Employees want to be productive. All things equal, they’d prefer interesting and challenging work to tackle rather than turn to mind-numbing data entry or social media to fill their hours. In some cases, it’s the workplace culture that interferes with productivity. For example, maybe employers don’t care how productive workers are as long as they clock in at 9 a.m. and clock out at 5 p.m. Other times, the issue of productivity may come down not to workplace culture exactly but to the tools, apps or services available to employees. This guide touches on three areas that should help your IT services.
Professional IT services
Many small businesses such as assisted living communities, veterinarians’ offices, property management companies, design agencies and smaller public schools lack an internal IT staffer or an IT department but do have the finances for professional IT services.
It is money well-spent and a virtual lock to enhance productivity. For example, do you have a few employees who are naturally computer savvy and who go around helping other employees with tech tasks? That cuts into the productivity of the savvy employees. Plus, no matter how skilled they are, it is unlikely that they are thoroughly trained in IT. It’s also not their job to come up with proactive solutions such as cloud computing that can save money and boost productivity.
By bringing a third-party IT services provider on board, your business can streamline operations such as hiring, training, entering data, sending appointment reminders and boosting cybersecurity–just the tip of the iceberg, really. Take telework, which becomes much more feasible with IT services. Now employees can collaborate on the same project at the same time via Google Docs, and the ability to work from home often drives productivity.
Working from home could increase the productivity of
at least 65 % of your full-time workers.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of outside IT services: The services provider takes the time to understand the unique needs of your business and designs solutions to address any strengths or weaknesses. This is especially helpful when you’re not sure what the biggest productivity drains on your business are.
Many times, you also get 24/7 support, enabling your business to more easily provide products and services around the clock. You could also automate many of your processes to work smarter. For instance, if you’re a vet office and a customer changes her address, you could input that new address only once. It would automatically carry over everywhere the address is stored in the system instead of you having to change the address four times in Word and Excel under categories such as “Current Clients,” “Billing,” “Appointment Reminders” and “Dog Owners.”
Cloud-based computing services do much more than allow employees to telecommute. They can also do the following:
- Make it easier to open new business locations
- Hire remote workers
- Scale up operations
- Enable employees to work from home on some sick days or snow days
- Let employees work on their tablets, phones and other devices
- Collaborate more easily with one another on projects
- Allow the business to make changes more quickly and nimbly
- Help the business become more disaster-resistant (data in a fire, flood or earthquake shouldn’t be lost with cloud computing)
- Streamline IT costs
You can use cloud computing for operations such as network storage, application hosting and virtual IT. Your business can try to set up cloud-based solutions on its own or collaborate with your IT services provider to do it.
There are multiple smartphone apps can do wonders for productivity at your business. For example, messaging apps are far more efficient than email and texting, and you can even create checklists. Visual process management systems can help with project tracking, workflow, to-do lists and other tasks. Some are even cloud-based, meaning that real-time, long-distance collaboration among many people and devices is possible.
The unexpected benefits of these types of apps tend to help with productivity as well. For example, this is what Curt Nickisch had to say about joining the Harvard Business Review:
For months in retrospect I was able to go back and see how all of that was done and it was a really interesting way of just kind of getting a sense of the culture, how people work together. Yeah, just bringing me up to speed that much faster.”
Other apps you may want to explore lets managers and employees communicate with each other. Leaders can perform regular check-ins with employees, and employees can easily ask questions and seek clarification. It can also help if your employees regularly rack up expenses that need to be to tracked and submitted for approval.
Today’s workforce has become more nimble and flexible than ever before. For your business to increase productivity and to thrive, managed IT services may be the answer. For example, a services provider can help your business determine its cloud computing needs and which mobile apps can be most incisive. Or you could try to go it alone. Either way, it can make for exciting, intriguing times.