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Document Imaging Works For All: WFH, Hybrid, or Fulltime In-Office

Document Imaging Works For All: WFH, Hybrid, or Fulltime In-Office

It’s no secret that the nature of office work has been permanently changed by the covid pandemic. WFH has been confirmed as a viable alternative to large, expensive in-person offices. Hybrid offices have evolved into a productive balance of part-time WFH and well-scheduled in-office work. And for workers and managers who rely on in-person collaboration, new office designs are making it safe to work together again.

Flexibility is the new standard for the post-covid office. And that flexibility includes a variety of technologies, with employers providing:

  • High speed internet and home office furnishings, for the WFH work model;
  • Collaboration and scheduling software to manage work time and location, for the hybrid workplace;
  • Safety-conscious touchless technology controlling entry, lighting, and climate, for the fulltime in-person office.

Some of these technologies overlap workstyles. For example, both WFH tech and in-person office tech fit well in the hybrid office. But there is one technology that is common to every workplace model: document imaging.

Document imaging supports productivity in any workplace.

  • In the in-person office, imaged documents save valuable space, letting managers convert document storage space into additional room for safely-spaced workstations.
  • In the WFH office, imaged documents can be accessed from anywhere, keeping productivity high even when physical documents aren’t accessible.
  • In the hybrid workplace, imaged documents support collaboration whether in person or remotely.

As employers seek to fill post-pandemic jobs, workers have a new-found leverage to state their preference for WFH, hybrid, or fulltime office work. The Harvard Business Review states that today’s recruiting challenges won’t be solved by the solutions of the past. Adjusting salaries to the cost of living, recruiting overlooked talent like older workers, and setting up satellite offices to reduce commutes all make it easier to recruit and retain top talent.

But for employees and employers to be successful, the workplace technology should be matched to the preferred workplace model. And for all workplace models, document imaging technology is a productive match.

Photo © mavoimages / AdobeStock

How to Save the High Cost of Hiring: Retain Your Employees

How to Save the High Cost of Hiring: Retain Your Employees

Work from home (WFH) isn’t right for every employee. Dental hygienists can’t clean teeth remotely. Construction, package deliveries, grocery re-stocking – all done in-person. If students are in the classroom, the teacher has to be there too.

And yet millions of other workers are questioning the need to return full-time to the workplace. Their work tasks adapted well to WFH during the pandemic. They remained highly productive, and after 15 months of WFH, their work/life values and expectations have been reset. CEOs want employees back in the office, but employees are resisting the call.

What experts are calling “the great resignation” is already materializing. Employers whose corporate culture doesn’t value employees are discovering that they cannot fill post-pandemic vacancies. Almost 50% of millennial and Gen Z workers – those with the greatest potential longevity for employers – say they would consider quitting if their employers aren’t flexible about remote work. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey found that 87% of employees who have been working remotely want to continue working remotely at least one day per week, and preferably more.

Everyone seems to agree that the hybrid office is the best balance between full time remote work and full time office work. 83% of employees say that a hybrid model is optimal, giving them many of the benefits of remote work. In a hybrid office, CEOs who value mentoring and collaboration will get the face time they feel is vital.

But the transition to the hybrid workplace is challenging unless it is facilitated by the right technology. Smart lockers for day use, for example, can be assigned remotely; when contents are placed inside or removed, the usage is recorded for confirmation. Document imaging technology supports the hybrid office by converting paper documents to a digital format accessible from anywhere. Imaging eliminates the security risk of sensitive documents leaving the office for WFH. And imaging reduces the spatial requirements for document storage, saving real estate costs.

The hybrid workplace cuts more than mere real estate costs. It saves hiring costs. The Society for Human Resources Management reports an average cost of $4129 to fill a job vacancy. With so many workers saying they’d rather quit than be in the office full-time, the hybrid office – and the technology to support it – is the best way to retain your valuable employees.

 

Photo © snowing12 / AdobeStock

What’s FAIR? It’s What Your Digitized Documents Can Do For You

What’s FAIR? It’s What Your Digitized Documents Can Do For You

FAIR has many meanings, but in the digital world it is an acronym. It stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable – principles that make data truly useful. FAIR principles are often applied to scientific research data, but they apply equally to healthcare, government agencies, and legal and judicial systems. When your organization images its paper documents, the resulting data is FAIR.

  • Findable – Locating specific data in paper documents is a slow manual process. Finding it in a digital document is as fast as the speed of electricity.
  • Accessible – Paper documents take time to pull from files, time to copy, time to distribute. They’re easy to damage and easy to lose. But once a paper document is imaged, it is safe and secure; access is managed and tracked; and distribution takes just moments.
  • Interoperable – Unstructured data is the greatest obstacle to interoperability, and paper is the ultimate unstructured data (affecting Findability and Accessibility as well). In contrast, the structured data of imaged documents is usable by different systems in different organizations. For example, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies can send and utilize patient data across systems.
  • Reusable – When data is “trapped” on paper, it’s time-consuming to find and extract it for re-using in combination with other data. But the data in imaged documents can be extracted instantaneously and re-used with other data sets to gain new insights and increase the data’s ROI.

When paper documents are converted to digital data, the usefulness of the data is multiplied. Make data FAIR, and make it an even more valuable asset.

 

Photo © denisismagilov / AdobeStock

RFID is the Time Management Tool You’ve Been Searching For

RFID is the Time Management Tool You’ve Been Searching For

“Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin said it, and he was not wrong. It’s a basic principle of capitalism. Disaster awaits business managers who don’t bear in mind the value of time.

Writing in Inc.com, Jessica Stillman reports on a mind trick recommended by Harvard Business School professor Arthur C. Brooks, who examined individuals’ time-wasting habits. Some people, for example, may want to reduce the quantity of leisure hours they devote to social media and streaming entertainment, but they find it hard to make the change. Brooks suggests assigning a dollar value to the hours spent bingeing: “If you consume the average amount of social media in America (about 142 minutes per day) and earn the average hourly wage (about $29.92), you are effectively ‘spending’ about $71 worth of time per day on this activity.” A study at the University of Toronto found that when people thought of their free time in dollar terms, they began to reduce the number of hours they spent noodling around online.

That’s not to say that all idle time is wasted time. Numerous studies have shown the value of the daydreaming, spacing out, and aimless mental wanderings that result in creative “aha” moments.

But when it comes to business, time and money go hand in hand. Tools which reduce the duration of a task, without compromising quality, have been continuously developed throughout history – for example, handwritten communications became typed communications, then faxed communications, then emailed, texted, uplinked, downloaded, and stored in the cloud. All these time-saving tools have, for the most part, allowed us to do more in less time. And that yields a financial benefit.

One such tool is RFID. Inventory management, where RFID began, is a labor-intensive and error-prone task when done by hand. RFID increases inventory speed by a factor of 20. A University of Arkansas study found that an RFID inventory system could count 5,000 items per hour vs. a bar code system which counted 200 items per hour.

Moreover, much of that counting can be accomplished automatically. Doorway-mounted RFID readers track every tagged item that passes in or out, without human oversight. And the count is supremely accurate; no need to spend hours reviewing and correcting errors.

RFID minimizes the amount of human involvement in a vital business task, and it assures high quality data. It’s one of those tools that frees us humans to do what we do best: think and interact. What can you accomplish with that extra time? More important: How much will it cost your business to not do more in less time?

 

Photo © stokkete / AdobeStock

Return to Work: It’s All About Options

Return to Work: It’s All About Options

“Return to work.” Many organizations are struggling to define what that will mean for physical space, for productivity, and for corporate culture in the post-pandemic world.

When office-based operations were forced to pivot to work-from-home (WFH) at the beginning of 2020, the hybrid workplace was in its infancy. It quickly became the preferred workstyle, balancing WFH and in-person office time. Offices were safer because there were fewer occupants at any given time, and social distancing was easy to maintain. WFH proved its value with increased productivity and employee satisfaction.

The hybrid office gives workers a welcome degree of flexibility they didn’t have in a traditional office setting. And yet it is an imperfect solution. Employees without assigned workspaces report feeling disconnected from the team and the organization. WFH requires technology and furnishings that may not be readily available in some workers’ homes. Less in-person time may have a negative effect on performance evaluations.

What are some of the options for space utilization and technology that will make the office workspace and the home workspace function smoothly together?

Technology options:

  • High speed internet: Many employers are paying directly for their WFH workers’ high speed internet service. It goes without saying that productivity, whether in the office or at home, relies on fast internet speeds.
  • Information accessibility: Especially in document-heavy industries, information in paper documents is less accessible than the data in digital documents. A database of searchable imaged documents provides WFH accessibility without the security risk of removing documents from the office. When workers are scheduled to be in the office, that same information is available without any time wasted searching through paper files.
  • Productivity apps: From screen-break reminders, to instant-join shortcuts for virtual meetings, a host of new apps deliver productivity support for WFH and hybrid workplaces. There’s even an app that converts WFH “virtual commute time” into an opportunity for exercise or meditation, promoting employee wellness.

Physical space options:

  • Smart lockers: Hybrid office workers arrive in the office with a lot of stuff, from laptops to lunches. Without assigned workspaces, they need secure personal storage. A smart locker gives them the storage they need, and it can be reserved remotely. An extra bonus: The customizable exteriors of lockers makes them an attractive design option.
  • Mobile furnishings: Hybrid workers often need to collaborate with different groups on different days. With no fixed “address” in the office, collaboration or heads-down work becomes simple with modular mobile workstations which the user can wheel to the appropriate location. Some of these mobile workstations fit into home-office settings, too, for use by remote workers.

Flexible work spaces and flexible schedules are intrinsic to the hybrid workplace and a successful return to work. With such an array of technology options and office space options, hybrid offices can become the perfect solution for the post-pandemic world. 

Photo © deagreez / AdobeStock

NOS Storage Solutions Assist in Pandemic Research

NOS Storage Solutions Assist in Pandemic Research

NOS is honored to be a small part of the fight against deadly pandemics. Our client, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was featured on CBS News “60 Minutes” in a report on rapid responses to pandemics. As part of their epidemiological research, DARPA has accumulated a vast collection of tissue samples and other specimens, some going back as far as the 1918 flu pandemic. All these invaluable specimens are stored securely in high-density shelving provided by NOS. As seen in the “60 Minutes” episode, researchers can easily locate one of thousands of samples in this space-saving storage system. The “60 Minutes” segment can be viewed here. We’re proud to do our part to help stop the pandemic, today and in the future.