Technological innovations in communication and collaboration are transforming the workplace, and one of the results is increased productivity. Over 7 in 10 feel that new technology tools have improved their personal productivity, and about half feel technological innovations are driving overall productivity, the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report shows. Tools such as work-based social media, instant messaging, AI-based team management, and virtual meeting software are changing the nature of collaboration and making it easier to get more done in less time.
Companies that develop workflow strategies to take advantage of these innovations stand to gain in productivity and profitability, Deloitte’s research indicates. Here are three key ways technology is transforming workplace productivity.
Digitizing Office Production
One way technology is promoting productivity is by digitizing the office and its production workflow. With fast wireless connections, smartphones, and laptops, it’s now possible for workers to be productive from anywhere. The latest hardware innovations are geared toward facilitating this emerging digital production model. For instance, Qualcomm’s latest 4GE laptop platforms are designed to stay connected at all times for reliable connectivity anywhere, whether in an office in a crowded urban area or a remote worksite.
One way the digital office is promoting productivity is enabling more workers to do work from home on flexible schedules, with one-third of employees now working remotely and nearly 8 in 10 working regularly with someone not based in the same office, according to a recent Polycom study. Technology is transforming production for workers in the office as well, Deloitte’s research shows. For instance, companies such as ING Bank are deploying large open workspaces with whiteboards that show team project information. Other organizations such as Skype combine private cubicles with large spaces such as cafeterias, providing a flexible workspace that promotes both individual and group productivity.
Promoting Team-based Communication
Another way technology is boosting productivity is by propelling a shift away from traditional communication tools toward team-based communication tools. Older tools such as email and texting are designed primarily for one-on-one communication. But this can become cumbersome when multiple participants join a conversation, especially if they join at different times and have to catch up on earlier threads. File sharing in an email environment can also become unwieldy if different users unknowingly modify and share different versions of the same file.
Deloitte’s research shows that workplaces are shifting away from email and texting to more collaborative platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Team, and G Suite. These tools style their interfaces after social media, where all members of a group can simultaneously see the full history of a text thread as well as the current version of a file. These features make collaborative platforms more suitable for team communication than email and texting, leading to more efficient workflow and higher productivity.
The shift to a digital office and team-based communication is also helping boost productivity by automating the collaboration process. Team communication tools help streamline the project management process, providing an interface that allows project leaders to automatically assign tasks, send notifications to groups and monitor project progress. This frees team leaders up to spend less time managing communication and more time preparing new projects, increasing production volume.
The digital office model also speeds up collaboration by using the cloud to sync data as it flows between apps. For instance, a cloud-based accounting software app such as QuickBooks Online can be used to integrate the flow of financial data between applications such as point-of-sale transactions, inventory management, and expense reporting, vastly decreasing the amount of data entry for multiple departments of your business. Similarly, the cloud can be used to integrate any type of data flow between apps in your business, saving your team time and increasing productivity.
Today’s technology moves the tradition office to a digital workspace, enabling a more flexible workflow arrangement that accelerates production. Team-based collaboration tools further accelerate the workflow by streamlining communication and supporting smoother project management. Working in a digital workspace also speeds up the workflow by supporting cloud-based syncing of data between apps. Together these features of today’s technology are allowing businesses that utilize them to enjoy greater efficiency and higher productivity.