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Home Working Revolution For Records Managers

What Will A Home Working Revolution Mean For Records Managers?

Friday, 1 May 2020

A by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic could be a dramatic shift in global working practices. As millions of office workers endure prolonged spells of home and remote work, the UK is about to embark on a cultural shift that will change the office landscape for good – so how will a home working revolution affect records management?

When it comes to electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS), it's vital to be able to securely retrieve, update, share, and save records, documents and data that allow us to perform in our job as normally as possible in what is uncertain times.

Whilst tech firms such as Zoom and Slack have witnessed a dramatic upsurge in usage, and giants like Google and Microsoft provide free tools for easier collaboration, IT and records managers' need to review their EDRMS and internal policies in order to ensure systems can be accessed and utilised just as effectively from home as from the office, whilst ensuring the integrity of their organisations information.

Taking your EDRMS home

The most important aspect of taking your work and subsequently your organisations information home is the security of the data and records held. Maintaining the highest levels of information security whilst migrating from an office workplace to home may be viewed as risky, meaning company policy will have to be reviewed in order to reflect changing circumstances, and to ensure best practice. Encouraging remote workers to go paperless, and ensuring they're using company owned IT equipment will help to safeguard device security and reliability.

Core to any effective EDRMS is the ability to automatically classify information in the background, allowing staff to focus on their job. Organisations need to ask themselves how their EDRMS handles integrations with a variety of content platforms, such as Office 365, SharePoint, Google Drive and Dropbox, that workers utilise to make collaboration from home easier. It’s not feasible (or practical) to have a separate records management system to cope with each integration, therefore it’s crucial to have a system in place that copes with various third party applications used by your team.

As you determine policy and your systems capabilities, it’s just as important to evaluate existing digital infrastructure. For example, historically organisation have relied heavily in on-premise data storage. Whilst gaining access remotely is possible, a home work revolution provides an opportune moment for organisations to re-evaluate their position on this front and migrate towards cloud base storage, if they have not done so already.

Accessibility apart, it may prove more beneficial anyway to store documents online. Using cloud negates the need for any on-site system administration, however do bear in mind that you become reliant on strong internet capabilities of those working from home for access.

Where does this leave physical records?

In the same way your records management system needs to cope with multiple content sources, it also needs to handle different content types, including physical documentation as well as emails, social media content and even conversations. But what of the physical documents? Naturally working from home will see a reduction in such information types, with access to printers reduced alongside a natural reduction in paper usage. Organisations still need to prepare for any physical documentation produced or utilised from home and update policy accordingly. Once again the security of this information is paramount. Is it worth your organisation ensuring home workers have a secure area to store such documents?

EDRMS platforms such as Micro Focus’ Content Manager (TRIM) do have modules that support organising and locating physical records by defining a storage hierarchy, particularly useful when employees have the need to store and subsequently easily locate physical records.

The future post COVID-19

It looks almost certain that post pandemic, many work places will introduce flexible working policies to tie in with employee wishes, which EDRMS need to be up to scratch, not just for the records managers among us, but for all staff to be able to quickly and efficiently retrieve records and documents wherever they are, to safely and securely update, amend or delete files.

Is your EDRMS working as it should be from home? If you think not, speak to our Information Management experts who will arrange a free system audit.