Records management in a hybrid working world

By Glenbeigh Records Management, Tuesday, 9th November 2021 | 0 comments
Filed under: Records Management.

It is nearly 20 months since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. In that time a lot has changed and for many, the working world has changed forever.

At the early stages of the pandemic remote working was essential for some businesses, or business functions, to continue operating while adhering to government guidelines and it was facilitated largely in part to advances in technology. After an abrupt shift and adjustment period, this move led to increased productivity for some organisations and brought about more personal time for employees as they no longer had to commute. These benefits have reshaped the perception of remote working and provided a unique opportunity to rethink how we work.

On the flip side the many advantages of working in an office environment cannot be overlooked. The office makes it easier to build relationships with colleagues especially new recruits; it enables employees to connect with people they may not interact with daily which may result in them learning about other areas of the business; it allows for informal meetings and collaboration opportunities; it helps build a culture, and for those with kids and pets at home it offers less distractions.

In a recent survey by NUIG, 95% of employees favoured remote working while only 44% of managers believe that remote working positively impacts the productivity of their team.[1] As we enter a new stage of the pandemic where society is reopening, the debate around remote working continues.

Managing records remotely

Throughout the pandemic organisations had to support the records management requirements of their remote employees which involved coordinating the delivery of original records to home offices; providing scanned copies of records; and facilitating the secure shredding of confidential paper files from home offices. The complexity of these tasks depended on how the organisation managed original records pre-Covid and where they were stored. Some had digital copies of their records but for those who dealt primarily with physical records, they were either on desks, in filing cabinets or store rooms, or managed offsite by a records management provider.

While the burden of managing records was lifted from organisations that outsourced their records management requirements, they still had to manage authorised requestors of services and ensure employees understood access procedures. This was in addition to continued compliance with records management policies.

When the time came for organisations to plan for the reopening of their offices, they had to reconfigure office space and conduct clear-outs where required to make room for social distancing. In some cases where records were taking up space, they were organised and placed into offsite storage; scanned; or shredded if no longer required.

Moving forward

There is a lot of things that remains uncertain about how the pandemic will change our future. This is clear from the survey conducted by NUIG, as 75% of 2,100 managers surveyed have not decided how their team will work post pandemic. Of those that have decided nearly 20% have adopted a hybrid model.[1] This may be the solution for both the organisation and employees where it is feasible.

Managing records in a hybrid model

For employees that need access to original records for their work, hybrid working presents the challenge of coordinating the deliveries and collections of physical records to and from their home offices on the correct days. Maintaining consistency around when they are in the office is key to overcoming this challenge.

Another solution which addresses the challenge of managing access is digitising records. This makes it easier for managers to control access and provides employees with instant access to key information so they can do their jobs efficiently. The accelerated use of technology and cloud-based services during the pandemic shows business operations can adapt to new ways of working.

Automating workflows, such as mail processing, can also play a key role in managing access. Here physical and electronic mail are converted into a digital format for the secure integration with a digital workflow. This eliminates the needs to physically distribute the mail to the mobile worker.

Help is at hand

Glenbeigh Records Management ensured the security, preservation and authorised access to records for our clients during the lockdown. We offer a comprehensive range of services that can help organisations support the records management requirements of employees working remotely.




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