Last week the COVID-19 public health emergency officially came to an end, but the impacts of the pandemic endure. More than three years after countries began lockdowns, it is hard to remember what our work lives used to look like. Video communication quickly took hold, athleisure became acceptable meeting attire, and pets got perhaps a little too used to having their owners around. While many of us are now back in the office at least part-time, the shift to remote work, combined with recent developments in AI and other technologies, has led to a need for a more strategic redesign of how work gets done.

Improving workflow comes down to both effectiveness and efficiency. Employees demand more flexibility, and it is incumbent upon managers to ensure the impacts on collaboration and productivity are minimized. In addition, as interest costs rise, Selling, General, and Administrative (SG&A) expenses are getting increased scrutiny, and employees often need to do more with less. Finance is often tasked with driving cost-out initiatives, including analyzing the opportunity and reporting on the financial outcome of actions. Leading teams today are already taking advantage of offshoring, outsourcing, and process automation tools; however, these opportunities come with challenges of their own, including time zone issues, limited controls over processes, and handoffs that can drive bottlenecks. Managing costs, adapting to digital tools, and working across multiple locations require visibility, transparency, and strong governance. Having data and reporting to track progress and hold team members accountable is key, and effective communication is paramount.

While another pandemic in our lifetimes may be unlikely, uncertainty is inevitable. Building resilient workflow can support businesses through whatever changes and events may come.

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