Best Practices to Keep Your Remote Work Strategy and Cash Flow Moving Forward
May 07, 2020
Many of us have had to change the way we work to serve clients at warp speed over the past few weeks. Our ability to do so by pivoting quickly is proof of our inherent resilience.
As we continue to weather the COVID-19 storm and adapt to our "new normal" the need to plan ahead and implement organizational safeguards to prepare us to succeed in the long-term is emerging.
The true impact of COVID-19 on our society and how we do business will not be known for at least a few years, however, we are starting to see evidence of some likely outcomes that we can start preparing for today:
- An increased number of employees and clients working remotely in some form.
- The imperative to use online solutions that enable data and documents to be accessible to staff and clients in a way that is secure and HIPAA compliant.
- Service-based businesses will need to leverage tech solutions to maintain a high degree of client interaction while reducing face-to-face interactions.
- Data security and cybersecurity planning will become essential as compliance mandates increasingly dictate how documents are stored, accessed and shared.
While you may have already started your own response to some of these post-COVID-19 realities out of short-term necessity, now is the time to assess whether the measures you have in place are ideal solutions for your long-term needs.
To help you determine what changes you may need to make as you move forward, we have compiled these best practices based on the SmartVault team's decades of experience helping businesses create reliable, remote client-service infrastructures:
1. Make sure your entire team has the tools they need to remote work long-term. You may have already run into issues with unreliable internet and devices. While clients are likely to understand this given the current situation, over the longer term, glitches and outages will interrupt your ability to serve clients reliably, so now is the time to assess what changes you might need to make in your internet service and computers. Start by surveying the tools your team already has, then plan to secure any missing needs.
2. Evaluate the cloud-based applications your team needs for remote work-and collaboration. If your business is already using a cloud-based tech stack, you are ahead of the curve! However, if you've been frantically trying to provide access to team members who need to work remote, use this "trial" period to test-drive the cloud-based applications that can make remote work a stress-free reality.
Make sure that you consider whether the applications you are evaluating for the management of sensitive client data, including cloud-based document storage and file exchange systems such as SmartVault, will provide:
Flexibility to work from wherever, whenever necessary.
Granular security permissions so you can ensure staff and clients only have access to what they need.
Encryption that meets the security and compliance requirements you have.
The ability to structure a secure, user-friendly workflow to keep your business running smoothly.
Integration capabilities with other key applications such as your CRM, accounting software and eSignature platform.
Keep in mind that you will get the most out of your document management system if it is the one, centralized place for all of your company and client documents. Having multiple systems creates an inefficient and disorganized file structure and could open you up to security vulnerabilities if each system is not maintained appropriately.
3. Start making remote client interaction the norm. While it may take a little getting used to at first, using a video conferencing tool such as Zoom or GoToMeeting to conduct client meetings can help keep your clients connected to your business. Providing access to a secure client portal to share documents between your clients and your team is a convenient way to maintain the speed of your workflow.
4. Do not discount the impact of a streamlined workflow. While there is an urgent need to get systems in place to support remote work, choosing applications that promote a streamlined workflow will help your business operate more efficiently now and in the future. The more your cloud-based applications are integrated, the better off you will be. For example, a document management system that offers solid integration with other key platforms will allow you to view files where you need to while centralizing the storage of documents so you are not managing multiple repositories.
An added bonus of selecting an online workflow management platform with integrated eSignature capabilities such as SmartVault, is that you can also get contracts signed and collect payments efficiently to keep work, and your cash flow, moving.
5. Keep cybersecurity top of mind for employees and clients. Now more than ever, the security of your client's data is paramount. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 to launch attacks. The SmartVault platform features bank-level encryption when documents are at rest and when they are in transit. This is an added level of security that is critical to consider when you are evaluating a system to handle sensitive information such as patient data and payment information.
Mandated social distancing is likely to continue in some form in many parts of the country for the foreseeable future, which means finding ways to keep work moving for clients who need you now, while also taking the necessary steps to define and implement a plan that will set your organization up for future success.
Building your long-term remote work and client service strategy with a cloud-based tech stack and the best practices above will help your business pivot easily and keep work moving forward no matter what new challenges appear on the horizon.
Abbie Deaver, Global Director of Marketing at SmartVault, has over a decade of experience in marketing and is passionate about sharing the importance of creating efficient processes with streamlined and scalable technology with the goal of helping businesses grow and scale. Abbie holds an MBA from the University of Houston and a BSBA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
SmartVault is a leading provider of HIPPA-compliant cloud-based document management and client portals for businesses in healthcare and other industries. For additional information about SmartVault, please visit SmartVault.com.