How to Keep Business Workflows Moving in Virtual Spaces

To many businesses, migrating their workforce into a remote or virtual work setup poses numerous challenges. The main overarching challenge is managing workflows effectively and maintaining the same amount of productivity when physical interactions are greatly reduced. Having the right tools and practices is definitely a must. And if you’re looking for a way to set up or refine virtual work processes for your business, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will cover key tips and tools that will help you in managing workflows and making the most of virtual work.

Let’s get started!
An employee working from home

1. Review and Update Your Workflows Regularly

At the beginning of implementing a work-from-home set up for your employees, you may already have had new workflows in place that ensure proper communication and collaboration even when physical presence is not in the equation. 

However, it’s perfectly normal for this initial process to be imperfect. There might be bottlenecks in the workflow that can cause employees to be demotivated and frustrated if left unchecked. So as cliche as this might sound, there’s always room for improvement. 

And who better to ask about the struggles or gaps in the new workflows than the employees themselves? By regularly revisiting new workflows and soliciting feedback, you will be able to refine your workflows as needed. This will also motivate employees to do their best to co-create a seamless workflow that makes the best use of everyone’s time. 

2. Set Meaningful, Measurable Goals

As we’ve mentioned earlier, workflows for virtual work should be continuously refined to ensure efficiency and productivity. However, employee feedback is not the only source of insight when it comes to refining your workflows. 

Another factor is effectiveness. You will know if workflows are effective if they are able to meet certain goals. But before you can use the achievement of goals as a determinant for effective workflows, the goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. – meaning it is:

  • Specific or clearly defined
  • Measurable or can be equated to appropriate metrics 
  • Achievable or realistic
  • Relevant to the overall objective
  • Timely or time-bound 

3. Clearly Define Roles, Tools, and Communication Channels in the Workflows

For workflows to keep moving in virtual spaces, it’s crucial that everyone knows what is expected of them in the new setup. After all, confusion of any kind will lead to delays and compromise the efficiency of your business. Align with employees in terms of their roles or tasks, the tools to be used in every step, and the appropriate communication channels for every situation. 

Roles and tools to be used are pretty straight-forward and are often addressed thoroughly when setting up workflows. But setting the right communication channels is easily overlooked. It’s common for employees to have confusions like:

  • Should I send a message like this on the group chat or email it to everyone involved? Maybe I should place it on the ticket and just tag the people involved?
  • Which group chat channel do I send announcements like this? Should I just send this message to every channel available to make sure that everyone sees it? 
  • For urgent matters like this, is a chat message enough or should I ask for a call?

The confusion, along with the resulting delay and errors, might cause the workflow to come to a grinding halt. Furthermore, backtracking where a message was sent can involve scouring three or more different channels. This is why it’s important to pay equal attention and detail to roles of each employee, tools to be used, and the proper use of communication channels.

4. Get the Right Tools to Have Effective Team Discussions

Communication is a recurring theme when it comes to virtual work challenges. To keep the workflows going, you need to ensure that your business has the appropriate channels in place that will allow for effective team discussions. A few standard tools you’d need include applications for:

  • Team chats
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Screen recording

There are some tools out there that might include some or all of the above – so make sure to review your options well.

If your business needs additional platforms for brainstorming, you can also look for applications that will allow your team to seamlessly put ideas together even when they are far apart. You can explore options for digital whiteboards and/or mind mapping software. If you’re opting to try out any of the two, make sure to look for key features such as:

  • Intuitive usage
  • Easy collaboration
  • Ability to attach files
  • Shareability and ability to export the final outcome

Example of a mindmap

5. Manage Projects With a Compatible Software

If you don’t have a project management software in place yet, virtual work might compel you to get one for you to track your workflows and ensure that everything gets done. And if you have one already, virtual work can challenge just how effective it is.

There are many project management applications out there – with varying complexities and features. When it comes to choosing a project management software for your business, you really need to have a closer look at what your business needs. Some businesses do need the complex features, while some businesses get hindered because of them – at the end of the day, your best guide will be experience.

If you are still exploring options for project management tools, here are some features that almost every business needs:

  • Calendars, kanban boards,, and gantt charts for an easy visual and management of tasks
  • Dashboards for each user to track due tasks and project progress
  • Automatic status updates for everyone involved in a project
  • Time tracking for projects and tasks
  • Ability to attach documents and links
  • Calendars for all deadlines
  • Analytics for how a project went

6. Enable Employees to Access and Manage Files Remotely

To businesses that have embraced digitally transformation early on, office suites and digital document management systems are familiar solutions. For some, however, these solutions became a necessity to keep the workflow moving in a work-from-home setup. 

If you’re still refining your processes and tools for virtual work, then this section will help you distinguish between office suites and digital document management systems – and decide which one your business needs. 

Office Suites

In recent years, office suites have been refined with more functionalities that make them a go-to solution for businesses that want to create, share, and collaborate on files over the Internet. Depending on the needs of your business, an office suite might be enough. 

Digital Document Management System

If your business needs to adhere to strict regulatory standards – and would therefore need more sophisticated features for document storage, management, and tracking, then you need a digital document management system (DMS). A DMS would have the following features that are typically not included in office suites:

  • Built-in interface for creating document workflows
  • Document protection according to the set workflow
  • Automatic file naming conventions
  • Data validation to check for missing or misspelled information
  • And more! 

If you want to learn more about what a DMS can do for your business, check out this page

7. Ensure IT Support and Security at All Times

Implementing workflows in a remote-work setup is challenging by itself. With an added risk of cybercrimes during a time that is delicate for many businesses, you need to ensure enhanced security as your business carries out work in the digital space. 

By availing of Managed IT Services, you will be able to have ongoing support and enhanced IT security that your business needs as your employees transition to virtual work. The best part is you get to have professional IT help with a more predictable cost. 

What’s My Next Step

We at Integr8 are committed to giving personalized services that help businesses to grow. For your remote-working setup, we offer a fully customized digital document management system as well as managed IT services. If you would like to find out more about what we can do for your business, contact us today!

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