How does technology increase productivity
7 tips on how to increase productivity with modern technology
Modern technologies for office communication undoubtedly increase the productivity of your employees. But where are the biggest time wasters in everyday work and what solutions can you declare war on them?
To this end, the market research company IDC carried out a global survey of information workers and IT experts in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan in 2012. Information workers are people who make their income mostly with their heads and not with their hands.
Documents as the biggest waste of time
The day-to-day work of information workers mainly consists of creating, editing and approving documents of all kinds. This also includes gathering information, searching through archived documents and preparing them in new forms of presentation (e.g. presentations).
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Information workers spend around nine hours a week overcoming difficulties in creating and managing documents. Frequent causes are above all the difficult search for stored documents, incompatible file formats, different versions of a document in circulation and time-consuming filling out of forms.
According to the IDC study, this effort can reduce the productivity of workers by 20 percent. This loss of time can cost a company around EUR 14,500 per employee per year. If you convert this to a company with 1,000 employees, the wasted working time corresponds to an additional 195 employees.
Practical tips to increase the productivity of your employees
1. Cloud solutions
Nine out of ten information workers work with people outside the company. This raises the question of methods of simple collaboration and document sharing. According to the results of the study, this is a driving factor for the use of cloud services or sharing services. In the case of cloud services, part of the hardware and software is not operated by the company itself, but in a provider's data center. The services are made available online.
More than a fifth of all applications for information workers are based on cloud solutions - and the trend is growing rapidly. The use of collaboration tools in particular will increase. Modern means of communication such as web or video conferences, instant messaging or enterprise social networks reduce the hurdles in handling documents and thus increase the productivity of information workers.
Often, IT does not pay enough attention to the needs of information workers. Mobile work must be possible at all levels and with the full range of functions. The most effective way to increase productivity here is to create a “third platform” - a cloud solution that bundles mobile and social technologies. Last but not least, this also increases the efficiency of cooperation and thus productivity.
2. Mobile working
Productivity can be increased by enabling employees to work mobile. According to surveys, most information workers want their smartphones or tablets to have full access to their documents in addition to e-mail and calendars. Outdated IT security guidelines often severely restrict the functions and applications on mobile devices.
3. Established document standards
Document standards have always played an essential role in the issue of compatibility and collaboration. Anyone who uses globally established standards can ensure that platform-independent opening and editing is possible. Examples of such document standards are ODF, OpenXML, PDF and EPUB.
4. No paper
One of the main appeals of the IDC study authors to IT is to develop strategies for reducing paper consumption. Paper documents have turned out to be one of the biggest productivity killers in work processes with documents because, unlike digital documents, they are not searchable and difficult to manage.
According to the results of the study, the use of tablets works successfully against paper addiction. Tablet users print out significantly fewer documents, as the tablet enables them to better integrate handling digital documents into their everyday work.
Two-thirds of respondents in the IDC study said adding comments in submitted documents would save time. In everyday work, comments and ratings are limited to the medium of e-mail. Avoid this time killer by inserting comments directly, e.g. in text documents.
6. Frustration with e-forms
E-forms are a frustrating factor for half of the respondents, as they spend an average of eight hours a week on them. It takes around 2.5 hours a week for each worker. Loosened policies can make some forms superfluous and thus eliminate this frustration factor.
7. Collaboration tools
Collaboration and social communication tools make it much easier for employees to organize collaboration. Documents can be created and edited together, online meetings held and ideas collected in mind maps. This significantly optimizes work processes, especially in virtual teams and in mobile project work.
The software provider TWT has recorded the increase in productivity through the use of Google Apps (Mail, Docs, Calendar, Sites etc.) in companies. Three quarters of employees use Google Docs, which increases productivity by almost 20 percent, and with Google Calendar it is even 37 percent.
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