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How to Get Quick Productivity Gains Using Technology
If you’ve read about digital transformation, you may have come away with the impression that it’s a comprehensive, time-intensive revisioning of business IT that should not be expected to yield productivity or performance outcomes immediately. And that impression…well, it’s correct.
So, what if you’re looking to accelerate productivity for your business on a shorter timeline? You may be wondering whether there are IT upgrades that will increase productivity more quickly. The great news is that, yes, there are! This article reviews a handful of such ideas to consider.
Routine, repetitive tasks like filing, filling out forms, and routing documents eat up a sizable portion of many employees’ hours. In fact, office employees in the U.S. report that they spend about 40% of the work week on repetitive tasks1. Using technology tools to automate such tasks can boost organizational productivity by helping employees to move through repetitive, routine tasks more quickly. For example:
- Business process automation software, such as Power BI, can boost organizational productivity by automating certain types of repetitive tasks that consume employees’ time
- SharePoint can be used to create automated workflows, reducing the amount of time employees spend on repetitive tasks
Because organizational productivity is an inherently collaborative phenomenon, it can be seriously hampered by communication inefficiencies. If employees cannot reliably get in contact with one another, then productivity will suffer. Demonstrating the scale of this issue, one study found that employees waited an average of 5 hours every week to get in touch with coworkers who had information they needed to complete a task or project2.
Inefficient communication can degrade productivity in several ways. In one study, 44% of employees stated that communication issues led to project delays or even failure to complete projects entirely3. Almost a third of employees said that communication problems resulted in missed performance goals. A variety of IT solutions can rapidly boost productivity by improving the efficiency of team communication, such as:
- Chat applications allow employees to reach out to coworkers throughout the organization and can be especially useful when a quick response is needed
- Virtual desktop infrastructure allows employees to access their full workstations on any device with a browser and an internet connection, making it easier for employees to share information regardless of where they might be
- Company intranet solutions allow you to create knowledge management systems that give employees instant access to the information they need to get their jobs done
- Collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams can improve communication clarity by offering multiple modalities to suit different communication styles, including chat, audio or video conferencing, and real-time screen or document sharing
Poor time management is another common problem that erodes productivity. When employees fail to make efficient use of paid work hours, this can sharply reduce a firm’s overall productivity. To illustrate, one study found that spending 10-12 minutes planning your day each morning could save up to 2 hours in wasted or nonproductive time each day4.
Poor time management is often associated with disorganization. A common form of disorganization in the office is when employees have difficulty finding the information they need to do their jobs. And research has demonstrated that time spent looking for documents, files, or other information quickly adds up. In a survey of 1,000 knowledge workers, 25% reported spending about 2 hours each day looking for documents or information needed to complete their jobs5. Yet another study found that 57% of employees lost about 6 hours of productivity per week due to disorganization6.
A variety of technologies can be used to help your employees to make more efficient use of their time, including:
- Shared task planners can help employees to prioritize and block out time for important tasks; when shared across team members, task planners can also clarify task progression and team members’ responsibilities, creating a more organized group process
- Searchable personal file storage allows employees to conduct keyword searches of their own work documents to efficiently find items that they need to stay on track with assignments
- Searchable shared file storage allows employees to conduct efficient keyword searches of files owned by their team, department, or across departments
- Integrated application platforms such as Microsoft 365 allow employees to conduct keyword searches to easily locate files shared through email or over conferencing platforms, which keeps important documents from “falling through the cracks”
Finally, a creative way of addressing employee productivity is to reduce the amount of time that non-technical employees spend dealing with IT issues. Many bosses are surprised to learn just how much time their managers and other employees spend dealing with the various IT issues that crop up over the course of the work week.
One survey revealed that non-IT workers spend about 22 minutes each day dealing with IT issues7. This may not sound like much until you consider the fact that it amounts to about 18 hours per year for each employee. Using a managed service provider for help desk services and other IT support gives your employees more time to do what they do best for your company.
NexusTek has over 25 years of supporting small and medium-sized businesses to increase productivity and efficiency through more effective use of business technology.
Are you interested in getting quick productivity gains? Consult with an IT expert today.
- (2021). How much time do we actually spend on recurring tasks? (Study 2021). https://clockify.me/time-spent-on-recurring-tasks
- (2019, October 16). Workplace productivity report: How much time is lost to knowledge sharing inefficiencies? https://www.panopto.com/blog/how-much-time-is-lost-to-knowledge-sharing-inefficiencies-at-work/
- The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2018). Communication barriers in the workplace. https://d2slcw3kip6qmk.cloudfront.net/marketing/pages/chart/ebooks/FINAL_EIU_Lucidchart_March2018.pdf
- (2022, April 18). Time management statistics and facts that will surprise you. https://trafft.com/time-management-statistics/
- Stone, B. (2022, February 10). Employees could leave jobs due to disorganization. TechRepublic. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/employees-could-leave-jobs-due-to-disorganization/
- Perrine, J. (2015, November 25). The struggle is real: Disorganization can cost you. Executive Support Magazine. https://executivesupportmagazine.com/the-struggle-is-real-disorganization-can-cost-you/
- (2016, March 22). Wasted workday: Employees lose over two weeks each year due to IT-related issues. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wasted-workday-employees-lose-over-two-weeks-each-year-due-to-it-related-issues-300239058.html