It’s common to say that technology is revolutionizing the way we work — from product development to manufacturing to office workflow. And the reason people say this so often is because it’s true. Technology is changing the face of just about every industry, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.
Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to try to keep up with the changes without completely overhauling your company’s workflow.
But, if you take control of technology and apply it intentionally to your company, you can find ways to apply technology to improve business efficiency.
Here are three ways that you can harness technology to increase productivity in the workplace.
Step out of email and into group communication apps
Email used to be the go-to communicating tool of every office space. But email came with a host of its own problems, as well as miscommunications and confusing message threads.
Gone are the days of unwieldy email communication, limited file sharing, and long response wait times. If your company is still using email as its primary mode of communication.
Group communication and productivity apps — most notably, the app Slack — have given office memos a facelift.
Apps such as Slack allow you and your employees to chat in an instant message format, as well as to easily share files, audio clips, links, and pretty much anything else your company might need to collaborate on.
Although each company will start with a company-wide group chat, you can splinter off the groups into smaller group chats for each department, sub-group, or collaborative partnership. Employees can use the app on their phones, their desktops, and/or their laptops — whichever they feel most comfortable with.
Apps such as this keep your entire office connected and in sync, and the easy file sharing promotes group effort and helps everyone to avoid miscommunications. Email may still have a place in formal communications, but productivity apps make day-to-day office communications infinitely easier and sleeker.
Make the most of videochat to shorten long distance partnerships
If you have long-distance employees or business partners, it’s time to use tech to shorten that distance.
Geographical distance can make clients and employees feel forgotten or less cared for, which can lead to bigger problems down the road. And, conference calls and video chats used to be unwieldy and frustrating, making it difficult to bridge that gap — but modern technology means that’s no longer the case.
Take advantage of your lightning fast internet and schedule regular video calls with your out-of-town contacts. And, yes, it does need to be video. Although nothing can compare to face-to-face communication, video gets pretty close.
And every employee, partner, or client will feel more valued and connected when they see a real person on the other end of the line.
And if video contact isn’t quite enough, you can even take it to the next step by sending physical products to your employees or clients. Using modern shipping solutions, you can get products across the country or the world, without the headache or the time commitment that it used to involve.
Encourage focused attention, with the help of concentration apps
With all of the apps out there, coupled with the distractions of social media, it can feel like technology is so consuming that there isn’t any time to get actual work.
And, yep, you guessed it: there’s an app for that.
Apps such as Freedom, Boomerang, FocusWriter, and OFFTIME all help to block distractions such as email notifications and social media sites so that users can focus on their work instead.
However, it’s typically poor practice to force technology-limiting measures on employees. But, you can encourage your employees to use these apps by supplying a free subscription or by hosting seminars on the benefits of limiting distractions for certain periods of the day.
These three approaches are a great way to start using technology to make your office into a better workplace. However, technology will continue to grow and change, sometimes so quickly it can feel like whiplash.
The most important thing to remember is to go with the flow, and embrace the changes that you can. Avoiding new technologies won’t make them go away — so you might as well make the best of it and make tech work for you.