According to Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work report, 41% of respondents shared that communication and collaboration faced significant changes since going remote.

 

A McKinsey study shows technology that enables collaboration among employees is most valued among 80% of executives — a significant jump from just 69% in 2014. 

 

As employers throughout the United States brace for a return to the office, remote work collaboration and its effect on productivity will remain top-of-mind for leaders as more workers push for hybrid work opportunities. 

 

While getting back to pre-pandemic normalcy will take time, here’s a glimpse of what you can do to better your employees’ remote work collaboration and productivity. 

 

But first, here’s a look at how the last year of remote work shaped up. 

State of remote work and collaboration

Working from home isn’t new, but it’s only within the last 50 years that flexible remote work models went mainstream and gained popularity among large companies.

 

After the pandemic, a flexible workplace is practically a requirement and one that may be here to stay, according to the increased number of workers wanting flexible remote work options to remain long after the pandemic. 

 

The majority of American employers are happy with remote work, with 83% reporting that 2020’s fast-track to remote work was a success. And, 71% of employees agreed with their employers. 

 

However, data shows that despite the positive end result, 70% of employers struggled to adapt to remote work. This initial struggle may have had a negative impact on some remote work experiences, leaving 11% of employees feeling as though remote work had mixed results and 6% believing it was a failure. 

Why companies are struggling with remote team collaboration 

Early pandemic days were spent in countless Zoom meetings and across various Slack channels, resulting in an overall increase in time spent online. With many of us still behind screens, remote collaboration has faced — and may continue to face — its share of challenges. 

Challenges to working remotely: 

21% of employees report not being able to unplug

16% report difficulties collaborating & communicating

15% report more distractions

12% report trouble staying motivated

Source: 2021 State of Remote Work. Buffer.

February 2021.

More meetings, longer hours, and less productive

While some workers have increased their productivity since going remote, on average, American employees worked three hours more than they were prior to COVID-19. 

 

The culprit: meetings. Last year, American workers found themselves spending 5% more time in meetings and 24% more time in 1:1 meetings.

 

More alarming is the 11% increase in fragmented time, or working in blocks of time shorter than two hours, and extra time worked outside of normal work hours. 

 

As a result, 28.3% are having more difficulty concentrating, 20% are taking longer to complete tasks, and 12.4% report completely putting off challenging work.

How BPM improves remote collaboration

If you’re searching for a way to support your workforce and improve remote work collaboration and productivity, here are five ways business process management (BPM) can help:

 

Optimizes workflows. When work moves as planned between people and  systems, teams have more time to focus the work and spend less time working on the process. 

 

Automates tasksAutomation can make processes more efficient, that's true. But the real power of automation comes from the resources it unlocks. The less time and energy your team spends on repetitive tasks, the more time and energy they have for the creativity and curiosity that lead to innovation and generate value. Automation also makes for a happier team. 🙂

 

Provides a holistic view of ongoing projects. Planning and managing multiple projects is much easier with a BPM strategy. From a single vantage point, interdependent processes can be defined and harmonized. 

 

Centralizes information.  In a BPM framework, all data sources, tools, and communications are integrated and centralized, enabling the creation of a single source of truth and eliminating confusion due to missing or conflicting information. 

 

Saves money. A 2016 Gartner study showed that 80% of companies running BPM projects had an internal rate of return better than 15%.

Boost remote collaboration with BPM

In order to remain competitive during this transformative time, employers will have to adapt once again to keep up with the future of work. One way to do that is with no-code software like Pipefy.

 

Here’s how Agilize, Brazil’s first online accounting company, used Pipefy to manage 97 active processes, saved employees 3,500 hours of work, and increased ROI by 448%.

Learn why companies choose Pipefy to help them improve collaboration through better BPM. 

The transition to remote and hybrid work presents new challenges to collaboration and productivity.