Evolution of the modern workplace is inevitable, though the speed and complexity at which it occurs is ever increasing. In tandem with this rapid development has come the hybrid workplace, one that consists of in-office tasks as well as those done remotely. As many traditional office spaces have transitioned into multi-faceted networks linked by technology, efficient collaboration between workers and teams has become paramount. When a last-minute budget issue arises, or when a phase in annual planning needs a big update in the eleventh hour, how do finance professionals respond to this need to make immediate changes?
As working from home has become a more commonly shared experience, defining specific parameters for communication between remote workers is becoming increasingly more consequential. This is not only true of workplace efficiency, but for the workplace itself. Qualtrics has recently reported that in 2021, 35 percent of workers surveyed said they would be more inclined to seek new work if asked to return to the office full-time. We can assume that the hybrid workplace is here to stay. Therefore, technology solutions implemented today should not be viewed as a temporary solution, but a fresh start.
Evolving with the Hybrid Workplace
No matter the type of work, whether it is in person or remote, businesses are entering an era in which collaboration will require skillfully shifting between digital platforms. How graceful this navigation will be is entirely dependent on both the capability and accessibility of the technology a business uses. According to Gartner, one of the biggest trends shaping the digital workplace is the implementation of business-led technology to bridge gaps in efficiency. Among the top objectives reported by non-IT staff who are advancing technological capabilities, we see “[improving and standardizing] the quality of work or business processes” and “[improving] the quality or speed of decision making.” Tackling these concerns begins with asking what successful models of these processes already exist.
One such model of simplifying workflow demands is through streamlining data into a single space, reduces human error, saves time and can provide consistent information across all departments. Such was the case for Senaatti, a partner of the Finnish government responsible for designing effective work environments for their clients. By implementing a system that integrates all budget planning, Senaati enabled the optimization of financial planning and reporting consistency. Planning necessitates accuracy and clarity in order to be truly effective.
A powerful method for handling complex operational exigencies, especially with asynchronous work distribution, is automating data loads. Finance departments have had to trek into new digital territory to search for ways they can disseminate complex information–especially information that is prone to change–with other departments in fewer, clearer steps. A successful overhauling of sluggish analytics and reporting systems that are vulnerable to errors can be observed in the finance team at Cleanseas, a global leader in sustainable commercial fishing. Cleanseas found a solution to improve their collaboration and reduce response time by enabling faster, automated data reporting. By addressing the needs of better user experience and streamlined reporting, they were able to increase the flexibility and functionality of their business planning processes.
Adopt to Adapt, Consolidate to Collaborate
Although adapting to new systems takes time for an individual employee, let alone an entire workplace, the finance function only stands to benefit from making crucial decisions on clear, accurate data. It is easy to see why finance professionals are shaping the hybrid workplace through simplifying their operational processes. Getting ahead of the curve means adapting and evolving with this dynamic form of work distribution. This means adopting simpler methods to adapt to complex work demands; consolidate effectively to collaborate more efficiently. Finding the right approach for your team is not unlike fitting a glass slipper, but the search and ultimately the solution is worth the gains made in time, consistency and business performance.
Tim Caudill has over two decades of domain expertise primarily focusing on financial software implementation as well as leading corporate finance teams. As Director of Solution Advisory at Jedox, Inc., Tim is responsible for showing how Enterprise Performance Management solutions advance the digital transformation journey.