Work From Home: the New Normal During COVID-19
Tuesday, May 05, 2020
by Kevin Evans
Work-at-home has come of age quickly. Because of the changes in our world related to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from our homes is no longer the exception, but rather, the norm.
As quickly as our normal changed, many aspects of business have had to adapt to these changes just as quickly. Almost immediately, LRS began hearing from our customers who needed help to adapt their operations and business processes to a work at home model for a large percentage of their employees.
Manual processes, document sharing, handling and printing quickly became challenges many organizations needed to address in order to effectively continue their operations and keep employees productive while working from home and following guidelines to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.
Following are some examples of how LRS customers are adapting to the changes. Some of the motivation for these changes have come from internal process and others have been externally motivated.
A government agency had print jobs defined to specific printers within their system. With most employees working from home, the jobs still need to be printed.
The company is looking to use VPS/Email for report distribution and local printing at home for their workers. Learn more at: https://www.lrsoutputmanagement.com/products/document-process-automation/document-transforms
A large commercial bank realized there was an important, routine procedure they no longer had the ability to perform as their staff transitioned to work from home.
When preparing and printing customer statements to be mailed, an in-office procedure included a quality control step – samples of the customer statements were printed in-office to ensure the information was correct. This was done prior to sending the data out to a high-volume printing outsourcer who would then print the customer statements to be mailed.
LRS has been able to help the bank maximize their investment in LRS software. They are now utilizing data transforms from their core application to convert the data to a PDF so the employees at home can view the data and perform a quality assurance check before sending the data to the outsourcer who does the final printing.
Although this is solving a problem here and now in the short term, the bank is looking at other possible digital transformations going forward.
LRS responded to an urgent request early in the COVID-19 landscape from a large insurance company. They had a centralized print process that required staff to travel to several office locations to initiate printing, then sort printed statements, place documents in envelopes, then onto a mail room for mailing. This was no longer an option taking into consideration a governmental mandate to work from home.
This was an internal corporate compliance concern and they needed to shift to an electronic process: a digital transformation in technical terms. They’ve been able to transform a manual, mail-based process to a digitally enabled solution.
By implementing a new process whereby mainframe output was converted to PDF on their open systems platform, the insurance company was able to automatically save broker statements to appropriate systems folders and then make them available for online viewing. Brokers and customers are now able to view the information via a web-based client portal enabling 24/7 access. transformed manual mail-based system to digital portal enabling 24/7 access.
The technical aspects of the solution involved taking the AFP print stream and converting it to PDF. Folders were added where the PDFs could be stored for viewing. The files are now sent from the mainframe from VPS to VPSX and with the implementation of Innovate Mill to convert the APF files to PDF where they are accessible by the staff from their home offices.
The More Things Change…
While printing documents has always been a part of most worker’s days, the work at home model produces new challenges and possibilities. It seems that work from home is going to be more deeply integrated into business as we move forward. LRS has long been a leader in print solutions and keeping information safe. Customers continue to turn to us to solve these issues and keep their operations running smoothly and within the bounds of our new way of working remotely.