12 Ways Technology Can Increase Workplace Productivity
Are you always on the lookout for more information on how to increase workplace productivity?
“How to be more productive” is arguably one of the most searched topics online among modern-day employees. More complex and fluid roles and increasing workloads are prompting employees throughout various industries to constantly look for workplace productivity hacks.
However, the responsibility for increasing productivity should weigh more heavily on managers and business owners—and not the employees themselves.
The tricky part is that every workplace is so different. As such, offering clear and consistent behavioral changes, processes, and systems to increase workplace productivity can be difficult.
Considering the above, what’s a common employee productivity strategy that can be applied to different workplace compositions and dynamics?
In fact, the absence or lack of technology is one of the things employees blame when they are unable to reach their productivity targets. In fact, according to Ivanti, as many as 85% of workers don’t have the right resources to take care of their tasks efficiently. In a separate survey by The Economist, respondents who say their employer is either a “pioneer” or “good” at mobile use score themselves 7% higher for workplace productivity than those who do not.
If you work in HR or operations, or if you’re a business owner, developing a technology investment roadmap requires a well-thought-out strategy. But if you’re eager to use technology, you can’t go wrong by giving these 12 different kinds of producs a spin to see whether they help increase productivity in the workplace.
1. Take Advantage of Group Chats
Miscommunication has a hefty price tag ― literally. Debra Hamilton revealed that small companies with 100 employees lose about $420,000 per year due to inefficient communication among employees.
Group messaging and group chat technology can improve communication efficiency and employee productivity considerably. These tools minimizes the email back and forth among employees which is like chasing a rabbit for many.
Urgent questions can be answered immediately, leaving no more room for the classic “I missed your email” excuse. Most group messaging applications like Slack or Fleep can be accessed from both desktop and mobile devices to keep employees in the loop wherever they happen to be.
2. Create an Environment for Solid Collaboration
Nothing beats a productive in-house brainstorming session. However, technology allows for creating more innovative venues for employees to come together and discuss ideas, create something new, or collaboratively find a solution to a problem.
Simple things, such as note-taking technology, can greatly boost collaboration among team members, improving workplace productivity along with it. Most of these tools can also be accessed across different devices so employees can collaborate wherever they are located. Employees can hold virtual meetings whether they are in the office, in transit, or working from home using tools like Skype, Google Meet, or Zoom.
Adopt collaboration technology into your day-to-day operations and your employees will be more productive and motivated to put in their best efforts. It’s that simple.
3. Simplify Small Daily Tasks
Everyone does small, mundane things every day that take a few seconds or a few minutes. You probably don’t pay a lot of attention to the time spent accomplishing these tasks. But over the course of days, weeks, and months, it adds up.
Technology can simplify these tasks and improve workplace productivity along the way. You can also minimize your employees taking unnecessary extra steps or getting stressed just to get these things done.
For example, if your team shares systems and files that are password-protected, password management tools may be a good option. This will grant them access to the things they need without having to give them the actual password.
This increases data security and saves your employees time because they no longer need to bother someone to get the information they need.
4. Make Project Management Seamless
Consider this story.
A big project is coming to its conclusion and everyone is running around in a panic to get things done. Employee A starts working on Task X. Not knowing there’s already someone working on it, Employee B starts working on the same task. Confusion arises and both employees feel like they wasted their time.
You may have a different version of the same story, but it’s clear that poor project management is a productivity leak in any company. Not to mention the negative impact it has on employee morale, either.
This is easily avoidable with the use of project management apps like Asana and Trello. Team members will know who is working on what. It also clearly outlines deadlines, task dependencies, and bottlenecks in the project, allowing project managers to take certain steps to maintain a high level of productivity.
5. Automate Time Tracking to Increase Workplace Productivity
If your employees or colleagues are still using time cards to clock in and timesheets to manually log in their hours, then you’re missing out on the many productivity benefits of using automated time tracking.
For one, you are significantly diminishing the probability for your employees to commit time theft, saving your company thousands of dollars and hundreds of lost hours.
Second, you are doing your HR managers (if you’re not an HR manager yourself!) a huge favor by helping them save time they’d otherwise spend manually auditing time entries and correcting erroneous time logs.
Lastly, you will gain significant insights as to how your workforce is allocating and spending its time. This allows you to identify productivity leaks and optimization opportunities. It also paves the way for better project planning, which increases overall employee productivity.
6. Eliminate the Need for Manual File Sharing
How many times have you had to wait several minutes (or even hours) waiting for a colleague to send you a file that you needed?
At the same time, how many times have you been interrupted by a colleague to get a file that they desperately needed?
Sharing files is one of the most basic tasks employees do every day. Yet it’s also one of the most common workplace productivity killers. File-sharing technology like Dropbox and Box has been around for several years, yet many companies are still not using it to their advantage.
File-sharing tools also make it easy for employees to track the history of changes that were made to a document. Team members can quickly identify who made what changes and provide clarifications if necessary.
7. Remote Employee Onboarding
Onboarding, in general, plays a core role in how a new hire’s activity and performance will evolve in time. It’s during this period of time that allows employees to get familiar with your company’s values and policies as well as, more importantly, learn how to conduct their work and give their best.
With remote workers, however, things get more complicated. Managers are no longer able to maintain the same level of communication needed for the feedback process as they would in an office environment. Here’s where your tool stack comes in to save the day and make a remote onboarding process just as efficient as onboarding employees on-site would be.
Specifically, you’re looking at a couple of essential steps to cover during the new hire’s first three months. From having a mentor in charge of their evolution and inquiries to ensuring they have access and knowledge of all the workplace productivity tools you use to communicate. Essentially, technology provides a virtual office where people can turn to for information, resources, and help.
To ensure remote worker productivity, look into using a unitary tool to manage your projects and teams from a single place like Asana, Paymo, or ClickUp.
8. Empower Self-Service
Your employees are smart and you have to trust that they can do many things on their own. For example, instead of taking the long route to the HR department to get forms, your employees can access what is needed from their workstation and print the forms themselves.
With technology, you can customize self-service platforms where your employees can accomplish certain tasks on their own instead of asking other personnel in the office.
This improves the day-to-day efficiency for all employees in the workplace.
9. Make Your Workplace Conducive to Remote Working
With the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of office workers got to experience remote work. As many as 54% of them would like to continue working remotely in the future too and are considering ways of making this a reality.
But the remote lifestyle has been around for quite a while now. In fact, 98% of those who worked remotely at the beginning of 2020 said they’d like to continue this type of work organization.
The benefits are clear even if you haven’t had a chance to test a work-from-home setting with your team. Employees get more time and flexibility back and they can finally work the way they want to from wherever they wish. In turn, this makes for happy and more engaged employees who are more than willing to be productive and help your business grow. All because you’re showing them that you truly care for their well-being and work-life balance above all else.
10. Bolster Employee Engagement
Employee engagement and workplace productivity may appear like mutually exclusive concepts at first, but they’re not.
In fact, 80% of employees would be willing to put in more hours to get things done if their employers were more empathetic. While working overtime is not the goal of employee productivity, it shows how engagement has a direct positive impact on work output.
How can technology improve employee engagement?
Using an employee engagement tool like TINYpulse is a great start. Employee engagement tools allow you to send out pulse surveys, open anonymous feedback channels, and facilitate easy peer-to-peer recognition.
Tech-enabled employee engagement is only as limited as your creativity. Incorporate an element of fun such as sending your employees cute cat videos (which, by the way, according to a study, can improve employee productivity at work).
11. Keep Information Secure
The issue of security commonly surfaces when a data breach affects an organization.
What managers don’t realize is how much time and even motivation is wasted when these problems occur. We’re talking about anything from hackers getting into your employees’ accounts to stealing company information or crashing your systems.
Luckily, online security at work has been garnering more attention as people have switched to working remotely. When you’ve got several team members in entirely different parts of the world, it’s more difficult to ensure their security if you don’t know where to start. They’re at a higher risk of security threats when they’re using different devices or just using public WiFi.
Make sure you train your team on the best practices of keeping both their and your information safe. Have them use strong passwords and change them often, update their devices and software whenever needed, and even use a VPN service when working from a coffee shop. This ensures they won’t waste time fixing security issues and they’ll be able to redirect these efforts towards productive tasks.
12. Train Employees in a Timely Manner
Besides the security problem, a larger part of keeping teams productive at work is providing all the training they need as early as possible.
Onboarding, as already mentioned, is the perfect time for this.
But what about new policies, tools, and methods of work you need to impose to current employees?
The safest approach, whenever you want to introduce a new manner of work or software to your team, is to conduct a training session either before or during the first week of making the change.
This productivity hack makes it nearly impossible for your workers not to know how to use the resources they have or do things the wrong way.
A New Age of Productivity for Your Workplace
Productivity at work is a concept that affects almost all key business metrics such as operational costs, revenue, employee retention and attrition, and even customer and client satisfaction.
It also has an impact on more intangible, yet equally important, things including company culture, work environment, employee experience, and brand identity.
The reality that every manager or business owner needs to accept is this: Unless you’re planning to scale back on your operations, workplace demands and requirements have nowhere to go but up.
That said, increasing workplace productivity should always be the priority to meet these demands without overworking your employees.
Thankfully, technology is constantly evolving. New tools are created to help businesses improve productivity and make the work more enjoyable for both employees and managers.
It’s up to you to make a conscious decision to invest in productivity technology and incorporate it into your core business strategy.