How does information technology affect productivity?
According to the Office for National Statistics the UK has one of the lowest productivity levels in the developed world. There are lots of contributing factors however recent research suggests IT issues are to blame. Databases, office applications and peripherals often throw up with errors in addition to the usual intranet and network problems. These are time consuming to put right and often involve more than one colleague.
Samsung recently did some research and produced a report called More Good Days at Work. The company found that 91% of employees are losing concentration by coming to the rescue to help colleagues. This can have a huge impact on small businesses. It is estimated that time using IT and troubleshooting those problems is approximately two hours and 47 minutes per week. Office management activities may also take a chunk of time away from core business activities. As a business owner or manager it is important to consider these issues and their potential impact on productivity and meeting project deadlines. A few adjustments to how you manage time and use IT applications can have a positive impact on your business.
Small businesses can take advantage of the many training opportunities available online. Many are free or can be purchased for a small fee. Lynda.com has hundreds of business training and tutorials from using office software, content marketing, graphic design, presentations, management and communication. If you have staff with an interest in updating the company website they can access free coding courses through codeacademy. Shaw Academy has a wide range of courses which are reasonably priced and are run by tutors with online support throughout the course.
Developers have been busy making apps to help you run your business more effectively. You can find apps on managing time, office management, ordering office supplies, setting reminders and more. Go to your app store and download some to try. Google Docs, Remember the Milk, Dropbox, Evernote are just a few to get you started.
Email and text messages are common in the workplace, often managers find it quicker and easier to get in touch this way. However the instruction may be unclear or employees may misinterpret the meaning. More businesses are using What’s App as it has a handy feature where you can record voice clips to be read later and doesn’t stop the colleague from what they are doing as they can open it up when they are ready.
Keeping in Touch
Fuze – great for videoconferencing as it works across different operating systems including tablets
Pushover – receive instant push notifications on your phone or tablet from a variety of sources
Meetings are part and parcel of any organisation, whether it is a team catch up, appraisal, clients meeting, agreeing a deal or talk with the accountant. However there are a few key questions to ask yourself to gauge whether it is an effective use of time. Ask yourself does the meeting have a clear objective? Is there a clear agenda, are there clear timings? Can your business reduce the number of staff members attending? Use video or teleconferencing in some cases to save on travelling time and expenses.
Skype for Business – Videoconferencing, instant messaging or voice calls. provides industry level security for meetings.