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Building The Future of Freelance Software / slashdev.io
The Consumerization of Workplace Technology: How It Drives Efficiency/
According to a 2016 American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of people worked from home and 43% of workers with higher education degrees did some or all of their work from home. Additionally, the Agile Talent Collaborative found that HR leaders predict a rise in the 50/50 workforce, where half of the organization consists of temporary and external members. A global survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit discovered that 49% of respondents believed that mobile working had the most significant impact on their productivity, and 38% stated that it determined their satisfaction with their employer.
This data indicates a growing desire for mobile and flexible work, emphasizing the importance of communication and collaboration tools in completing work, particularly for remote workers. However, much of enterprise technology is outdated and fails to address the needs of the agile economy. As a result, negative efficiencies can occur. To ensure optimal performance, productivity tools must provide real-time communication, instant collaboration, and secure privacy controls. In this article, we argue that consumer technology can often be the best way to meet these objectives, and we provide three key strategies for adopting the right tools and evaluating their benefits in the context of the agile economy.
The Role of Consumer Technology in the Workplace
Consumer mobile technology has had an unprecedented impact on the way people work today. Smartphones, mobile apps, and cloud-based tools have proliferated rapidly, allowing people to integrate technology into almost every aspect of their lives. Even employees in large old-guarded companies, which employed strict guidelines on the IT systems and processes used by their staff for decades, now regularly use their personal devices to check email, update documents, and set meetings because it makes them more productive.
However, it’s unclear whether companies have fully capitalized on the opportunities that consumer-oriented technologies and processes have to offer. A 2011 Forrester report stated that 64% of surveyed executives admitted their organizations were only realizing a tiny portion of the benefits of collaboration technologies.
Make Use of Better Real-Time Communication
The lack of face-to-face meetings in distributed teams highlights the need for proper communication tools. The most expensive or technical tools are not always necessary. Skype, Zoom, and Slack are cost-effective, easy to use, compatible with multiple devices, and often free to download. These tools provide cost-effective real-time communication, calling into question why some organizations continue to use outdated, often expensive conference tools.
Zoom is the preferred platform for the author’s team. It allows for interaction on a level that mirrors in-person meetings, with video features that enable communication with empathy and emotion. Additionally, screen sharing and annotation tools improve the efficiency with which people can convey an idea or message. An added benefit is the ability to record meetings for future reference, reducing the risk of forgetting action points.
Harness Cloud-Based Tools to Collaborate
For employees to work effectively from anywhere, the operational tools they use must allow for efficient cooperation. Cloud-based technology provides an excellent solution for distributed teams. Tools such as GitHub and Google Drive offer high traceability on working documents and strong mobile functionality.
Google Drive, for instance, allows multiple remote workers to access the same folders from any device and use them even when on the go. Google Docs also allows multiple users to make edits and suggestions on one document. All these edits are tracked and recorded so that everyone works on the latest version. These tools offer security features to ensure company details remain confidential and locked down to only approved users.
Be Device Agnostic
Microsoft reports that 67% of people use personal devices for work. For a fully distributed team, having regular face-to-face meetings can be impractical or expensive. Video conferencing can be the next best thing, allowing remote workers to see and speak with colleagues in real-time. There are many options available, including Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet. These tools also enable screen sharing and the ability to collaborate on documents in real-time.
Another key factor in enabling remote work is a cloud-based storage and collaboration tools. Rather than relying on physical servers or email attachments, cloud-based platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive allow teams to store and access files from anywhere with an internet connection. These platforms also offer collaboration features such as commenting, editing, and version control, enabling teams to work on documents together seamlessly.
One potential concern with remote work is the potential for distractions and decreased productivity. To combat this, many companies have implemented tools for time tracking and productivity monitoring. For example, Toggl and RescueTime can track how much time is spent on each task and identify areas where employees may be wasting time. Other tools, such as Focus@Will and Freedom, can help employees stay focused by blocking distracting websites or apps.
Finally, communication is key when it comes to remote work. Without the ability to drop by a colleague’s desk or chat in the break room, remote workers may feel isolated or disconnected. To combat this, companies should encourage frequent communication through instant messaging, email, or video conferencing. They may also want to establish regular check-ins or virtual team-building activities to help foster a sense of community among remote workers.
In conclusion, remote work has become an increasingly popular option for both employees and employers. With the right tools and strategies in place, remote work can offer many benefits, including increased productivity, cost savings, and improved work-life balance. By embracing remote work and investing in the right technology, companies can create a flexible and adaptable workforce that can thrive in today’s fast-paced business environment.