By Terry Antinora, VP and General Manager, Workplace Solutions Offerings, Xerox 

As enterprises continue to define what the future of work looks like, leaders are realizing the importance of flexibility in supporting a decentralized workforce to keep their employees connected, collaborative, and their businesses moving ahead. Employers who are hesitant to adopt digital tools will only fall behind. The most successful organizations are, and will continue to be, the ones that recognize that work is happening everywhere, and teams need tools to support that. We no longer “go” to work—our work comes to us, no matter where we are. 

In January 2020, a new report determined the evolution of technologies like powerful mobile devices, ultra-fast internet connections, and the proliferation of cloud-based storage and SaaS solutions were already fueling a rise in remote work. Flash forward nearly two years later—continued technological advancements coupled with the aftermath of the pandemic—have all but redefined what work looks like and where it gets done.

One of Xerox’s most recent product launches, Xerox® Workflow Central, a secure, cloud-based software platform providing access to workflow automation and digitization tools, helping today’s teams overcome everyday workflow challenges for unstoppable productivity, from any location, at any time. Whether turning handwriting into legible, editable, and shareable text, converting documents into audio files for accessibility and easy listening, translating documents to and from 40+ languages, or converting PDFs into Microsoft formats, the need for this has never been greater, and we’re seeing its value play out in real-time.

Working in a Collaborative World

An often cited concern about a decentralized workforce is the fear that collaboration among peers and teams will subside. In reality, the technology that exists today has never been more well-equipped to foster collaboration and seamless information sharing.

While Xerox Workflow Central provides a variety of solutions, one tangible example of its benefits can be seen with Aspen Pharmacare. The company is leveraging the platform to send and share documents that need to be translated and shared in multiple languages across their global teams and customers. Now, translations for Aspen Pharmacare are more accurate and reliable than ever, helping employees process documents faster from any location, enabling them to provide quicker, more precise service to their customers.

Working in an On-the-Go World

Far before the pandemic, there was already a trending shift in how and where work gets done. Some data suggests that remote work has seen a 400% increase since 2010. Technology advancements over the last decade have also accelerated at breakneck speeds, making it easier to stay connected while traveling, commuting, at home, or in the office. Whether it’s video conferencing, collaborative messaging apps, or shared cloud-based workspaces, a growing number of tools and resources to get work done, are at workers’ disposal, wherever they might be. 

In response to this broader market trend towards a decentralized workforce, (a trend that’s been unfolding for more than a decade), Xerox Workflow Central’s core capabilities were thoughtfully developed to enable tedious previously manual and repetitive tasks, to be automated using a suite of seamlessly integrated tech, to ensure the end-user’s experience was the same screen they are familiar with, there is nothing like having to do a lot more work, just to figure out a new system. Xerox Workflow Central works across a variety of devices and document types, taking the guesswork out of converting physical and digital files into usable formats.

Working in a Secure World

One of the chief characteristics of decentralized work is operating within cloud environments. While the cloud offers innumerable benefits, like improved collaboration and seemingly endless storage, the rise of cyber-attacks is leaving cloud environments vulnerable to breaches, and businesses are suffering due to unsecured networks and digitally unsafe operating practices. 71% of security professionals have seen an increase in security threats or cyberattacks since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to an IT and security professionals survey from Check Point and Dimensional Research.

While productivity is critical for business success, enterprises should be hyper-focused on ensuring their workflows are secure all the while.  Xerox Workflow Central is compatible with Microsoft Azure security at every level for this very reason. This means that even when documents are transformed within Workflow Central, they’re protected by encryption and password protection services, allowing teams to confidently access and share knowledge without worry.

Change Is the Only Way to Move Forward

Organizations—both enterprises and SMBs—that fail to recognize the way the workforce has changed are only increasing the risk of self-harm. An SMB survey from Xerox, released earlier this year, found that 75% of respondents are more reliant on workflow technologies, compared with their pre-pandemic setups; 82% say digitizing paperwork is important to their survival; and 88% view security software and hardware that protects business information as core to their longevity.

Embracing digital tools and automated workflow options to support cultural shifts is the only way to ensure employee retention and keep businesses from falling behind. Investing in digital transformation solutions will only improve team productivity, wherever that team might be.