There are numerous ways to improve your business’s productivity. Many developers have created technology targeted at doing just that. But which technologies to use and how to use them isn’t always clear. Using productivity software effectively is a skill in itself and not one that everyone intuitively grasps. 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’d like your business 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 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 ‘80s, it really took off in the mid-’90s dot com era. Email traveled at lightspeed compared to standard post mail, which was dubbed “snail mail” thereafter. Even for office workers, it was much more efficient and productive to simply send an email than physically walking to someone’s cubicle. However, we finally live in a time when email has met its match when it comes to intra-office communications.
Instant messaging services have existed for about as long as email, but they’ve never been as refined as they are now. Over the last decade, developers have focused on creating sophisticated messaging software. These tools are refined, multi-faceted, and, perhaps best of all, secure. You can help boost the productivity of your business by using such an internal messaging system as the main channel for your team’s communications. Email still has its place, but for dedicated teams, the productivity boost to communications from such software is unrivaled.
Learn Proper Communication Etiquette
Although email is outclassed when it comes to internal communications, it’s not obsolete. It remains useful for communicating with businesses, customers, and any external persons of interest. Make sure you and your team’s email skills don’t wane as they focus on developing their IM skills. Encourage them to keep up to date on best email practices. Writing compelling emails will remain essential as email users are projected to increase to 4.6 billion by 2025.
While email might continue to dominate intercommunications, your intracommunications will have their own etiquette. How to use each communication software best depends on which software you use. But, in general, you and your team may want to develop a writing style inclusive of asynchronous work patterns. Companies are increasingly employing remote workers, who may work asynchronously. Keep messages clear and actionable to reduce vagueness and increase individual productivity.
Whatever your working communication that happens in writing — you will want to follow Louise Dobson’s advice and “Watch your non-verbal intonation of intentions that confuses and offends your readers.”
Manage Projects Digitally
Any company of size will have multiple teams collaborating on various aspects of the same project. Bigger networks of teams have the potential to create elaborate and sophisticated products that appeal to large audiences. However, getting visibility on various aspects of project completion can also be difficult. One team might require a deliverable from another team before they can begin or finalize their own tasks. Just like a large traffic jam, one small accident or delay can create massive backups in inter-team productivity.
No matter your team’s size, you’d likely benefit from using a task manager or project collaboration software of some kind. Using productivity software literally grants visibility on all aspects of product management, large and small. You’ll be able to clearly see which teams and team members are working on which parts of a particular project. You can easily identify which deliverables cause pain points in workflow pipelines and adapt. Project collaboration software gives you data you might never have access to otherwise and has the potential to improve productivity massively.
Synch Up Your Calendars
Both kinds of the aforementioned software can indeed offer huge boosts to your business’s productivity. However, improper scheduling is an issue that will prevent your team(s) from making the most of the software. Using project managers to assign clear tasks and deliverables to team members is great. But not if a team member has scheduled to be out of the office for a dental appointment on the project deadline. Even using email, instant messaging, and other communication channels, scheduling information can get lost in translation.
Thankfully, calendars have also come a long way in the last decade. Digital calendars have lots of sophisticated features, and, again, one of the best is the visibility they offer. A team calendar will allow you to see at a glance exactly when your individual team members are available. That way, you can schedule to your heart’s content with unabashed impunity. You’ll decrease the likelihood of double and over-booking and forego potentially massive amounts of time wasted resolving scheduling conflicts.
Don’t Distract Yourself
When talking about software that increases your productivity, it’s also important to discuss what to avoid. Your attention is limited, and many applications want to capitalize on that attention. Social media is a particular offender and has the potential to throw off your focus completely. Games, personal messaging, even news, and other applications can rip your attention apart. So it’s important to make sure that attention-hungry software is mitigated effectively.
Every person is susceptible to having their attention eaten up by certain programs. They’re quite literally designed to take as much of your focus and attention, and time is money. Productivity-minded developers have sought to curb their time spent distracted and created software to hold attention-hungry sites in abatement. Encourage your team to install these kinds of software on their work devices to help increase their time spent focusing. 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 promote a mindset of experimentation. There are so many apps, widgets, and downloads out there that will help increase your team’s productivity. But each team is different and has different needs relative to the kind of work they do. Effective communication and scheduling systems are relatively ubiquitous, but your team might have more niche needs. There is likely some sort of productivity software out there that could help you, but you’ll need to find it.
While you can do some research on your own, encourage your team members to investigate their own accord. Ask them to consider what daily challenges they encounter and if they would be alleviated by automation in some way. If so, have them follow up that line of thinking with search results. And, if the kind of software they need simply doesn’t exist, perhaps there’s a development opportunity afoot. Where there’s a need from one person or team, there are likely many more out there who have similar needs.
Invest In Your Business’s Future
There are many different kinds of software out there that will help boost your business’s productivity. Some of these are more prevalent and ubiquitous than others, but each requires its own skill set. Channels of communication will continue to be essential throughout all businesses. However, some businesses will find certain niche software more effective than others. It may take time to develop your team’s skill sets with software, but it can be well worth it in the long run.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!