It appears as if remote and hybrid work is here to stay for many businesses. With the proliferation of AP (Accounts Payable) automation, the transition to remote work was made simpler, but many financial leaders are still struggling to maintain a thriving business culture for their virtual workforce.
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A recent article in the Harvard Business Review offers guidance on how to maintain a strong business culture and lead financial teams in the era of remote work. Here are their top 3 recommendations:
- Keep the information flowing. According to the Harvard Business Review, managers need to “make sure that team members constantly feel like they know what’s going on.” When your finance and AP employees feel distanced from the organization, they feel more anxiety about what’s happening at the company, a lack of clarity around financials, and uncertainty about workflow. Your communication around those is extremely important for a remote team. You should be emailing more, sharing more information, and providing access to more data. When you partner with the right APIA (Accounts Payable Invoice Automation) provider, you can give anyone with the right credentials access to up-to-the-minute financial data, reducing uncertainty and allowing for in-depth analysis.
- Be clear about deliverables. Remote workers may lose focus or need reminding of what their key responsibilities are, what role they play in the approval process, and how they can function efficiently despite a remote work environment. During this period, people will also start to get nervous about outstanding invoices, exception resolutions, and other deliverables. The job of the financial leader in these times is to make sure employees feel confident in their role and in their team. The best APIA solutions also give your employees the data they need to make better and faster decisions to manage invoices, processes, and vendors.
- Make sure all employees feel heard. The Harvard Business Review suggests that leaders meet with teams at least once a week. In a remote environment, it is important to keep the frequency of contact high. Research has shown that remote teams can be completely equal to co-located ones in terms of trust and collaboration—it just requires discipline. Make sure no employees feel like they have less access to you than others. Don’t let distance foster doubt or suspicion among coworkers. Try to be available to everyone equally. According to the Harvard Business Review, “When you run your group meetings, aim for inclusion and balance the airtime, so everyone feels seen and heard.”
Following these recommendations has been proven to help leaders establish and maintain a healthy workplace culture, even among virtual teams. But the first step in establishing a strong remote workforce is having a strong AP automation solution.