4 Ways Technology Improves Workplace Productivity
Most businesses contemplating bringing in or upgrading their technology, have considered the business reasons for doing it. The reasons usually revolve around business improvement, often expressed as cost reductions and productivity and efficiency improvements. They are typically linked, but not always.
Other reasons might be a forced need to accommodate the manufacturing processes for a new product or a move to a new technology platform like online sales and support.
The correct technology can enable significant improvements in a company’s business performance, perhaps not in only one area, but spread over several, such as communications, collaboration, and morale. Taken all together, these usually equate to improvements in productivity.
Today, the increase in remote and home working brought about by CoviD are forcing companies to look hard at how productivity can be maintained and improved by the application of appropriate technologies.
Other emerging technologies like Bring Your Own device (BYOD) are also having an impact on productivity and employee engagement. WiFi has been a game-changer in this respect.
The first step, as always is to determine what it is that you need. Deciding on technology just because the Managing Director heard about it at the golf club is not a sufficient reason to proceed.
- What are your current productivity levels;
- How could they be improved, by either technology or workflow improvements;
- What is your competition up to?
- What is the state of our employees, engaged, motivated or none of the above, and why?
- What is potentially appropriate technology?
- Do we already have it, just needing tweaking, or do we need new?
This exercise should not just be a one-off, but as part of normal business planning.
Here are four suggestions on how technology could be deployed to improve workplace productivity:
Most company activities need collaboration and communications between individuals, often team-based. The use of VoIP and video-conferencing goes a long way to providing a collaborative environment, especially where individuals are geographically widespread.
Time and money are saved by not needing people to come together at a central location. Individual face to face and group meetings over video conferencing bring reductions in errors and omissions arising from misunderstood communications.
Productivity isn’t automatically improved just by the application of new technologies. Users must understand how to use the correct technology effectively. They must be involved in all stages of the deployment project, from initial scoping to implementation. They will understand the need for the new technology and what it is expected to accomplish.
Training and education is a vital part of the process. Unfortunately, training and education is usually the first recipient of the budget-cutting blade if finances are tight.
Use of technology to provide on-demand training and group sessions with a remote instructor can be very beneficial.
Most companies have belatedly realised that communications is one of the vital ingredients necessary to a well-run company with all employees engaged and working towards a common goal. Many studies have shown that a company is losing money as a result of inefficient internal communications.
Improved communications, particularly in multi-site and multi-geography organisations can bring benefits in project cost reduction and time to completion.
Fortunately, technology can provide tools to help with communications, but in quality and effectiveness. Projects, particularly multi-site projects, are better managed with Skype, Asana, and other groupware solutions like Office 365 and Google.
Reducing rework because of communications errors and identifying and sorting out potential problems as soon as possible, ideally before they are discovered improves productivity.
The pace of change in companies in recent time has dramatically increased. There is now little or no time for long, leisurely implementation cycles. Projects need to be identified, specified and implemented in weeks or months rather than years as happened in the past.
To compound the problem, projects are becoming more complex. Again in the past, hardware choice often dictated the software choice. External connections were minimal. Today, we have many external linkages, such as to remote workers, the company website and online sales platform and last, but not least, links to Social Media.
Every technology project now has considerations of online security, communications protocols, inter-module linkages and joint presentation formats.