Businesses are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic and are now struggling to adjust to growing costs and rising inflation around the country. This was highlighted in a recent ONS report showing that in late April 2022, 38% of businesses reported they had to absorb costs because of the effect of price rises.
The impacts of these changes can be especially hard on small and medium businesses that have lower budgets, lower margins and smaller workforces, making them less resilient to unexpected trends.
So, what can these businesses do in the short term to both increase their productivity and lessen the load whilst they wait for costs to subside?
Use tech tools that help you work smarter, not harder
When working with a remote or hybrid workforce that has multiple teams – each with its own preferred communication and collaboration tools – smaller companies often get overwhelmed. Without a strategy, stacking these different pieces of technology on top of each other can become an anxiety-inducing Jenga tower of tools that just don’t work together. In fact, research by Cornell University and Qatalog found that 48% of respondents had made mistakes as a result of being unable to keep track of their different work channels, showing a clear connection between tech tools used and productivity, or lack thereof.
Businesses need to address this ad hoc approach to tech – especially in a remote work environment. This means looking into which tools they use the most, how well each one works with their other tools and which ones can help decrease the amount of switching from one application to another – which often leads to confusion and overwork.
Use tech tools to speed up your work processes
Not only do businesses need to ensure that their technology simplifies the way they work, but also speeds it up too. Wasted time during inflation, often means wasted revenue – especially for smaller businesses.
A recent study by Enterprise Nation and Dropbox showed that if small businesses adopt better technologies, they have the opportunity to gain £8.1bn a year from saving precious work time. On top of that, the study also highlighted the need for small businesses to stay on top of incoming technologies that could help their work processes as only 34% of businesses with 1-10 employees said they actively keep up with technology trends. This was in comparison to 64% of larger businesses with 50-250 employees.
Choosing better technology might come in the form of enabling better collaboration using post or chat features to communicate on work documents, or tools that can help share audio/visual recordings to aid with asynchronous working. The best tools can also allow employees to self-serve and reduce the time needed to find the information they need, when they need it. This can give teams greater flexibility in uncertain times.
Use tech tools that keep you on track strategically
So far, we’ve talked about tools that help you manage the day-to-day better. But it’s also critical to talk about tech tools that help you become more strategic. Deploy tech that helps you know where to put your efforts – you can’t afford to waste time due to a lack of real-time data and actionable insights. So, leverage resources by utilising project management tools that can give more information on your people and your projects.
Doing this can help businesses gain a better grasp on where the problems in the business truly lie so that they can strategically work to make the most of what and who they have – this could mean identifying trends such as underperformance on sales goals, for example, which can then be addressed with appropriate teams.
Navigating today’s market is not an easy task for any business in the UK, but refining the right digital strategy can aid in lightening the load through difficult times and create better outcomes – after all, tech should make working easier, not harder.