As this economic downturn continues to wreak havoc on businesses across the globe, an increasing number of professionals are being asked to do more with less. This means that companies are looking to their employees for greater contributions both in quality and quantity. Fortunately, technology is making it easier than ever for workers to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Here are some tech solutions that can be used to create a more effective and productive work environment.
1.) BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
According to the 2010 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, 85% of employers currently allow their employees to use personally owned smartphones, tablets, laptops, or other devices for both personal and business purposes while on the job. When used correctly, this practice can help boost productivity by giving employees more flexibility to work from virtually anywhere at any time. In addition, the proliferation of cloud services is making this strategy one of the most cost-effective ways to increase overall output. As a result, more and more companies are turning BYOD into a reality.
2.) Communication Tools
A more effective and productive work environment can be created when communication tools are used properly. For example, if everyone in an office were to use instant messaging programs such as Skype and Google chat, they would be able to communicate quickly and easily with one another.
Employees could leave notifications when they are going on break so that no one will take their spot and they can do work while the person is gone. Written communication is also important. Using tools to communicate in written form allows for the writer to take their time and write out their thoughts in detail, making sure that it is accurate and well thought out.
The receiver also has the benefit of receiving this information at a later time, allowing them to digest what they are about to read without feeling like they should be under pressure during a conversation. In addition, communication tools like employee engagement surveys can be used to listen to your employees and to provide immediate feedback and suggestions on how a project is going. This is why many business owners are using this and other similar communication tools.
3.) CRM – Customer Relationship Management
A customer relationship management (CRM) system enables users to better track and manage client activity across multiple channels like phone, email, and social media. These systems are designed to help businesses track everything from the initial outreach efforts to the final transaction in order to better serve customers while boosting response rates along the way. Used by nearly half of all U.S. companies, CRM solutions can also help employees work more efficiently by streamlining communication while encouraging collaboration among co-workers.
4.) File Sharing
In our modern environment, employees tend to have many different technological tools at their disposal. In addition to a desktop or laptop computer, they may have a tablet or phone with which they listen to music and watch movies while commuting on the subway or during their lunch break. As more companies have moved towards allowing file sharing in the workplace, it’s become more and more convenient for employees to listen to their favorite music or watch their favorite movies.
File sharing, as it sounds, is the sharing of files – most commonly audio and video – over a network. The file can be saved on another user’s computer (or vice versa), but it still exists as just one file. It cannot be played directly off of the computers as an MP3 file can. Instead, the file is accessed (or streamed) over the network via a streaming server.
This technology provides an effective method for attaching large files like video or recordings to e-mail messages, as many email providers are now offering webmail clients that have built-in media players. Companies are finding that this practice increases productivity levels.
5.) Virtual Meetings
Virtual Meetings are becoming very popular as businesses and the workforce grow. Virtual meetings (such as those on Skype or Google Hangout) not only allow for easier conference calls but also allows participants to actually see each other during the meeting. This helps foster a better working environment with the use of non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and body movements. It also ensures that everyone is paying attention and listening to the details of the conversation as it allows for visual aids such as presentations and spreadsheets to be displayed on a separate screen, which is viewable by all participants.
Businesses now use Virtual Meetings as a viable option in place of face-to-face meetings or conference calls; this allows for better and more productive meetings with minimal downtime.
Virtual Meetings can be used in a multitude of industries, such as the technology industry to hold conferences calls or meetings that were previously only available in person due to time restraints and multiple participants. It is also popular in the service industry where businesses and employees are not located near each other, allowing them to have a meeting just as effectively as if everyone was in the same room.
6.) Flexible Work Arrangements
Employees are finding more flexibility in how they work, choosing when to work and for how long. As a result, employees tend to be more productive than in traditional office environments.
These flexible arrangements can include telecommuting at least one day per week; working from home on certain days; taking time off during the workday to volunteer at a child’s school; leaving early on a Friday to attend a Little League game, and taking longer lunch breaks.
As stated in an article from Wharton School, “If you need a refresher course in how to work smart during the day, flexible hours may be your ticket. Employees who believe they have some discretion over their work hours are more productive than those who do not have this flexibility, according to a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Those who take advantage of flexible scheduling practices tend to be happier with their jobs.”
These practices adopted by companies are increasing productivity because employees don’t lose focus when they think about their other responsibilities. Instead, this system encourages them to be more focused on the tasks at hand.
7.) Collaborative Tools
Collaborative tools are all about working together. Collaboration is a simple concept, but it can be tricky to implement well. Today’s employees want effective collaboration solutions that would work anywhere and at any time, so they could do their jobs better. With the help of collaborative tools, companies are able to reduce costs by improving internal communication and easing coordination and oversight, which in turn makes for a more effective and productive work environment.
There are several tools out there that fall under the collaborative umbrella. The most common ones include:
-Workflow Management Systems: These solutions help to automate and manage operational processes across departments or business units, so employees can spend less time on relatively minor tasks and more on more important work for the company.
-Enterprise Social Networks: Enterprises are now using enterprise social networks as a single platform to share and collaborate with colleagues and customers, outside business partners, and even vendors. These tools allow employees to communicate like never before. They also help companies keep all their content in one place, which makes it easier to find and share.
-Web Conferencing Tools: These tools help employees get together for meetings, presentations, or training sessions, so they can speak face to face, no matter where they are in the world. Most web conferencing tools allow participants to share screens and collaborate on documents in real-time.
-Data Collaboration Tools: Examples include Google spreadsheets and Dropbox. These solutions keep everyone who’s working on a project or file up to date, no matter where they are in the world.
As described above, companies are using these technology tools to increase productivity. As the way we work changes, more companies are adopting these solutions to meet their employees’ needs.