For most of us, how and where we work has changed. While some onsite workers transition back to new ways of working in the office, others continue as part of our larger remote workforce. With so many remote workers, businesses need to ensure their employees stay engaged and productive to keep business operations moving forward and customer satisfaction high.
How each organization addresses these challenges may vary, but one factor remains the same. To sustain engagement and productivity, we all need to ensure efficient workflows and processes.

What is a workflow best suited to remote workforces?

One impediment stands in the way of workflows for remote workers and workforces – paper.
Information and data that remains locked on paper requires a workflow that moves that paper. Clearly, this doesn’t work (well) with a staff distributed across different offices or home offices.
Fortunately, extracting information and data from paper is simpler today. With the right tools and automated technology, manual paper-based tasks can be converted into seamless digital workflows that keep teams connected and increase employee engagement.
Let’s look at an example of how this can work.

Human Resources: A Model for Workflow Automation

Human Resources – recruiting, employee onboarding and retention, and promoting a positive company culture – is a central pillar for any organization. A lot of the processes begin with paper and offer an opportunity for improvement.
For example, Caitlin is the Director of Human Resources at a manufacturing facility. Her job requires compliance with several privacy laws, highly regulated policies, and consistent audits. She is constantly handling documents that have sensitive, personal, and confidential information.
Manual systems and piles of paperwork increase the risk of error and put a strain on timelines and resources to keep up with the movement of information off the paper and then the movement of the paper itself from one person to another.
Under the current system, a simple task such as enrolling an employee in the company benefit program is more complex than necessary.
– First, an employee must print and fill out the document by hand.
– Then, the paper documents must be routed to the accounting department for payroll.
– Next, the documents loop back to the health benefits manager for manual entry into the database.
Throughout this journey, Caitlin is constantly communicating deadlines while spending extra time trying to manage and organize all the other administrative tasks in her workload. Her challenge lies in overseeing the movement of paper – for the information it contains – from one siloed process to another.
But as we’ve seen, needs can change and change quickly. In this instance, Caitlin knows that to keep up with the sudden and ever-evolving needs of her business, she needs solutions that reduce time-consuming manual tasks, speed up response times, encourage collaboration, and can be easily integrated without causing disruption to daily operations.
Plus, she needs to keep remote workers in mind. Any solutions she considers must also provide offsite staff (and potential new talent) the ability to access and retrieve documents from any location.

The Solutions

Caitlin’s company works with Ricoh to develop a tailored strategy to optimize key processes. This plan consists of:
– Microsoft Teams – a part of Microsoft 365™ that features video conferencing, calling, and chat via internet connection for enhanced communication and collaboration
– A Ricoh multifunction printer with Always Current Technology (ACT)
Ricoh Smart Integration Solutions – workflow application services that expand the capabilities of the Ricoh multifunction printer
DocuWare – a centralized document management and workflow platform

Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams

Caitlin knows communication is key when you have remote workers. To ensure the best communication, she turns to Microsoft 365™ and Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Outlook, applications like Word and Excel and Microsoft OneDrive provide productivity tools. Microsoft Teams makes it easy to schedule virtual meetings via videoconferencing with screen-sharing features for presentations.
With her team connected on one secure platform, she can monitor and track progress of tasks through virtual check-ins and maintain accurate timelines for recruiting and onboarding. Her team can also share files and images within the chat application, and consistently communicate timelines and goals.

Ricoh Multifunction Printer and Smart Integration Solutions

Paired with the company’s Ricoh Multifunction Printer, Ricoh’s Smart Integration Solutions digitally transform documents with the push of a button – making records retention, document security, and document storage faster and simpler.
Instead of waiting for files to process through the accounting department, Caitlin can scan or email documents into the printer – in the correct format, under the correct file name – without the risk of it ending up in the wrong hands.


With DocuWare, Caitlin can easily search for and manage critical employee and company information securely, from one centralized document management system. With this automated system, she can share, edit and archive employee records while maintaining an accurate audit trail.

Better Workflows, Better Engagement

Now, with easily integrated solutions provided by Ricoh, Caitlin has gained more time in her day to focus on strategic business initiatives and less time tracking down paperwork. She has seen significant improvements in these areas:
– Better communication and collaboration between departments
– Centralized, searchable documents that can easily be shared with authorized users – remotely or on-site
– Timely processing of documents and employee information
– Reduced manual data entry errors

What remote workforce challenges do you have?

Ricoh understands the challenges that business owners are facing now and have seen how improved systems can affect employee engagement and retention – especially among remote workers – and, as a result, enhance customer satisfaction.
While this was just an example of how automated workflows can work to improve HR processes, the benefits of implementing these solutions are far-reaching and can create a positive impact throughout all areas of the business – no matter where your employees are working.
Visit Ricoh ChangeMakers for information on how we can help empower your dynamic workforce to thrive in the new world of work.