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As many businesses have started to adjust to the ‘new’ normal, remote working teams are surging in number. For many employees, working from home can be a struggle with added distractions and little experience prioritizing—especially if sharing a home with a spouse or children. However, it is important to understand that with the right tools, remote work teams can outperform their in-office counterparts. Remote work teams often enjoy reduced stress from not commuting to work and increased availability as a result of a more flexible schedule. This article will discuss 10 tips for increasing a remote team’s productivity.

 

Implement the Right Tools

For any workforce, being equipped and trained to use the right tools for the job is hugely important. Having the right tools can be the difference between a highly efficient team and a team that struggles to communicate and accomplish its goals. When choosing tools for your workforce, remember that one size doesn’t fit all and having tools that integrate well with one another can help increase efficiency. Below is a list of five tools all organizations need to secure and implement within their remote work teams in order to maximize productivity and efficiency.

  1. Collaboration Platform
  2. Meeting Software
  3. Scheduling Software
  4. Digital Signature & Digital Transaction Management Software
  5. Hardware & Internet

For further details  on the five tools, please read our blog article, Five Tools for Increasing Efficiency When Working from Home.

 

Set SMART Goals

Goal setting is like using a maps app to get to a new destination. The maps app allows you to anticipate each turn until you reach your destination. Setting goals allows you to clearly define steps needed in order to achieve the goals. In order to develop effective goals, they should be SMART:

  • Specific – state what you will accomplish using action words
  • Measurable – ensure you can evaluate if the goal has been accomplished, think data
  • Attainable – Is the goal within the scope of your team? If it isn’t then consider changing
  • Relevant – Does the goal improve the business?
  • Time-bound – set a deadline and stick to it

Setting SMART goals is a great starting point to ensuring transparency for the team and ensuring everyone is working towards common goals.

 

Maximize Mornings

Getting the day off to a productive start is a sure-fire way to increase the odds of an overall productive day. Setting times with team members to check-in each morning can help set the tone for the day and ensure every team member understands how they fit into the day’s goals.

 

If you are a team that is in relatively close geographic location, consider establishing a daily virtual check-in. This morning check-in can be a quick stand-up meeting where everyone briefly says their top three priorities for the day. Remember, setting the tone at the beginning of the day can help employees who are having trouble with productivity start their day off on a positive note.

 

However, maximizing mornings to set the tone for the day doesn’t mean taking away remote teams’ flexibility. Remember that working remotely also allows for you to work when you are most productive, so you should take advantage, if possible.

 

Encourage Dedicated Work-spaces

If you are a manager or supervisor of a remote team, you have little control of your employee’s work-spaces. However, setting guidelines and providing tips to employees about creating a workspace that is conducive to increased productivity is a great way to show you are invested in your team’s success. Here is a short list of recommendations for a dedicated workspace:

  • Identify a dedicated workspace that is self-contained. If you do not have the space for a self-contained space, set-up your office in an area with as few distractions as possible.
  • Make sure your workspace has as much light as possible, preferably natural light.
  • Utilize multiple computer screens.
  • Limit clutter in your workspace.

Having a dedicated workspace will not guarantee increased productivity. However, a dedicated workspace can be a very effective tool if you share your home with others. When you are in your dedicated workspace it signals to everyone in your space that you are working and should not be bothered unless there is an emergency. A dedicated workspace helps you set boundaries with other people in the home while you work.

 

Stick to a Routine

Creating a routine when working remote can be a very effective way to increase productivity. A routine allows for you to manage your time appropriately while also being intentional about scheduling time for things you want to accomplish, and not just work tactics you must accomplish. When developing a routine, here are a few things to include:

  • Get dressed and prepare for your workday.
  • Set office hours.
  • Schedule breaks.
  • Create daily goals and achieve them.
  • Don’t forget to include professional and personal tasks in your routine.

Developing a schedule and sticking to it is a great way to hold yourself accountable for meeting daily goals. Sticking to a routine also makes it easier to get your day started. If you share a home with someone, a routine like making a cup of coffee before starting work can help signal to anyone in the space that you are about to start working and need to be left alone.

 

Stay Focused, Work on One Thing at a Time

Many people feel that they are wonderful multi-taskers, and this may be true. However, multitasking is proven to decrease productivity. Staying focused on one task at a time increases efficiency and allows your brain to stay focused on one thing, increasing the capacity you have for the task at hand. While you may be able to multitask, it is important to understand that it is proven to decrease efficiency and even accuracy. If you want to truly maximize your productivity, work on one task at a time and then move on once that task is complete.

 

Promote Transparency

Transparency is paramount for remote work teams. When remote work teams have full transparency all team members have the necessary data and information needed to effectively complete their work. Full transparency reduces unnecessary meetings and keeps track of all team members performance. When possible ensure all team members know where to go for pertinent information—collaboration software helps greatly.

 

Over-Communicate

One of the pitfalls about working with a remote work team is the inability to just pop-in on someone in the office and get an impromptu update on a project. In order to make sure all team members who have a vested interest in your projects have a clear understanding of where you are with each tactic, it is extremely important to over-communicate project status. Consider both formal and informal project updates. You may want to send an email detailing where you are with a project and what is still needed, then perhaps use a collaboration chat tool to get any necessary feedback.

 

The point is that over-communication will always be more effective then not communicating enough when working as a part of a remote work team.

 

Don’t Forget Employee Development and Training

Within a remote workforce it is easy to overlook the need for employee development and training. Often with traditional office work environments, companies will arrange for training opportunities on-site. With remote workforces it is sometimes overlooked that employees should continue to develop their skills and seek training opportunities.

 

Companies should either provide continuing education and training for their employees or create a system that encourages employees to continue to develop their skill set. Investing in employees through training is an excellent way to create loyalty and show the company is vested in its employees’ professional development.

 

Recognize Achievement

When employees work from home, feeling isolation and disconnected from the company and team can occur. These things can lead to feelings of inadequacy and feeling unappreciated. Managers and team leaders can help by recognizing the achievements of their team members—big and small.

 

Celebrate wins as a team and encourage all team members to join in when recognizing employees who are achieving excellence is a great way to show your team that you notice their accomplishments and appreciate their hard work. You’re never too busy to say, “Great Job!”

 

Conclusion

Improving the productivity of a remote work team can be difficult at first. With the proper tools it is possible to have your remote work team working even more efficiently than your in-office work team.

 

Looking for an easy way to gain efficiency today? Through June 30, 2020 ZorroSign is offering our digital signature solution free for three-months. Sign up today for your free trial subscription!

The ZorroSign Development Team is always hard at work developing the latest privacy, security and product enhancements that compliment ZorroSign services. New features help make everyday document signing more secure, convenient, safer, and efficient.

 

Below are new features that have recently been released:

 

Improved Workflow Builder

With feedback from our Customer Advisory Board, ZorroSign’s new workflow builder was redesigned to allow users to navigate their documents page by page instead of user by user.

 

WATCH VIDEO




Customizable Email

Customize ZorroSign automated emails and include a personalized message.
Who opens or enjoys reading generic emails? Now send personalized emails to ensure your additional comments are read immediately and get those documents approved quickly.

 

WATCH VIDEO



Password Protected Files

Have you read about all those solutions out there with security flaws? We take security seriously. Now add an additonal layer of security by adding password protection to your files sent using ZorroSign.






ZorroSign Digital Certificate

E-Signatures only capture the ‘intent to sign’ and is not equivalent to your wet signature. E-Signatures are not always upheld in court because we can’t prove the person actually signed the document. That’s why ZorroSign uses Digital Signatures with PKI which confirms the person and actually captures their ‘digital signature’. To further enhance the validity and provide a certified confirmation of each transaction, download the ZorroSign Digital Certificate.

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Features

  • Biometric Authentication for Login
    We’ve been regularly upgrading our security features to incorporate advanced mobile biometrics. This ensures we continue to deliver the latest, most secure security protocols available while confirming it is you who is digitally signing those documents. Use biometrics to log in to ZorroSign and sign documents. ZorroSign was the first to allow Users to upgrade to the next generation of passwordless authentication, allowing ultimate user privacy and data in document security.
  • vCard
    Want to help save trees like ZorroSign does? Introducing the Digital Business Card. By using a digital business card, we are able to maintain our commitment to save trees, water and decrease our carbon footprint.
  • Send Back
    We all want to save time! Now Users can Send Back a document that requires edits or updates prior to the completion of the document workflow.
  • Tool Resize
    Don’t we all love those forms with tiny boxes which you can’t type in? User can now resize document tool to fit the tiniest boxes.
  • ZorroFill
    Make your smart forms smarter! Users can now auto fill eForms using Artificial Intelligence. ZorroFill is currently in beta testing.
  • OTP
    We can’t get enough of security. Using Two-Factor Authentication, secure and safeguard your log in and documents with One Time Passwords (OTP). Users can activate OTP for log in and Approval Process.
  • KBA
    Need to double check if the User behind an email address is really the person they claim to be or want additional verification when sending a document to sign? Now use ZorroSign’s premium, pay per use, Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) service for U.S. based subscribers. Contact your Sales Rep for more details or email [email protected] This feature allows users to utilize our KBA integration to electronically sign documents, ensuring your intended party is the one actually signing a document.
  • E-Sign on the go
    Check out our regularly updated apps to quickly and securely digitally sign documents using the ZorroSign iOS and Android Mobile apps.

Visit our website to try these features and implement them in your daily work. Questions? Send an email to [email protected]

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted businesses across the globe. Many employers have shut their offices and employees are now working from home to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus. For many, the idea of working from home is a dream come true, for others, working from home is a stressful proposition. In this blog post we will discuss tips our own ZorroSign team uses to stay productive while maintaining work/life balance when working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Develop a Routine

 

Developing a morning routine can help get your day started and productive. Think about what makes you most productive and include that in your morning routine. Does exercise invigorate you, if so, include that in your morning routine. Do you need coffee to get started, maybe that means you set an automated machine to make your coffee at just the right time. Getting dressed for the day can be a good way to not only physically prepare for working from home, but it can also signal to those you live with that you are working and will engage them once you are finished with your workday.

 

Create, use and stick to a daily to-do list

 

Developing a list of everything you need and want to accomplish in a day is a great tool for ensuring you are accomplishing your goals for the day. Try and create a list of things you need to accomplish each day, and then stick to it. Separate the list into personal and professional items. Schedule your workload around the list that you created. Creating a to-do list and sticking to it can be the difference between a productive day and a waste of a day.

 

Set rules of engagement with those you live with

 

When you work from home and live with other people it can be difficult to set boundaries during work hours. Set clear rules for everyone who shares your space about when you are available and under what circumstances you can be interrupted. If you have a partner/spouse clearly discuss expectations about communication during work hours. Maybe a kiss and a hug signal you are about to start work and will engage with them at the end of your workday or while taking a break. If you have children, set expectations on noise level and if you are unable to have childcare make sure to have activities arranged to keep the children busy while you dedicate yourself to work. Predefined rules of engagement will make working from home easier for everyone in your household.

 

Set Office Hours

 

Set regular office hours. Work with your manager to determine “online” and “offline” hours. For many employees this can mean setting base hours, indicating the hours you will always be reachable. If you work with an international team a split day may increase efficiency and productivity. A split schedule may also give you the flexibility needed to handle personal business during the day. Communicating clearly with your manager and colleagues regarding your office hours can prevent you from receiving phone calls during family-time.

 

Schedule Breaks

 

Working endlessly without a break can lead to not just a lack of creativity, but strain on the eyes and body. Give yourself predetermined breaks through your work schedule. We recommend taking a 15-minute break about every 2.5 hours, along with setting aside time to eat lunch away from your desk. During these breaks physical movement is very important, so get up and get moving. Take a walk around the house or block. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activity jog in place, stretch and do jumping jacks. Physical activity is very important for remote workers, as a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems.

 

Setup a dedicated office space

 

Having a dedicated office space can help with work/life balance. When you are in that space that signals to you and anyone you share a home with that you are working and to respect the rules of engagement for work hours. In an ideal world you will have a self-contained office, but if you don’t have the space, try and set up a space away from distractions, but with a lot of light. Having multiple screens increases productivity so consider this when setting up your space. If you are self-employed, consider setting up a partition on your hard drive for business and another for personal use. If you work for a company, make sure you only use company equipment for work.

 

Maintain social contact with colleagues

 

Depending on if you are an introvert or extravert working from home can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation and a general feeling of disconnect. Maintaining professional social relationships with colleagues can be very important. Utilize team collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack if your company has them in place. Some organizations may decide to setup general interest channels within their collaboration tool in order to promote additional employee communication. Social contact with colleagues can help build trust, so don’t shy away and work on genuinely getting to know your colleagues.

 

Stay organized

 

An organized workspace provides for reduced visual stress and removes unnecessary distractions. It may not be realistic to keep your entire home tidy, but make sure that your workspace is bright and organized. Remove items from your desk that you do not need. If you are a visual person, hang a large calendar on the wall and write all your appointments, meetings and deadlines on the calendar for quick refence. Think of your computer desktop as an extension of your physical space and make sure to keep your files organized and easily accessible.

 

Overcommunicate

 

When you don’t see your manager and colleagues in the office, clear communication can help set expectations and allow your manager and team to know what you are working on, what your priorities are, and what you need from them. Ensure that anyone who needs to know what you are working on knows when you start on projects, when you reach certain milestones and when you reach project completion. Also ensure you overcommunicate about time away from work for vacation so that everyone knows you will be unavailable. Be aware that when working remote it can be difficult to gauge someone’s mood, so using emojis and punctuations can help with imparting tone and feeling into your emails and chat messages. It’s okay to let your personality come through in communication, just keep it professional.

 

Proactively seek out professional development opportunities

 

Professional skill development will always be worthwhile. When you work remote it is important that you are being proactive about developing your skills and seeking new skills. For an employee who works 100% remote for a company that provides onsite training try and attend onsite training opportunities that will allow you to interact with colleagues in person. No matter if you work for a company or are self-employed, seek online training and certificate opportunities that will increase your knowledge and make you more valuable.

 

Conclusion

 
Treat working from home like you do working from an office. Maintain professionalism, boundaries and a schedule. If you have children, be sure to set ground rules and a schedule so everyone in the home understands your expectations of them while you work. Understand that organization, goal setting and effective communication can help in creating work/life balance as you begin your journey as a remote employee. Most important, stay home, stay safe!

 

 

Click here to get in touch with us. You can also email us at [email protected]

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many companies are finding that their workforce has abruptly shifted to a remote workforce. This shift can be challenging for many companies and stressful for employees who are accustomed to working in an office. In this article we will explore five tools for increasing efficiency when working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak: collaboration software, scheduling software, eSignature & Digital Transaction Management software, meeting software, computer hardware & internet access.

 

Collaboration Software

 

Streamlined communication, collaboration and transparency are three important factors when working remote. Having the necessary software in place to encourage effective communication, promote transparent project management, and conduct reliable meetings can be the difference between a successful remote work team and one that fails to meet deliverables. There are many options on the market for software that accomplishes these goals, here are a few:

 

  • Communication
    • Slack is a collaboration tool that brings remote teams together. Slack’s instant messaging platform makes real-time communication seamless and engaging.
    • Microsoft Teams replaced what used to be Skype for Business. This collaboration platform is Microsoft’s answer to an online meeting hub. What we like most about Microsoft Teams is it combines video conferencing, calling and document collaboration into one easy to navigate app. (At the time of posting this blog article Microsoft Teams is being offered for free for users working remote.)
    • Google Hangouts is a professional business collaboration tool that gives users the ability to use both voice and text to communicate in real-time. Hangouts seems to work better with smaller teams from our experience.
  • Project Management
    • Asana is a web and mobile application aimed at helping teams organize, track and manage projects. Asana makes project collaboration simple with tools to help keep everyone working toward a common goal and completing projects on time.
    • Monday.com was previously Dapulse and is a collaborative space that helps teams plan, organize and track projects all in one place. Monday.com has a sleek platform with visually appealing charts that help keep track of projects.
    • Trello is a great collaboration tool built into a visually appealing app. Trello is fun and flexible with many uses both professional and personal. Great for a start-up or large family trying to keep appointments straight.
  • Document Collaboration
    • Google Docs is a cloud-based collaboration tool that allows teams of all sizes to create, share, edit and even publish documents and presentations.
    • Zoho Docs make document creation, storing, editing, sharing and collaboration seamless. Zoho Docs allows users to store all their files like music, videos and spreadsheets in one place.
    • Quip is a collaboration and communication tool for teams. Quip allows users to edit documents and spreadsheets in real-time.

 

Meeting Software

 

Virtual meeting platforms are a necessity when working from home. These platforms allow for visual communication in a virtual meeting space. They also allow users the ability to share computer screens in real time for a collaborative meeting experience. The following software allows for both internal and external virtual meetings.

 

  • GoToMeeting is great for large virtual meetings and is easy to get started. It also has the option to set up turnkey onsite meeting rooms with prepackaged equipment for those businesses that have a team of both location-dependent and location-independent employees.
  • WebEx is an enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars. WebEx stands out because it integrates well with other applications like salesforce, Google Drive and Office 365.
  • Zoom allows users to visually connect without having to physically be together. Zoom is easy to navigate and works well with very large groups. One thing we like about Zoom is the easy option for those without a video connection to dial-in to meetings from their phone. (At the time of this blog post Zoom has extended its free account to have additional features for users working remote.)

 

Scheduling Software

 

One challenge with remote teams is the ability to schedule internal and external meetings without the need for lengthy email chains. While collaboration software can cut down on the need for meetings, sometimes meetings are necessary. These scheduling tools make scheduling meetings quick and help keep you organized.

 

  • You Can book me is a simple straightforward tool to help your team schedule online meetings.
  • Calendly touts the ability to help you schedule meetings without the back and forth emails.
  • Doodle is an online scheduling tool specifically focused on helping larger teams find the best time for a meeting that works with everyone’s schedule. After a time is identified the system will send out a calendar invite.

 

eSignature & Digital Transaction Management Software

 

eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) software can increase productivity and efficiency while reducing errors and cost. ZorroSign can help companies:

 

  • Track completed work, enabling accountability of workflow.
  • Centralize in-process and completed documents so users don’t have to check multiple sources.
  • Reduce fraud with blockchain based audit trail, so users have full trust and confidence that executed documents will be legally binding globally.
  • Execute documents and contracts anywhere, any time, and on any smart device.

 

Hardware & Internet

 

When working from home having secure computer hardware that can handle the type of work the employee does is very important. A data analyst, systems engineer, or graphic designer would each have very different hardware needs. Many people use laptops, so physically switching locations (from work to home) should not be too difficult. Just as important is the ability of an employee to have access to reliable and fast internet. Internet speed often varies depending on the location of the individual. In general, most people who work from home can comfortably conduct business with internet speeds around 25 Mbps. If the user is downloading very large files or needs to stream 4K content, 200+ Mbps or greater should be used. Unfortunately, in many locations outside of larger cities higher speed internet is not available. If an employee plans on working from multiple locations, a personal hotspot would be useful to ensure uninterrupted internet access.

 

Another consideration companies should take when relying on a remote workforce is security and privacy. Company issued equipment should have appropriate security software pre-installed. If an employee is using their own hardware then the company should have protocols in place to ensure sensitive data is protected. Companies should be concerned with cybersecurity and take steps to protect company equipment and information. A few tips for being cyber aware when working remote are to: secure your home network, encrypt sensitive files, dispose sensitive data securely, patch vulnerabilities when prompted, use multi-factor authentication to access systems, use a VPN, have MDM and EPM policies in place, and don’t open emails from unknown senders.

 

Conclusion

 

The bottom line is if you are not accustomed to working from home this can be a very stressful time. As you begin to navigate a new normal, having the correct tools in place to increase your efficiency will help reduce some of the stress you are feeling. Remember, when you are working remote, clear and consistent communication is very important. Using the tools and resources above can help you and your company succeed in the remote workforce environment. If your company doesn’t already have some of these tools in place, many of them are easy to implement with low costs. The right tools, with the right attitude and drive will make working remote through the COVID-19 outbreak fun, effective and efficient.

 

 

Click here to get in touch with us. You can also email us at [email protected]

If there was something you could do to increase workforce productivity, efficiency, employee wellness, increase employee satisfaction and save money, would you?

 

For many businesses a remote workforce can provide the benefits stated above. For small businesses the benefits of a remote workforce can drastically decrease overhead cost, allowing additional talent acquisition and business growth. For larger businesses a remote workforce can decrease turnover and attract top global talent.

 

Remote employees, also known as location-independent employees are those company workers that can accomplish their work from a location other than the physical location of a company office. In addition to the benefits of a remote workforce, it’s important to realize this is not a fad. In fact, a survey conducted by Owl Labs determined that as much as 52% of employees around the globe work remotely at least one-day per week, with 16% of global businesses operating 100% remote. The reason for the increase in businesses utilizing remote workforces are many, in this article we will explore increased productivity, increased employee satisfaction, access to top talent and saving money.

 

Increased productivity

 

Imagine having a cohesive team that consistently gets more done in less time. The University of Illinois published a study that showed telecommuters often outperform their location-dependent peers and go above the call of duty to provide more effort for their companies. Remote workers generally work more hours as they start earlier since they do not have a long commute. These same workers also take shorter breaks and are more likely to work until the end of the day, as they are not rushing out of the office to try and decrease their commute time in traffic or run errands before businesses close. Remote workers also tend to work through lunch and unscheduled leave for sick days decrease. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, remote employees actually worked almost an entire day more per week than their in-office counterparts.

 

Flexibility to get demanding work done during hours the employee is most effective increases productivity and deliverables. For some employees the early morning hours are when they are at their best, for others the middle of the day is when they are most effective or creative. Other employees are inspired by their environment and the flexibility to physically change their work environment helps to increase their productivity and give all their attention to the project at hand.

 

Remote collaboration using conference calling and video chat cut down on lengthy meetings and help provide a smoother transition from meetings to working on projects. Instead of using valuable time chatting about the weather before or after a meeting, online meetings are more likely to start and end on time, allowing employees to begin meaningful work much faster after a virtual meeting, rather than an in-person meeting.

 

Increased employee satisfaction

 

Remote work leads to increased employee satisfaction. Namely, location-independent jobs allow for work/life balance. This balance decreases employee stress and increases wellness. With the flexibility of working remotely employees are often able to increase their physical activity, while still spending time with their family as a result of saving considerable time not commuting each day. Location-independent work arrangements also lead to the flexibility of employees being able to explore additional education and career training. This flexibility to improve one’s skill set leads to not only increased employee satisfaction, but personal fulfillment and career growth. Along with the savings realized by corporations, Flexjobs reported that employees save on average $4,600 per year by working remote full-time.

 

Access to top talent

 

A remote workforce can allow a business to tap into top talent and subject matter experts across the globe. With geographic constraints removed employers are now able to seek the best and brightest talent, regardless of living location. AfterCollege conducted a study showing that 68% of millennials would consider a remote work arrangement a favorable perk when deciding on a prospective employer. When competing for top talent, offering remote work arrangements can give a business a competitive advantage.

 

Save money

 

It’s simple, reduce the number of employees in an office and you can reduce overhead cost. Some of the cost reduction associated with fewer employees working in an office are office rent, furniture, supplies and utilities. According to Flexjobs employers can experience a $22,000 savings per full-time remote employee per year by offering a full-time remote work arrangement. According to an online article in Forbes, Insurance giant Aetna is one of the largest employers offering remote work. This arrangement has paid off big for the company with an estimated cost savings of $78 million per year from a reduction in rented space.

 

Location-independent employees also have a reduced rate of employee turnover. Remote employees are more likely to stay loyal to their company. It is estimated that millennials average job tenure is about two-years, imagine being able to double that. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has conducted research that suggests average replacement cost of a salaried employee is six to nine months’ salary. It’s clear that keeping a valuable employee engaged and loyal will ultimately pay dividends given the cost to replace an employee, remote work arrangements help with turnover reduction.

 

Conclusion

 

For some businesses, allowing employees to work remotely will greatly benefit both the business and the employee. Workers who feel valued and inspired will ultimately be more productive, efficient and more willing to work harder in order to be a valuable member of the team. While remote work takes discipline, providing employees with tools that will help them succeed will allow businesses the ability to experience significant benefits by allowing for partial or total remote work. Finally, remote workforces help to decrease carbon emissions, thus improving the global environment, which is a major focus area for ZorroSign.

 

Click here to get in touch with us. You can also email us at [email protected]

A freelancer or independent contractor is generally a self-employed individual that performs work on a per project basis for the clients that hire them. Because of their self-employed status, most freelancers and independent contractors do not have the legal protections that a typical corporate employee would have. Freelancers and independent contractors often work in a comparatively high-paced environment, sometimes managing multiple contracts at once with people they do not know well. As a result, work contracts are very important, and electronic signature solutions, like ZorroSign, provide a solution to securely, effectively and legally create and execute freelancers and independent contractors client contracts that are fully enforceable in a court of law. This legal validity provides the peace of mind that freelancers and independent contractors can work in comfort, with the assurance that they will get paid.

 

The Importance of Contracts

Freelancers and independent contractors are at risk of non-payment due to a range of issues such as client disputes, and scope creep (where client repeatedly adds more work to the agreed scope). Without a proper contract, freelancers and independent contractors have no proof that they are entitled to payment by the client. To avoid problems of this nature, freelancers and independent contractors should always enter into legally binding contracts with their clients. The contract should clearly define the scope of work, the terms of payment, milestones and deadlines. With details specified in a contract, there is clarity on both sides about scope, deliverables and terms. It would be cumbersome to handle contracts in physical form, ZorroSign electronic signature solution allows freelancers and independent contractors the opportunity to execute work contracts anywhere, on any device, and at any time.

 

What is an Electronic Signature?

Electronic Signatures are a digital representation of the traditional wet signature that people use to sign documents. With electronic signatures, there is no need to print a document. Instead, you can electronically send the document for signature, and once all parties have signed the document, a fully executed version will be available to all parties, inclusive of an audit trail. The electronic signature itself can be a signature created using an electronic signature pad, text or even a verbal signature in line with global laws on electronic signature.

 

Advantages of Electronic Signatures

  1. Prevent risk of loss or damage – With electronic signatures, physical filing of documents becomes unnecessary, preventing potential loss or damage of paper documents during traditional storage processes.
  2. Saves money & time – eSigned documents allow secure, fast, efficient processing of documents and contracts. They also allow cost reduction in printing, scanning, filling and courier services that would be incurred with traditional wet ink processes.
  3. Doesn’t require physical storage – Physically signed documents are often stored as an archive copy in storage cabinets, using valuable office space. Electronic Signatures reduce or eliminate storage costs while staying compliant with all industry or company document retention policies.
  4. Improves security of documents – Printed documents are vulnerable to copying, theft or robbery, whereas digitally signed documents are encrypted and safely stored inside password protected accounts that are accessible 24/7/365.
  5. Quicker turnaround times – With Electronic Signatures and Workflow Automation, available using ZorroSign, freelancers and independent contractors can focus on their work and automate the documentation processes. Documents can be signed and sent back instantly, which employers will appreciate and may even provide a competitive advantage, as clients may prefer to work with freelancers and independent contractors with such quick response times.
  6. Enhance customer relationship – Accurate and fast turnaround times often lead to enhanced positive relationships with the customers (employers).

 

Types of documents that can be Electronically Signed

For freelancers and independent contractors, while working with clients, there are many document types that can be executed electronically, such as:

  • Contracts
  • MOU – Memorandum of Understanding with clients
  • MNDA – Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement with clients
  • SOW – Statement of Work
  • Proposals / Bids / Quotes
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Invoices / Purchase Orders / Receipt
  • Partnership Agreements
  • Royalty Agreements
  • Tax Forms

 

ZorroSign for Freelancers & Independent Contractors

ZorroSign, pioneer of Electronic Signatures, offers its solution for freelancers and independent contractors. With the free for life ZorroSign account, freelancers and independent contractors can send up to 3 documents per month for signature. For more documents, ZorroSign provides options to sign up for a monthly subscription at nominal rates. With Workflow Automation and several other integrations, ZorroSign provides an attractive solution for freelancers and independent contractors looking to protect themselves with electronic signatures.

 

With ZorroSign’s Electronic Signatures, get work done faster, get paid faster, keep your clients happy, all while keeping administrative costs minimal. Signup for ZorroSign, today.

Walk into any office and you will see remnants of paper use, whether it’s paper receipts, file cabinets full of contracts, printers, courier services, or even medical records. Paper has long been the standard in most businesses, but this is changing. With the recent ‘go digital’ movement, more and more companies are choosing to replace their paper processes with digital workflows. The companies who have already made the switch to digital are realizing many benefits, both for their employees and the company. There are cost savings, environmental benefits, and even increases in employee satisfaction. Paper processes are costly, in this article you will learn about 11 immediate cost savings your company can benefit from by adopting an eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) solution.

 

In order to fully understand potential cost savings of going digital, let’s first briefly explore the dollar costs associated with paper based processes, specifically, Print-Sign-Scan-Email or Courier processes. Businesses large and small generally have different processes, and this results in slightly different cost estimates for paper based processes. As a result it is better to provide a framework for cost calculation.

 

Cost Analysis Framework (USA estimates)

 

Copy paper

$5 / pack of 500 sheets

Printer/WorkCenter

B/W: $8,000

Color: $4,500

Printer Ink (per printer)

B/W: $250 50k pages

Color: $360 20k pages

Scanner

Included w/Printer/WorkCenter

Electricity

$99.06 /Month/printer

Steel file cabinets

$600 average / Cabinet

Folders & stationery

$300 / Year/Employee

$1000/Year/Employee (Law Firm)

Courier services

$33,000 to $65,000/Year

Man hours, Time

260 hours/ Employee/Year

Off-site paper storage

$0.72 /Box/Month

$864/100 Boxes/Yr.

Office space (file cabinets)

15 Sq.Ft (standard 4-drawer file cabinet)

Avg. $50 /Sq.Ft = $9000/Year

Insurance (Data Breach Policy)

$12k to $120k /Year

size of company, includes cyber attack coverage.

As you can see from the above cost analysis framework, paper processes are expensive and a major cost for businesses. Going digital and having your company adopt a paperless lifestyle can drastically impact company profits, increase employee satisfaction, while also positively impacting the environment. The cost savings of going digital are immediate, below is a list and additional details of just eleven of these savings:

 

    1. Copy Paper – Copy paper is costly, and printed documents are vulnerable to copying, theft or damaged, whereas digitally signed documents are encrypted and safely stored inside password protected accounts that are always accessible.
    2. Printer Ink – Paper processes require documents to be printed using printer ink or toner in order to wet sign a document. When going digital, the need for printer ink can be eliminated altogether or drastically reduced.
    3. Printer/WorkCenter – Printed documents require companies to invest in expensive printers or WorkCenters that are capable of handling extensive printing needs. Assuming the company is not printing and distributing printed marketing collateral, this expense can be reduced or eliminated by adopting a digital process.
    4. Folders & Stationery – When using paper processes, companies must organize printed materials that are then stored. The use of file folders and stationery are often the answer to methodically storing paper based documents. Transitioning to a digital process can eliminate or reduce the need for file folders and stationary.
    5. Filing Cabinets – Physically signed documents are often stored as an archive copy in storage cabinets. These filing cabinets cost money. Transitioning to electronic signatures will reduce or eliminate the need for filing cabinets.
    6. Office Space (for file cabinets) – Physically signed documents that are stored in filing cabinets use valuable office space. Adopting an eSignature and DTM solution reduces or eliminates the cost associated with extra office space to house these filing cabinets.
    7. Off-site paper storage – Often companies are forced to use off-site storage facilities for archived documents in order to make room for current and new documents in their daily office space. This opens the door for damage, theft or loss of these valuable documents when being transferred in between locations, not to mention the expense incurred to store these documents off-site. Prevent risk of loss or damage with eSignatures as physical filing of documents becomes unnecessary.
    8. Courier Services – Shipping and handling of paper documents for signature is avoided all together.
    9. Legal Fees – Using ZorroSign’s patent pending 4n6 (Forensics) Token Reader, ZorroSign offers non-repudiated audit trails and chain of custody. ZorroSign users can be confident their documents have been executed with tamper-proof security and enforceability. This audit trail and chain of custody can drastically reduce legal fees if a contract is disputed in a court of law.
    10. Insurance – Decrease of insurance premiums from lowering fire and theft risk by eliminating paper file storage.
    11. Personnel Resources:
      a. Save time retrieving documents.
      b. Save time managing signature process like tracking and follow-up, etc.
      c. Save time with the ability to manage multiple versions of documents and templates.
      d. Save time by identifying bottlenecks and make appropriate adjustments to the process in order to increase efficiency.

 

Along with immediate and long term cost savings achieved by using an eSignature and DTM solution, there are substantial environmental impacts, these include: conservation of water, energy, and trees as well as reduction of carbon footprint. Check out ZorroSign’s Environmental Savings Calculator to see your company’s potential environmental impact. For organizations adopting a ‘go digital’ mindset, there are tangible benefits like cost savings and intangible benefits like doing your part to save the environment, these benefits not only help the company, but its employees as well. Studies show that 3 in every 4 companies who adopt paperless processes experience a tangible payback within 12-18 months.

 

To learn more about ZorroSign’s green initiative, please visit Paperless Life and find out just how large of an environmental impact your company could have by going paperless. Click here to check out ZorroSign Plans & Pricing, enabling your company to do an accurate analysis on their total current cost of using paper and compare that cost to purchasing and using an eSignature and Digital Transaction Management system like ZorroSign.

 

 

References

The increased popularity of, demand for, and mainstream use of electronic signature is the result of the global “go digital” movement, significant enhancements in the technology, and  governments passing laws to go completely digital in the near future. It does not suffice to use an image of your signature as an “intent to sign” or use incomplete electronic signature solutions that do not include an audit trail. Security, privacy, legal acceptability, signatory attribution, and authenticity of electronic signatures, electronic records, and document transactions have become key decision factors for users in legal, financial services, real estate, insurance, banks, healthcare industries and more.

 

In this article we outline the clear competitive advantage that ZorroSign has over its competitors, their products and why we believe we have developed the most advanced electronic signature and digital transaction management platform, that was created to meet the past, current and future needs of both the private and public business sector.

 

ZorroSign Competitive Advantages

 

ZorroSign is an advanced Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform. There are less than a handful of competitors who may qualify as DTM providers, but studies show that those solutions do not meet basic DTM requirements of many customers. ZorroSign, on the other hand, is considered an Advanced DTM due to its enterprise-grade workflow automation, workflow builder, content automation, bank-grade security, built-in Document Management System, and intelligent forms.

 

  1. ZorroSign uses (patented) true legally-binding electronic signature with real digital information vs our competitors who simply superimpose a flat image of a signature on a document. It’s about capturing intent to sign a document vs actually signing a document.
  2. We use high level security provisions and multi-factor authentication (including biometrics) to ensure signatory attribution. This is increasingly becoming a problem when it comes to legal matters.
  3. Our proprietary technology, the Document 4n6 (forensics) Token, detects document fraud tampering and signature forgery. It is  a tamper seal that runs on the Blockchain.
  4. Our competitors use 3rd party digital security certificates that expire every two years. ZorroSign is authorized to issue its own certificates and they never expire. We call it Lifetime Document Escrow.
  5. ZorroSign is a true Advance DTM platform complete with workflow automation and exception handling.
  6. ZorroSign is built on permissions-based private Blockchain technology. We take advantage of its security, privacy and trust features to manage all our customer’s document signature transactions.
  7. For ZorroSign, privacy and security are at the core of everything with do. We think security and privacy first for every product design, policy, and business practice decision. We use bank-grade security protocols, AES Encryption, biometrics, MFA, and other heuristics for handling our customer’s document signature transactions.

 

For a complete competitive analysis including analysis of a particular ZorroSign competitor, please contact our customer advisors.

 

Disclaimer: All competitive information is based on publicly available information.  When reviewing competitive information including pricing, please consider that products are continuously enhanced and modified by vendors and pricing published on the website is MSRP. ZorroSign does not disclose product roadmap and features that are in development and not yet released to the general public. ZorroSign also does not disclose feature-by-feature comparison for the same reason.

 

Signing agreements, contracts, documents, and forms with electronic signatures is becoming the norm. Using electronic signatures is easy, fast, and convenient. People use different ways to e-sign documents. Some paste images of their signatures captured off of a laptop camera onto documents and some use computer generated signatures. Yet others use more sophisticated tools which allow them to sign documents with pen or finger onto a touch-sensitive screen. The act of signing a document is one aspect of it, security and privacy is another. In this article we share tips on how to protect your identity and think security first when eSigning agreements.

 

As we use electronic signatures to sign more high value, critical and sensitive documents we must make sure that our signatures, documents, information, and the entire transaction is secure and protected against fraud, tampering, and miss-use.  Examples of high value transactions are buying a home or business, signing sales contracts, promissory notes, loan documents, credit card applications, your child’s medical information release forms, and more. Over the years, ZorroSign has helped thousands of customers sign contracts and agreements securely, in this article we share best practices that we have learned.

 

Tips for protecting your identity

  1. Avoid signing documents by pasting an image of your signature on documents. Use highly secure online eSigning solutions instead.
  2. Shy away from eSign products that distribute documents via email attachments.
  3. Never use the same password for more than one online profile.
  4. Make the length of your passwords across different online profiles different.
  5. Avoid using obvious strings and numbers as your passwords that people can easily guess by knowing little about you.
  6. Take advantage of free online random password generators.
  7. If you use a password manager program, make sure to take full advantage of all of its features. For example use its random password generator and also review reports showing where you are repeating passwords and strengths of your passwords.
  8. Even if you are using a random password generator, make sure to change your password at least 4 times a year.
  9. If your online profile offers options to use Biometrics, like ZorroSign does, take full advantage of it.

On March 21, the world celebrates the International Day of Forests (IDF). International Day of Forests was proclaimed on March 21, 2012 by the UN General Assembly. This year, the IDF theme is “Forests and Education’. IDF raises awareness of how important all different types of forests are for the environment.

 

On this International Day of Forests ZorroSign wants to remind everyone of the importance of living a paperless life, and being responsible by doing our part to reduce the use of paper. In an effort to contribute to the communities where ZorroSign employees and customers live and work, ZorroSign has partnered with One Tree Planted to help with reforestation efforts.

 

ZorroSign plants a tree each time our customers save 8,000 sheets of paper by using ZorroSign instead of printing paper. Trees are planted in regions with the most need, not only from the environmental perspective but also from the socio-economic perspective. For example; we plant trees in certain villages in India where trees provide livelihood to farmers and improves their quality of life. Our forests are important for our long term survival and investing in reforestation and forestry education will save the environment, and ultimately make the world a better place.

 

You can also check out our Environmental Savings Calculator and see what impact your organization could have on the environment by living a paperless life with ZorroSign.

 

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