Productivity

Productivity in the digital era

Companies are always looking to gain in efficiency, increase productivity and improve employee performance. In the past, presenteeism and long hours on nights and weekends allowed workers do more work. But that’s all changed. In the digital era, thanks to the rise of all kinds of useful tools and solutions, it is now possible to better manage one’s time at work while remaining efficient. These new tools optimize your workday and represent a real game changer in company productivity.

Cloud and SaaS systems are one solution

In recent years, the cloud has made its appearance at a number of companies and has spread like wildfire. That being said, there are still concerns and reservations from certain Information Systems Security Managers (ISSM) regarding the confidentiality of documents and data, even if most of the the time there are solutions that secure information in “the cloud.” For the companies that have made the leap, there a number of benefits:

  • In some cases up to 15% of computing budgets are dedicated to the Cloud (Ipsos study 2011), to help workers gain in productivity. This helps change from a logic of ownership to one of use, changing the way we view the purchase of computing items ( licences, machines etc.) from buying and owning to that of rental or lease. The Cloud and SaaS allow users to vary their spending to facilitate new product tests without significantly investing, and to stop and change products easily.
  • There aren’t any exact numbers to demonstrate the gain in productivity generated by organisations using the Cloud, but the feedback is undeniable: users are seeing a palpable change in well being at work, as they can switch easily and quickly from their smartphone, tablet or computer and efficiently share information with clients and colleagues. These solutions represent an important gain in daily efficiency. What’s more, their strength is that they’re available all the time, anywhere and on whatever device.

There are apps for just about every problem an employee can face: such as CRM or ERP in SaaS mode. No matter how small, these tools will help users save a significant amount of time.

Manage your emails with the right tools

If there’s one part of everyday work where one can significantly save time, it’s in managing your inbox. An employee can receive dozens, even hundreds of emails per day, so it it is crucial to use the right tools to optimise inbox management. One can start by setting up a messaging solution that is optimised for collaborative work. There are two main solutions on the market: Microsoft, with its Office 365 solution and Google, with Google Suite. In addition to a messaging system, you can use a chat solution, or a video conferencing tool such as Hangout or Skype, or even a company social network like Yammer or Google+.

The two platforms have a Market Place that allows users to enrich their user experience with plugins and apps that will help you gain precious time. For example, evercontact.com, allows you to detect the signatures of all your contacts and adds them automatically to your address book or to your preferred CRM. Outside of Market Places, a solution like unroll.me allows you to detect all newsletters in your email and allows you to unsubscribe in one click.

Don’t waste time organizing meetings

Don’t have assistant, or the time to organize meetings? There are a number of solutions to this problem, so you don’t have to hire someone to take care of it. Vyte.in (only works on Google for now), is one such program. It allows you to handle your agenda and open to share it with the person with whom you would like to organize a meeting. All you have to do is connect to your agenda, fix a rendez-vous time and send the meeting link to whomever you choose, to block out a meeting time depending on your availability.

Another solution I use personally is juliedesk.com, a virtual assistant that is compatible with several different types of inboxes such as Google or Microsoft (you might know her if you read this blog regularly ? ). Julie Desk uses artificial intelligence to manage your agenda like a real person. Since I started using Julie Desk services, I can’t imagine using anything else.

webinar julie desk

Become more efficient with a fully equipped GTD

Are people constantly soliciting you, so much so that your tasks are divided into unread emails, an agenda, notes on post its or notebooks and software? And you still can’t manage all your tasks? The answer is simple: make lists. This practice comes from the GTD (Getting Things Done) method developed by David Allen in his 2001 book “Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity”.

This method, used by thousands of professionals, allows one to work “ serenely” without multiplying your efforts.”The idea gives you common sense and allows you to free yourself to become even more efficient. To apply this method, you should determine all the tasks that you have to accomplish, whether they are for immediate completion or for later, and classify their importance. Next, make a quick decision regarding your tasks: for each one, you need to ask yourself if it requires a concrete action on your part. If not, archive, delegate or delete them. For this action to work, consider that if the tasks takes less than 10 minutes to complete, do it immediately, if not, then complete the tasks in order of importance, then delegate it or do it later. Just don’t forget to set a date to finish your task it you do postpone it.

There are a number of tools that do this job quite well. For example, you can use the task tool on outlook, reminder emails in gmail or the tool todoist.com. Though it uses a different approach, trello.com accomplishes this task as well. All it needs is an action on your part: add your list to one tool and realise your tasks instantaneously, in the same place where you program your reminders.

Organize your content anywhere, and share it, simply

Creating and sharing content with clients, partners and collaborators has become indispensable for professionals. Major publishers have created concrete solutions dedicated to this need. As such, it is now possible for multiple people to work on a presentation, a document, or Excel document and share via internet, making it accessible to anyone with the help of a link, and editing/reading rights. In addition, if you’re adept at taking notes, there are a number of tools that allow you to work collaboratively and find all your notes at the same time on any device. For example, evernote.com, gives an editor a rich text, with the possibility of organising and classing notes in different notebooks accessible online, on a smartphone application or on a desktop application.

There are a number of ways to be more productive thanks to new data possibilities offered by software like SaaS or the Cloud in general. Companies that have yet to make the digital transition should take the leap and integrate these solutions even if the benefit is mostly seen by IT and digital teams. HR has a significant role to play in helping employees adapt to new digital tools and technology. But more than accompanying a change, HR must develop a rapport of “sponsorship” with employees to give them the push they need to become more productive and increase well-being at work.

sébastien bourguignonSébastien Bourguignon

As manager at a consulting firm, Sébastien works in the banking and insurance sector. He is an expert in computer science, innovation and startups, with 15 years of experience in the digital, new tech and agility domains. He adds value by rapidly transforming companies and allowing them to increase their performance with new digital technology.

You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn.