Fresh Level Pro team member Tamara Shipp tells the story of a man she worked with in the mid-’80s who observed that office work was so much easier than it had been a few years before, thanks to technology. He pointed out the ease with which one could correct errors in typed documents, make multiple copies, and save templates to efficiently personalize or update files. Another coworker pointed out that such advancements may have made it easier to do those things but that it also added to expectations of what one could accomplish over the course of the work day. With new technology came the demand for perfection, increased productivity, and sometimes unreasonable notions: Can’t you just push a button and make that happen?
In the year 2015, the expectation of efficiency and productivity has increased exponentially, and the need to work smarter is no longer a novelty but a necessity. Here are 7 ways to use technology to increase productivity.
- Improve collaboration and sharing with tools like Basecamp, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Team members can share ideas and work on documents whether they’re across the hall from each other or across the country. They can organize files efficiently, keep track of who is working on what, and use a variety of mobile devices to keep in constant contact. No more “I’m waiting for Bob to call me back about that.”
- Leverage social media to find and use content, create and share content, and build networks and communities. Not only do people discover information they previously never thought to look for, but the social element of these platforms encourages participants to share their thoughts and experiences in unique ways that can encourage and foster productivity.
- Use analytics to sort information and understand what works. As IBM’s Jeff Shick notes, “Analytics capabilities let us work smarter and sift out the key information coming from different sources to get it into the right hands internally.” Popular analytics tools include Google Analytics, Chartbeat, and GoSquared.
- Implement the use of content marketing tools such as Trello, Buffer, and Feedly. By organizing your content, testing what works, and finding out what others are writing about, you can boost productivity and improve results.
- Embrace the Cloud to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and automate applications.
- Provide employees with online training. Whether you need specialized training or more general courses such as leadership and communication, there are a variety of online solutions.
- Make use of time-tracking tools like 1Time, Bill4Time, and BubbleTimer. Time-tracking applications allow you to understand how long certain tasks take so you can provide more accurate estimates to customers and can help improve productivity.
Taking the time to organize your processes, goals, and how you schedule your time and that of your team is well worth the effort. Sometimes entrepreneurs and businesspeople don’t want to stop working long enough to organize their day. But doing so will not only increase productivity but will also improve the quality of production.