Eight Productivity-Boosting Tech Upgrades

Time is MoneyDo you have people on your team who are so amazing, you wish you had an extra hour of their time every day? With technology, you can have exactly that. The following upgrades can save anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even the smallest improvements, just a few seconds here and there, really add up when they are repeated over and over throughout the work week.

Some of these upgrades require you to spend money, but think about the benefits you’ll see when your top people –including yourself – find all that extra time.

Buy a New Computer

If your computer takes more than a few seconds to boot up every morning, it’s time for a new one, or at least a tune-up. For best performance, replace desktop PCs every 3-4 years and laptops every 2-3 years. If a newer computer is slow, ask your IT team to check it for spyware. They may recommend wiping the entire hard drive and reloading everything, which will give you a fresh clean start. Just be sure they backup data and settings so nothing is lost during this process. With faster speeds, you’ll gain time when you login every morning and also throughout the day.

Manage Email Better

It’s common to receive dozens if not hundreds of emails daily. Saving a few seconds every time you check email is a big deal. To accomplish this, first make sure your spam filter is working well and customized to your needs. You should have very little spam, and your legitimate emails should nearly always make it through. If not, have your tech team fix it. Use Outlook rules to automatically filter email and move it to folders, so that you can easily find what you need. Make sure mobile devices like smartphones and tablets sync email so that anything you read on your phone is already updated on your computer. Lastly, take an hour and go “unsubscribe.” Most people receive email newsletters they never read. Click the unsubscribe links or block them with your spam filter, and then you never have to see these again!

Add Another Monitor

Adding a monitor is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get more done in less time. Studies show varying results depending on the type of work you do, but one thing is crystal clear: dual monitors are a huge productivity booster. This can gain you a full day a week, if not more, and there’s almost no training time required. Keep email open in one screen, and whatever you are working on in another; compare spreadsheets or documents side by side; copy information from one software package to another; keep your main system front and center while browsing the Internet for research on the other monitor. It sounds simple, but that’s the beauty of it. It IS simple, and it really makes a difference.

Encourage Remote Access

Make it easy for people to work anytime, anywhere, and give them the flexibility they need to do just that. Switch from a desktop to a laptop, buy them an iPad or Droid tablet, or give your staff a data plan that lets them connect to the Internet anywhere they might be. It’s not just the workaholics who will love you. Your hardworking staff who struggle to balance work and life will be especially appreciative. When they have the right technology to work remotely, along with flexible work schedules and your trust, you are likely to see them put in not only more hours, but also more productive hours because they have their home life better under control.

Upgrade Your Internet

Do you use cloud-based services? Spend a lot of time online? Check out faster Internet connections for increased speed throughout your day. High speed business-class cable Internet is one of the best values today. Fiber Internet connections cost more but provide fast speeds with extremely high reliability and very few outages.

Make Information Easier to Access

Information overload is a huge issue and time-waster. Employees spend hours every day searching for what they need, reformatting what they have, transferring information from one system to another, and recreating information they can’t find. At minimum, clean up and reorganize your company’s shared data drives. Communicate the new structure to your team, and challenge your managers to enforce the new structure. If you want to take it further, investigate document management systems. These provide greater structure and security to company information and include advanced search capabilities to make finding data as easy as possible.

Chat with Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a quick and easy way to communicate with others inside the company. It’s more immediate and interactive than email, but less disruptive than a phone call. It’s a very efficient way to communicate and yet another way to save a few minutes here and there throughout the day.

Reorganize Your Desktop

Take a page from Lean manufacturing, and have everyone on your team reorganize their workspace to make it more efficient: make everything you do on a regular basis accessible within one to two mouse clicks.

Start with the applications you use daily. Add shortcuts to your desktop or taskbar for each of these, and clean up any that you don’t currently use. Also add shortcuts to the folders you access most. Create bookmarks for the websites you visit most often, and rearrange your browser toolbars so that you can get to those websites with a single click. Is there a feature in Office that you use constantly but it’s hidden in the ribbon so you have to hunt for it every time? You can add that command to the very top of the window in the “Quick Access Toolbar.” Google for instructions on how to do this in your version of Office.

Ready For More?

There are always more ways technology can make your team more productive, and it’s never “one size fits all.” The key is to be clear about what you expect and what the value will be. Then you can choose the very best technology tools for your business.

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