Are new communication tools actually increasing productivity or are they just wasting everyone’s time? This is a question many organizations are beginning to ask themselves. Technology allows society to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be impossible. It’s safe to say it has helped humans improve productivity. However, emerging technology could end up being a hindrance or a crutch, not a solution.
Some leaders believe ditching technology can increase focus and productivity, but in reality, the same technology can be used to make tasks simpler and quicker. All that’s needed is some employee discipline and effort. Here are some ways to check that modern applications are helping your employees work more efficiently, increase productivity and ultimately achieve business goals.
Recently, communication behaviors, habits and tools have filtered from employees’ personal lives into the workplace. The use of text messaging, social media and instant messaging as professional communication is predicted to increase in the next several years. Face-to-face meetings are expected to decrease and be replaced by collaborative platforms. Based on responses from a Deloitte survey, 67% of people expect to see growth in “work-based social media,” and 62% predict an increase in instant messaging. No single form of communication will dominate, instead multiple methods of communication will be featured in the workplace.
The impact of these new communication tools can be extremely positive. Online collaboration tools have been known to be very beneficial. They allow co-workers to spread all over the world to share their work in a simple and efficient way. Most of these tools have the ability to track the progress of a project. Team members can see the evolution of the project from day one. With the ability to store all documents in one shared space, requested actions can be done quickly. No matter where a member is located, they can see what changes were made to team documents and who made them. This helps co-workers understand what stage the project is in. When all is said and done, reporting is made easy by having detailed reports generated. Features offered in online collaboration platforms make managing a project painless. However, if they aren’t used properly or underutilized, they could end up hurting a team’s productivity.
Many new and exciting tools were introduced and adopted in 2018, but how do you know which ones are best? Management should still evaluate the numerous options and make the important decisions of which tools should be used and where they should be used. Not all tools will benefit a company and managers need to make the choice to not use them. Leaders can determine which tools are best for their organization, teams and tasks based on a variety of factors, including culture, pace of communication and level of formality. Whichever tools are selected, it’s important to build out standards and guidelines that coordinate personal productivity with the team and organizational productivity.
In the same previously mentioned Deloitte survey, 46% of respondents said they regularly use virtual meeting software, and 30% of them now use location-based video conferencing. Even though employees increased their use of communication tools, their productivity hasn’t necessarily increased with it. While 70% of respondents credit new tools with improving personal productivity, 47% were concerned about whether the tools were increasing total productivity.
To reach overall productivity, a combination of technology, workspace design, management styles and work practices have to come together. Collaboration between HR, IT and the rest of the business to produce a customized work environment can help achieve the goal.
The concern about a possible disconnect between modern communication tools and organizational goals resonates with managers and their companies. To make sure personal connectivity is translating into organizational productivity, leaders are modifying practices, workspaces and management styles to take advantage of these new tools while softening their negative influences.
About Sara Pollock:
As the head of the Marketing department, Sara makes sure that ClearCompany’s message, products and best practices reach and assist as many HR practitioners as possible.
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