Increasing Your Business Productivity
Three Steps to Increase Productivity in Your Business
Productivity is one of the key building blocks for a successful business. Simply put - the more you can achieve in a shorter time frame, the better the outcome for operational objectives and financial bottom lines.
But down here in New Zealand, we’re not doing so well when it comes to productivity. According to the latest OECD report*, released earlier this year, Kiwi employees are working longer hours to increase output, however it still doesn’t seem to be making a significant impact on growth.
So what are the crucial steps to achieve the right level of productivity in an organisation?
1. The rise of collaboration
Did you know that the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities have risen by 50 per cent over the last two decades?* And it’s for good reason. A study from the University of Auckland found that collaboration was often better than R&D for many SMEs.*
But in order to maximise effective collaboration, and in turn productivity, businesses must be offering their staff the right tools that provide ease of communication and an integration of various working platforms.
The message from New Zealand’s Productivity Commission* is that we need to shift from a model based on working more hours per person, to one that is focused on generating more value from time spent at work. And it must be evident that technology is one of the main solutions to that transformation.
For example, Microsoft Teamwork provides a hub for those working together on projects, providing a real-time platform for collaborative working environments. It brings together team chats, meetings and files so you can easily connect with people you work with on a regular basis. You can also create, share and work on the same document at the same time with your coworkers. This reduces time delays as emails with attachments go backward and forwards, and mitigates the risk of working on the wrong document - two things which can seriously impact on productivity.
2. The need to work anytime, anywhere
Mobile employees are no longer the exception to the rule - they are the norm, with more than a third of the workforce* conducting their daily tasks outside of a permanent space. But many businesses are still adjusting to this ‘revolution’ of sorts, juggling internal procedures with the requirements of those that aren’t always ‘physically present’ for their jobs.
According to the Westpac 2015 Grow New Zealand survey*, nearly one third of New Zealand small and medium-sized enterprises said digital technology had had no impact on their business over the previous five years and 27 percent didn’t expect it to in the next five years. It is a sobering thought - given the way technology has impacted on our daily lives, but perhaps this is due to a misunderstanding of how to use the right systems in their organisation.
Most struggles occur when it comes to those outside the office not having the correct tools and capabilities available to those at a permanent workstation. This can have a direct effect on productivity due to some tasks having to ‘wait until they get back to the office’ or needing to be sent through an updated document from an individual who is away on their lunch break. But with Microsoft 365, employees can access anything in the system, using any device connected to the business. Enabling a flexible working environment is critical for meeting the needs of those who need to work anytime and anywhere.
3. Empower through communication
Collaboration between an ever-increasing mobile workforce will only be achieved through effective methods of communication. Ones that are not only easy-to-use for a variety of individuals, but are also reliable and responsive.
Anything that is complicated and instruction-heavy could result in delays, and of course, a reduction in productivity when employees aren’t able to connect to meetings remotely, or there isn’t the capability to link with a large external audience. Microsoft 365 allows people to call, meet and engage in real time through online meetings that include audio, instant messaging and screen sharing. It also provides unique solutions depending on the needs of each individual business - from small huddles to large conference rooms.
Productivity doesn’t have to be a complicated process. It is about using the right tools that enable, not disrupt, the workflow of employees, by empowering them to use technology in the best way they can, and putting those capabilities right at their fingertips.
Microsoft 365 provides a comprehensive suite of productivity-enabling packages suitable for any organisation – no matter its size or industry. Continually evolving to meet the demands of an ever-changing business world, Microsoft 365 allows you to concentrate on doing what you do best, without having to worry about platforms that don’t grow with you.
*RadioNZ, June 2017, NZ’s weak productivity in OECD’s sights
*Harvard Business Review, January-February 2016, Collaborative Overload
*Newsroom, March 2017, Collaboration better than R&D for SMEs
*Productivity Commision, November 2016, New Zealand’s weak labour productivity
*Strategic Analytics, November 2015, Global Mobile Workforce Forecast 2015-2020