The events of 2020 have made this abundantly clear. The business world has sustained major damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s in far better shape than it would have been had today’s technological framework not been in place. Even with lockdown limitations causing them great frustration, plenty of companies have actually been able to work more effectively
In this post, we’re going to look at some of the key ways in which technology continues to support and improve productivity at work (be it physical or virtual).
Due to the extent to which we’ve come to rely on it, there are many contrarians out there who’ll complain at length about the perils of modern technology. Many individuals believe technology is harmful and does not promote productivity at work. Can we lean too hard on our various digital gadgets? It’s possible, sure — but they mostly serve to improve our lives, and it makes little sense to blame them for our occasional online excesses. Here are 4 ways technology promotes productivity at work.
1. It Offers Rich Training Resources
Think back to before internet access became so common and consistent. When professionals wanted to improve their skills, they needed to find appropriate training resources using books and maybe digital encyclopedias. These costly resources were tough to invest in. Everything needed to be carefully planned, with absolute confidence that ROI would be achieved.
Now, though, anyone who wants to hone their skills (or pick up some new ones) can inevitably find some online resources that are significantly more affordable. Many training courses and guides are actually free and we mustn’t overlook the value of free ad-driven sites like YouTube — you can find everything from basic introductions to in-depth guides there, and on an immense range of topics.
2. It Enhances Performance Tracking
While there are certainly productivity improvements that can be confidently implemented across the board. There are many more that are only contextually useful. You need to collect a great deal of information about how well a business is performing before you can come up with any suggestions. If you don’t know the results, how can you neatly improve them?
Essentially, it’s a technology that makes modern business analytics so comprehensive, because it’s hard to think of an aspect of the regular operation that can’t be tracked through technology. Everything done through the cloud is automatically tagged in various ways without requiring any direct effort. Services such as Google Analytics are pervasive at this point, with the existence of social logins (and mobile app ecosystems) ensuring that the data never stops flowing.
But what of things that don’t take place in the cloud? Well, offline activities can still tie into the digital realm in various ways. Activities can be manually tagged with values to gauge ROI. Fleet fuel spend can be tracked online through fuel cards. Employee happiness can be gauged through HR tools. Any significant business actions can be tracked if there’s value in doing so.
3. It Speeds Up Everyday Tasks
You can see a classic dual-monitor setup in the featured image. Even a simple change like that can prove transformative for a professional who benefits from having more screen space. A software developer can work a lot faster if they can have multiple windows open at the same time.
Similarly, a well-designed keyboard can make life so much easier for someone who needs to type at great length. If they develop a repetitive strain injury, it can leave them unable to work at any reasonable pace. Imagine a drummer fracturing their wrist. These hardware improvements are utterly crucial.
And then there’s the ever-useful field of automation which allows us to subtract the most repetitive tasks from our workloads. The less time you need to spend entering data, the more time you’ll have to put towards the most challenging parts of your work, allowing you to be significantly more productive. The configuration of automation can seem very intimidating, but various tools can make it surprisingly accessible.
4. It Improves Operational Flexibility
When the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak became apparent, governments across the world started enforcing lockdowns, and things changed overnight. I mentioned this in relation to technology in the intro because the SaaS world — SaaS being software as a service — played a massive role in preventing total economic collapse (as opposed to a global recession).
It’s because of SaaS that people can keep working from home with no major issues. They can use mediocre laptops but still get their tasks done because all the complex processing is handled in the cloud. And for anyone who found the regular office environment distracting, the rise of remote working has been a huge boon. It means they can work as they prefer to, at their own pace, using their favoured methods.
Most notably, they can work smarter, not harder. Old workplace methods concentrated far more on putting in the hours regardless of what it actually accomplished. It was common for employees to work 60-hour weeks without producing anything worthwhile. With technology allowing them to focus entirely on the results, companies can stop working their employees to exhaustion and yield greater productivity at work in the process.
When companies had to close their offices and ask all their employees to work remotely, there was no shortage of fear and panic. Many business owners had bought into the idea that allowing people to work remotely would cause productivity at work to plummet.
In the weeks that followed, attitudes changed entirely. With managers coming to understand that giving people more freedom doesn’t generally make them lazy. If anything, they end up working harder (as well as more efficiently).
And it’s the technology that we need to thank. If your operation isn’t working as smoothly as you believe it should, there’s a great chance that you need to review your use of today’s rich technological option