Having a productive workforce is one of the key challenges facing Britain’s small businesses. Figuring out why the country has low productivity levels is still a bit of a puzzle, but businesses could buck the trend by making better use of technology.
This isn’t about robots replacing humans in the future, though: it’s about embracing technology that’s available now that could help your staff communicate more efficiently and work more productively.
Enabling internal communications
Technology, in particular internal communications technology, makes it easier for people within an organisation to speak to each other efficiently. While some businesses worry that internal messaging systems might lead to incessant gossiping, wasted time or even data breaches, they could in fact help raise productivity and enable teams to stay on the same page in terms of project timelines, deadlines and meetings.
One of the most popular tools that’s amassed over 2.5 million users is Slack: a platform that allows internal messaging between teams and individuals while supporting messages from bots and integrating custom-built apps. Businesses using Slack report a 32% increase in productivity, demonstrating that communication is often one of the most important factors in boosting productivity.
The Sunday Times, for example, uses Slack not only for important internal messaging but to notify staff (using the bot feature) of what’s on the lunch menu in the canteen that afternoon. There are plenty of simple and fun ways that businesses can put the technology to use.
Project management systems like ProofHub, Freshdesk and Basecamp have transformed the way teams share projects, assign tasks and align campaigns, making them more productive. Technology like this can often be hard to integrate into a business, but investing time in training team members when any new technology is introduced can save a lot of time and money in the long term.
Having a central workspace on a project management system boosts efficiency, time management and accuracy. Most small businesses will be only too aware that time is money, so one of the most popular features of project management systems is the ability to easily track time amongst team members and projects. Many tools enable managers to identify which aspects of a project are most time-consuming, so they can allocate their budgets more effectively.
Connecting people through video
Video conferencing has become increasingly popular among small businesses in recent years. Whether it’s for conducting client meetings, allowing senior management to address the wider business or connecting teams in different countries, video conferencing makes face-to-face communications possible.
This is particularly important for small businesses trying to cater to demand for flexible working. According to a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce and BT Business, 91% of businesses in Britain have at least one employee that works from home, or remotely in another location. As lifestyles change and working patterns become more flexible, video conferencing is helping businesses ensure productivity isn’t reduced and communication is maintained. Illustrating this, a study by Wainhouse Research and Polycom found that 94% of businesses using video conferencing say it increases productivity.
Video conferencing software has also come a long way in recent years. Thanks to faster internet connectivity, better audio quality and clearer pictures, it’s easier than ever for businesses to connect, communicate and collaborate.
Staying ahead of the curve
Not only will utilising the latest tools increase productivity throughout your business, but it will also help you stay ahead and recruit the best. Integrating new technology and changing with the times makes you more attractive to skilled, tech-savvy talent who will embrace new trends.
Technology is only going to improve and evolve, which will enable businesses to adopt a much more streamlined approach that helps employees work more productively.
This article comes to you courtesy of MeetingZone, the workplace collaboration and conferencing business.