Managing A Remote Workforce With M-Files

Dwayne Parkinson
Sep 11, 2023 1:01:04 PM

In this post-COVID era, with remote workers scattered across the globe, organizations are looking for ways to manage remote workforces effectively. Out of necessity, many have started implementing management techniques that resemble the "modern" business management concepts that gained popularity in the late 1980's.

Concepts such as Management By Objective became trendy. They espoused setting goals at the corporate level and then breaking them into smaller goals by division, department and finally down to individual employees. If all the employees met their goals, in theory, the organization would also meet its goals.

With a remote workforce, management by objective, setting goals and measuring progress are regular activities. The individual employee goals and assignments are critical to communicate, monitor and measure. By contrast, whether someone eats at their desk or takes an hour's lunch is far less important than just five years ago.

COVID was the impetus needed for many organizations to experiment with remote work on a broader scale, and the organizations that have embraced remote workforces and adopted objective-based management are seeing the benefits. There is far less overhead for office space, they can recruit the most skilled employees from around the world rather than relying on just those willing to move to wherever the corporate headquarters is located, and most importantly, they're getting better at planning and achieving their objectives.

That all sounds great, but there's a very surprising barrier to successfully managing a mobile workforce. WHERE do we define the objectives? Do we enter them in some magic spot in an ERP system? Do we send an e-mail? Maybe write up many documents and dump them into a network file share? Maybe an overzealous manager attempts to track everything in some unwieldy Microsoft Project monster "plan." The IT folks might use a ticketing system like JIRA; maybe everything becomes a ticket. How do we manage this? Indeed, that was one of the criticisms of Management By Objective in the 1980's. It seemed like much overhead, and it was difficult to track everything.

This is where M-Files can offer an elegant solution. M-Files is a content management system which excels at managing unstructured content. With M-Files, unstructured content includes both documents and "non-document objects." A non-document object is anything used to define the context within the organization. It could be a client, a contact, an employee, a product, a part, etc. These non-document objects can be pulled into M-Files from ERP systems and other databases and spreadsheets and entered directly into M-Files. M-Files links all these "things" together and automatically keeps track of the relationships.

With M-Files, we finally have an answer to where to define our objectives for the organization all the way down to the employee. We can create an objective as a non-document object in M-Files with all the attributes related to it (i.e. Clients, Departments, Divisions, etc.). Importantly, one objective can also be linked to many other objectives to establish hierarchical relationships of objectives. Likewise, digital assets such as documents, drawings, images, and videos can also be related to the objective. If the objective for someone in marketing is to complete the new marketing campaign, there can be videos, price sheets, artwork, etc., all associated with that objective. If there is a ticketing system, the tickets can be linked to the higher-level objectives stored in M-Files.

Once objectives are defined, the workflow and assignment capabilities in M-Files can be used to turn the objectives into actions. Along the way, M-Files provides real-time statuses, making it easy to manage a remote workforce in an ever-changing world.   

For more information about how M-Files can help your organization meet its objectives by effectively managing your remote workforce, contact

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