There are many ways to improve the productivity of your business. Many developers have created technology intended to do just that. But what technologies to use and how to use them are not always clear. Effectively using productivity software is a skill in itself, not one that everyone grasps intuitively. Sometimes it’s even worth organizing a training day or writing a manual to keep your employees on the same page.
It’s important to explicitly communicate how you want your company culture to develop when using such technology. Keep reading to learn how your business can promote productivity by implementing software and how you can teach your employees how to use these tools effectively.
Improve your communications
Email has been alive and well for over three decades now. While it was used by some industries as early as the 1980s, it really took off in the mid-1990s. ” afterwards. Even for office workers, it was far more efficient and productive to simply send an email than to physically walk to someone’s desk. However, we are finally living in an era where email has found its way into intra-office communications.
Instant messaging services have been around for about as long as email, but they’ve never been as polished as they are today. Over the past decade, developers have focused on creating sophisticated email software. These tools are refined, versatile and, best of all, secure. You can help increase your company’s productivity by using such an internal messaging system as the primary channel for your team’s communications. Email still has its place, but for dedicated teams, the increase in communications productivity from such software is unmatched.
Learn good communication etiquette
Although email is outclassed when it comes to internal communication, it is not obsolete. It remains useful for communicating with companies, customers and any interested external person. Make sure your and your team’s email skills don’t diminish as they focus on developing their IM skills. Encourage them to keep up to date with messaging best practices. Writing compelling emails will remain essential as email users are expected to reach 4.6 billion by 2025.
Although e-mail may continue to dominate intercommunications, your intracommunications will have their own label. The best way to use each communication software depends on the software you are using. But, in general, you and your team might want to develop a writing style that includes asynchronous working patterns. Companies are increasingly employing remote workers, who can work asynchronously. Keep messages clear and actionable to reduce blur and increase individual productivity.
Whatever your work communication happens in writing – you’ll want to follow Louise Dobson’s advice and “Watch your nonverbal intonation of intentions that confuses and offends your readers.”
Manage projects digitally
Any size business will have multiple teams collaborating on various aspects of the same project. Larger networks of teams have the potential to create elaborate and sophisticated products that appeal to a wide audience. However, gaining visibility into various aspects of project completion can also be challenging. A team may need a deliverable from another team before they can start or complete their own tasks. Just like a big traffic jam, a small accident or delay can create massive cross-team productivity saves.
Regardless of the size of your team, you’ll likely benefit from using a task manager or some form of project collaboration software. Using productivity software literally provides visibility into every aspect of product management, big and small. You will be able to clearly see which teams and team members are working on which parts of a particular project. You can easily identify deliverables that are causing issues in workflow pipelines and adapt to them. Project collaboration software gives you data you might never otherwise have access to and has the potential to dramatically improve productivity.
Synchronize your calendars
Both types of software mentioned above can indeed offer huge productivity gains to your business. However, poor planning is a problem that will prevent your team(s) from getting the most out of the software. Using project managers to assign clear tasks and deliverables to team members is great. But not if a team member has planned to be out of the office for a dental appointment by the project deadline. Even when using email, instant messaging, and other communication channels, scheduling information can get lost in translation.
Luckily, calendars have also come a long way in the past decade. Digital calendars have many fancy features, and again, one of the best is the visibility they provide. A team calendar will allow you to see at a glance exactly when your team members are available. This way, you can program as you please with impunity. You’ll reduce the likelihood of double bookings and overbookings and forgo potentially huge amounts of wasted time resolving scheduling conflicts.
Don’t get distracted
When talking about software that increases your productivity, it’s also important to discuss what to avoid. Your attention is limited, and many apps want to capitalize on that attention. Social media is a particular offender and has the potential to completely divert your attention. Games, personal messaging, even news and other apps can rip your focus. It is therefore important to ensure that attention-intensive software is effectively mitigated.
Each person is likely to see their attention monopolized by certain programs. They are literally designed to take the most of your focus and attention, and time is money. Productivity-minded developers have sought to limit their time spent distracting and creating software to reduce attention-hungry sites. Encourage your team to install these types of software on their work devices to increase their focus time. Distracting sites and apps can be blocked during work hours, and productivity can be measured and displayed in real time.
Make a habit of finding new software
When it comes to productivity, software skills foster a mindset of experimentation. There are so many apps, widgets, and downloads that will help boost your team’s productivity. But every team is different and has different needs depending on the type of work they do. Effective communication and planning systems are relatively ubiquitous, but your team might have more specific needs. There’s probably some kind of productivity software out there that could help, but you’ll have to find it.
Although you can research on your own, encourage your team members to investigate on their own. Ask them to think about the daily challenges they face and if they would be alleviated by automation in some way. If so, ask them to follow that line of thinking with search results. And, if the kind of software they need just doesn’t exist, there may be a development opportunity out there. Where there is a need for one person or team, there are likely many others with similar needs.
Invest in the future of your business
There are many types of software that will help you increase the productivity of your business. Some of them are more widespread and ubiquitous than others, but each requires its own set of skills. Communication channels will continue to be essential in all businesses. However, some companies will find certain niche software more effective than others. Developing your team’s skills with software can take time, but it can be worth it in the long run.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Ivan Samkov; pexels; Thanks!
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