With many businesses making an abrupt shift to remote work in light of the current pandemic — or even if your business has decided to offer remote options for employees for other reasons — it has become increasingly important for employees to be able to access contract records from anywhere they are. Employees who cannot access contracts cannot complete many of their daily work responsibilities, including negotiating and approving contracts. So you want to be sure they have the tools they need to be successful, including systems so they can access contracts at home.
1. Make sure all your contracts are stored in one place.
Finding a contract that could be in any of several repositories is frustrating enough when you’re in the office and can easily ask others around you where that information is stored. Finding that information remotely, on the other hand, can prove much more challenging. As you make the transition to remote work, make sure all your contracts are stored in one place. You should also check your naming system to ensure that employees can easily locate the contracts they need within those systems. Ideally, your naming system should be intuitive and easy to understand.
2. Use cloud storage that employees can access contracts at home.
With a cloud-based contract management system, you don’t have to worry about the servers at the office going down when no one is in the office. Instead, employees can easily access contracts from anywhere, whether they’re at home, in the office, or on the road. Cloud storage also provides an additional layer of security that can help protect your vital records, including your documents and internal systems, when employees access contracts from home.
3. Check your security and your permissions so employees can access contracts at home.
Many employees are shifting to remote work in a hurry. But you still need to carefully consider how your contract management solution keeps your contracts as secure as possible. As you make the transition to remote work for your business, make sure that you:
Clearly assign permissions based on the files employees across the company should be able to access.
You don’t want remote employees to be able to access contracts they don’t have permission to access, especially when it comes to private information. At the same time, however, you may need to carefully check your permissions to make sure that each employee has the permissions needed to accomplish his job responsibilities. As access issues arise, make sure you address them at the source. Don’t rely on complex workarounds so your employees can access contracts at home.
Make sure you have strong security in place.
You can’t control the security of the networks and devices employees are using to access work accounts when they work remotely. You can, however, control the security on your end. This is the ideal time to update your security. Ensure that you don’t have any holes that could allow access to your confidential documents.
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4. Make sure you can easily identify the latest version of the contract.
Since employees aren’t gathering together in person, it may be more difficult to pass on information about your business. For example, say you’ve recently modified a contract while working with coworkers in the office. Then, you might mention that it’s been updated in your next meeting. You might even share it with other team members in passing. While working remotely, on the other hand, it can prove more difficult to keep up with that information.
Use a numbering or naming system that clearly designates the latest version of a contract. Alternatively, utilize a contract management system that allows you to easily track the latest versions of each document. That way, you’ll know that everyone is on the same page and accessing the same version of the document.
5. Don’t forget about signatures.
In addition to accessing your contracts remotely, you may want to continue many of your usual business operations. This includes approving and signing new contracts. You may need to renew vendor contracts, sign new contracts with subcontractors, or bring in new customers for your business. In order to keep your business running smoothly, make sure you have an e-signature option. This will allow you to finalize those contracts, even when the people signing those contracts can’t meet in person. You may also want to make sure that your contract management software is compatible with the programs your vendors and customers use. This can increase their confidence in your business during an uncertain time.
Making the transition to remote work may involve multiple steps for your business. Keeping your contracts organized and easily accessible, however, is an important part of that process. By ensuring that you have the right security, permissions, and version control, you can keep your users functioning smoothly. A cloud-based contract management software can make it easier for your team to keep functioning smoothly from wherever they are and access contracts at home. Try a seven-day trial to see how it fits into your new WFH routine.