Managing productivity in the connected workplace

  • Pairing collaboration software with other technologies often allows employees to get more benefits from both tools.

  • Consider the learning curve for new collaboration technologies and be sure training materials and courses emphasize ways employees can use the tools to work together.

After falling in the first quarter of 2015, worker productivity in the U.S. seems to be on the upswing again, rising 3.3 percent in the second quarter of the year. Companies that want to keep productivity up can leverage the latest advances in connected workplace technology. Here are four ways technology can help increase productivity.

1. Promote real-time collaboration

In the past, collaboration often involved a lot of asynchronous activity. Instead of collaborating as things happened, the work was done in pieces. Documents were shared after they were completed via email, discussed during phone calls, or reviewed in meetings. This was because the software itself was designed primarily for production, with no thought to the workflow.

Newer software, however, often includes features that support real-time collaboration. Rather than relying on other programs to share files, notes, revisions, and changes in strategy or direction, software that enables real-time collaboration can be a hub not just for the work itself, but also for all the activities that happens that work, such as communications and revisions.

2. Help employees collaborate no matter where they are

Interoffice collaboration is only one piece of the larger productivity pie. Increasingly, employees aren’t tied to desks, and they work from a variety of devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These employees could be in the office, traveling, or telecommuting from anywhere in the world. You’ll want to provide the same software and level of collaboration to them that you offer to those working in the physical office.

Many of the new tools available for real-time collaboration not only have mobile versions, these mobile editions often offer the same features as desktop versions. This has a variety of benefits. For one, workers will only have to be trained once to work anywhere, on any device, which should help to keep training costs low. For another, it’ll enable better productivity outside of a standard office environment, as employees with just a phone will be able to pick up and get to work as quickly and easily as those seated at a desktop.

3. Offer workers multiple collaboration tools to enable productivity

Adding a single new real-time collaboration tool is a good start because employees start seeing the benefits immediately. But to go to the next level, combine tools to offer workers more options.

Pairing, say, an office collaboration tool and a real-time conferencing solution is a good start. This way, needs that aren’t met by the new software that has real-time collaboration built-in can be met by other software. This will enable deeper real-time communication that can help workers get the answers to questions, pick another employee’s brain, or just get another set of eyes on a project.

4. Have training and policies in place

Replacing older tools with newer ones that enable collaboration is an important step toward making sure that employees can work together to boost productivity. But just because the tools are there doesn’t mean that everyone will know how to use them to their fullest.

When designing new training material and courses, or choosing speakers to help employees get up to speed with these new tools, the number one thing to consider is how these materials will enable collaboration. Unlike the last generation of tools, which were focused primarily on features, the latest collaboration tools are more about helping employees who may not be in the same place at the same time effectively work together to produce more in less time.

There are many technologies that can help workers accomplish more. By embracing real-time collaboration via computer, mobile devices leveraging collaborative office software, voice over IP (VoIP), and live video, your staff can work together more effectively and keep productivity high.

Mario Armstrong Digital Lifestyle Expert Sponsored post About Mario

Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning tech commentator for the TODAY show, CNN, HLN, and Fuse. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. All thoughts are his own. Follow Mario @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.