.

Suppose that two of your workers are in charge of your company’s social media. That includes similar processes since they both need to research, plan, and make the posts. After you identify the tasks, you can proceed to the next stage.

Then, you can choose the type of workflow you want to implement. Sequential workflow works best with activities that have specific due dates, whereas state machine workflow should be used with more flexible tasks.

Once you decide which kind is best to ensure workflow process management, visually plan the procedure so your team can understand what they have to do and how much time they have. 

For example, if you choose a state machine workflow, you should allow your workers to have flexible due dates that can change according to the current state of the task. That works very well with design-related jobs, where workers often need an office standing desk.

Difference Between Workflow Process and Business Workflow

difference between workflow and business workflow

Although they sound similar, the two terms are not the same. The business workflow includes all the activities in a business – all the steps that the workers complete from the start of the project until they finish it.

On the other hand, the workflow process focuses on the expected outcome rather than highlighting the tasks that the workers have to complete. Implementing positive workflow is good to change a specific conclusion of a procedure because it allows managers to organize the activities differently.

Likewise, workflow vs process is another important distinction – while a process includes all the stages of any procedure, workflow is specific to a company and the outcomes it wants for specific goals.

Pros and Cons of Relying on the Workflow Process

A workflow process management is very useful on many occasions, but it also has some disadvantages. Check them out:

Pros

  • Workflow process improvement can help you organize better your team’s tasks
  • It can make your company more productive

  • It can improve organizational cohesiveness

Cons

  • It takes time to switch to workflow-based management, and it can be trickier if you use a flexible working model or have a hybrid workforce
  • You might need to learn a lot about it before starting to implement it

How Workflow Management and Project Management Are Not the Same

Instead of focusing on the workers’ tasks, projects rely on the bigger picture. Workflows want to automate different activities and optimize specific aspects of the procedure to have better outcomes in the future.

Project management, however, works best for unique circumstances with big processes that include coordination, planning, organization, and adaptation of different tasks. 

Final Thoughts

Learning about workflows can be tricky for a manager, but it can also bring unique benefits to the company. Consequently, you should try to learn more about that management type and implement the best aspects of it to improve your business processes, boost your workers’ productivity, and get better outcomes.

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