How the right tools can help your team to get up to speed and do more
Productivity in the workplace used to be judged by hours spent in the office – now, it’s about staying connected and getting the work done no matter where you are. In the modern workplace, sophisticated software, cloud-based data storage and portable devices mean that people can do almost everything remotely.
But, unless your workplace has the right software solutions and devices available, barriers to productivity remain. Many offices and other workplaces rely on a patchwork of different systems and processes, which makes for a less efficient workflow. Relying on email can lead to slow, inefficient communication, working remotely without the right tools can result in a lack of collaboration, documentation can be difficult to control, and security issues can arise when work is stored in the cloud. These problems can add up to slower processes and lags in work being completed.
Of course, with the right tools, workflow processes can be streamlined, and improved productivity will follow. Video and text-based chat systems can enhance communication, shared drives and documents boost collaboration, and security risks can be managed with sophisticated software. It’s about prioritising productivity and making sure you’re set up for success.
Effective communication, productive people
Two decades ago, email was a communication game-changer – now, it’s far from the most efficient way to communicate in the workplace. Rather than sending messages that may languish in an inbox for weeks, chat programs and video calls offer instant answers and accessible records.
Chat programs like Slack and Microsoft Teams let you set up groups based around specific projects or work teams. That way, messages are shared with the whole group by default – and queries can be answered by whoever is available. Chat logs are stored and searchable, so any group member can search for previous messages if they need information. Having most project communication through chat means that nobody misses out on key information by being left off an email chain or missing a reply – and it prevents vital knowledge being siloed in one or two email inboxes.
When teams need to share big ideas and insights, video calling and conferencing are ideal – bridging the gap between messaging and in-person meetings.
Collaborate, share, create
Collaboration is an essential part of most modern workplaces, but it’s often limited to in-person meetings or slow, asynchronous work on shared documents. Working this way can hamper effective collaboration, especially if you have teams working remotely.
When multiple people are working on a project, there’s inevitably a lot of back-and-forth involved. One person makes changes, saves a document, sends it to another person, then that person makes comments, which then need to be incorporated into the work. When you add in a day or more of wait-time between changes and updates, it adds up to sluggish workflow and frustrating delays.
Along with video calling and chat, working in the cloud allows for instant collaboration on shared work. Every member of a team can access the same documents, make and view changes, and share with clients or other teams. It’s far more effective and transparent – particularly for work with multiple stakeholders and lots of fiddly details.
Taking control of documentation
When you have multiple people working on the same documents, version control is an ever-present issue. Even if you have set protocols for file naming and saving, it can be difficult to work out which document is the latest version without a lot of checking, comparing, and renaming. Each process may be small on its own, but they can add up to a lot of wasted time and reduced productivity – not to mention embarrassing errors if the wrong version is sent to the client.
When all your work is saved to the cloud, version control becomes far less complicated. Team members never have to save to their local drive or search different folders for work – it’s all saved in one place. Depending on your workplace protocols, you can save all versions of a document for easy retrieval, or simply update a master version with the latest changes. Because all authorised members of a team can see all the relevant files, there’s far less hunting for updated copies or feedback – and with all changes recorded under team member logins, you always know who has done what.
High-tech security that doesn’t impact on workflow
Data breaches and security may not seem related to productivity, but they can be a time-suck for your people – and if your work is increasingly remote and cloud-based, breaches are not unlikely.
Protecting your proprietary data and customer information is essential, but it needs to be balanced with making processes easy on your people. Complex security systems can be heavy and frustrating, slowing your team members down – particularly if they’re trying to work remotely. But it doesn’t have to be that way – with features like Conditional Access and Multi-factor Authentication, you can keep your information secure without impacting productivity.
Multi-factor authentication makes the log-in process more secure, by sending a code through SMS or email that needs to be entered after the user’s password. When your people are using multiple devices and working in a range of locations, this feature is a simple way to beef up your security without slowing them down.
Conditional access restricts access to your systems based on the country the user is in. If anyone outside your chosen area tries to log in, they’ll be blocked -preventing potential data breaches. Of course, if your team travels overseas you can temporarily adjust your settings to include other countries.
Security is about giving your team the tools to get their work done, wherever they are. With the right system, your people will be able to log-in and access the programs and information they need in seconds, without compromising your security.
Boosting productivity with the right software solutions
All workflow software is not created equal – you might think you have a great system in place, but if you’re still having issues with slow processes, there could be a better way.
Office 365, Teams, Slack, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Advanced Threat Protection – all of the above or just a few – the right programs for your workplace depend on what you do, and how you manage your workflow. At Base2, we start by finding your productivity pain points and then pick the best solutions for your business.
In some cases, it can also be about unlocking the potential of the software you already have in place. Many of our current clients have software that can serve their needs, but they aren’t using all the available features – if this is you, a little help from the Base2 team could go a long way towards resolving any productivity problems, without the need to invest in new systems.
Looking for ways to boost productivity in your workplace? Check out our Productivity webinar to learn tips and tricks that could transform the way you work.