In one of the more important discoveries during the pandemic, workers have been more productive working from home than they were working in corporate offices before the crisis began.
This revelation was something experts resoundingly agreed upon during AvidXchange’s recent REVx on the Road event in Houston, Texas.
“Without a doubt, our company has been more productive since work-from-home began because of the pandemic,” said Joe DeDominicis, CFO and CTO of NRL Mortgage. “We doubled the size of our business and we certainly didn’t double our staff.”
Amplifying on this powerful insight, Ed Robinson, a CPA and expert on financial team performance with Robinson Performance Group Inc., said:
How to boost worker productivity also came up.
“Productivity increases when people feel involved, important and engaged,” said Danielle Chatman, a financial strategist and director of finance at Houston Exponential.
But even with productivity on the rise, workers have dealt with many challenging situations and emotions during the past year and a half.
“I’m having conversations about health and stress on a whole other level than before the pandemic,” said Heather Caudill, AvidXchange’s senior vice president of relationship management.
The panelists also talked about this being a time of transition for CFOs. The pandemic has made it more important for these leaders to broaden their skills beyond financial strategy and investments.
Moving forward, they’ll focus more on pre-emptive risk avoidance. That includes pre-planning to reduce financial vulnerabilities if another major crisis like the pandemic occurs.
“Most people don’t prepare for a disaster until after it’s happened,” said Robinson. “That’s not the time to prepare for a disaster.”
He talked about the rising value of workers who can help prevent these situations and other challenges. The most desirable are those who bring innovative and original ideas to solving business problems.
“I’m looking for people who take a problem and look at it more innovatively and give me a solution I didn’t even have on my radar screen,” he said.
Growing importance of technology
The panelists also discussed the importance of technology for generating more efficiencies and productivity and giving workers more stimulating work that helps develop new skills and accelerate careers.
During the past 18 months, Robinson said the financial industry went through a technology “big bang” and shifted gears toward more automation.
Automation is one powerful way, Caudill said, to alleviate stress and give workers more opportunities to do more valued-added strategic work.
She also mentioned the growing prevalence of machine learning as critically important to understand and use in finance, technology and many other industries.
Machine learning detects patterns in data that helps more accurately predict the likelihood of future behaviors such as paying bills on time.
The AvidXchange executive also cited the growing use of payment bots and sentiment analysis that will help deliver faster and more personalized services to customers.