The future of work: An ever-changing landscape of tools and processes
How we work, especially over the last year, has changed significantly. The changing world shapes the future of work. Companies have had to adapt to the changing needs of employees and customers.
In our new series - The Future of Work - we will be looking at how organizations can overcome the pressure of their transformation journey. Whether a company is just at the starting line or has already begun its journey, we will explore the tools that can make that as painless as possible.
As the world continues to change and access to information becomes easier, organizations face more pressure from their customers to deliver faster. The speed and reliability of a company’s tools are becoming increasingly important to offer better solutions and give employees more time to do what they do best.
But what exactly is taking up their time, and how can they get that time back? How do legacy systems that we thought helpful hurt productivity? Exploring how companies today manage these challenges is vital in solving our own challenges.
Where has my time gone?
Knowledge workers of all skills need time to do their job effectively. Working with slow systems bogs them down in tiny, day-to-day, remedial tasks and robs them of valuable time. If employees spend less time doing the work they were hired for and more time managing that work, they will be less productive. According to Google, the following areas are where employees lose most of their time:
They also outline that time loss can fall into three categories:
- Unproductive meetings
- Technology trouble
Let’s address each of these time-wasters one by one.
Take meetings from unproductive to productive.
The biggest time-waster when it comes to meetings is unnecessary attendance. How do we determine who should be involved in a meeting and who shouldn’t? Unfortunately, right now, there is no way to automate the decision as to which of your team will contribute meaningfully in the next meeting. You know the team better than a computer does, so the initial decision of who attends is yours.
There is a caveat, however. If your meeting is recurring, Google Calendar will allow you to create routine meetings with the same attendees, but it would be up to you as the organizer to manage the list of attendees if that fluctuates. The calendar can also find convenient times for everyone, an empty meeting room if you are in the same location, and remind your attendees before the meeting starts. While this might be commonplace for most organizations, there are legacy systems where this work is all manual.
Less clicking, more creating
According to the infographic, more than two-thirds of workers lose an hour every day switching between applications. Based on an eight-hour workday, this is more than 10% of their time. Add this up over a week, and you are looking at half a day. Add it up over the course of a year, and we are considering nearly 25 days of work lost from toggling. 25 days!
So what can we do? In short, we can integrate and interoperate.
Organizations should integrate their Cloud-based business solutions under one suite. As much as possible, companies should choose to stay within one integrated group of tools, such as Google Workspace. If there is a need to use tools outside of this suite, companies should integrate them seamlessly, so it doesn’t impede people’s workflows.
Modern cloud tools allow deeper integrations, more easily than legacy, on-premise applications. For example, CRM systems such as SAP, Salesforce, or HubSpot can be integrated directly with Gmail. This means that all employees have access to all the important customer data directly when processing mails and automatically document communication with the customer.
If you can cut the toggling time down to half, employees will see significant jumps in productivity.
Reduce technology problems
IT problems definitely get in the way of productivity. We’ve all been there before. You try using the software, and when that doesn’t go as you planned, you contact the internal helpdesk. The help desk doesn’t have a solution, so they need to contact the vendor. Then the vendor doesn’t know, so they contact the manufacturer. Ultimately, someone might have to patch the system, and this leads to downtime. Downtime is time out of everyone’s day. So what can we do?
Since most of the people entering the workforce now are digital natives, they understand what it takes to create more time. Usually, this is the same way they make more time in their personal lives: integrated and cloud-based tools.
By switching to a cloud-based suite of tools such as Google Workspace, outages and downtime are bygones. The tools stay up to date automatically, so your team has the latest and greatest features. Updates also happen automatically, so your internal team doesn’t need to create downtime to get those new features.
Communication, in general, is great. The more an organization communicates, both internally and externally, the more collaborative it is. There are, however, bad ways of communication that decrease productivity in the workplace. The primary actor of poor communication is email. From the infographic above, “55% of US workers say that excessive emails get in their way of work.”
What’s the solution here? Turn off email? Not quite.
AI-supported email tools like Gmail help get email done faster. If you frequently end your emails with the same closing line, Gmail learns that phrase and starts suggesting it as you type. It might sound small, but if you find yourself writing the same salutation in fifty emails per week, the time saving adds up.
Especially for internal communication, you're better off using a chat tool like Google Chat. Communication in chats is much faster than by email, and in chat rooms, you can reach more colleagues at the same time than by mail. This is already something you are familiar with in your private lives from services like Whatsapp and the like. The only difference is that Google Chat messaging happens securely and internally in the company.
You can clarify complex content more easily via video conference with colleagues and customers. You can also share your screen for explanatory support and thus use infographics or presentations, for example.
How much time do you spend managing your work compared to actually doing it? The mundane activities such as status updates, cleaning up our desktop of old files, and checking emails take up serious amounts of our precious time. Since we are being paid for this time at work, there is also a cost to our organization. What’s the solution?
The solution is, in a word, automation. Intelligent software solutions such as Google Workspace will learn about your habits over time. If you are producing a new status report for your team, Google Workspace will automatically show the relevant documents, presentations, and spreadsheets instead of you having to look for them.
According to Cisco in The Future of Work, 63% of knowledge workers are already using automation in some way to free up more time for creative tasks. It doesn’t stop with knowledge workers either. Mobile devices have enabled front-line workers to save time using automation as well. On top of this, according to Forrester, automation will alter 85% of US jobs and create an additional 14.9 million by 2027.
Overall, changing or harnessing your tools will help your teams be more productive. Spending less time on repetitive tasks frees up more time to create and innovate, which leads to increased value delivered to customers. Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 of The Future of Work: Knowledge!
Your partner for the Google Workspace and Google Cloud solutions
Are you interested in modern collaboration in your company using Google software as an alternative to MS Office? Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more: We are an official Google Cloud Partner and would be happy to give you no-strings advice on the implementation, licensing, and productive use of Google Workspace!
Curious about how Google can help you? Test Google Workspace free for 30 days!
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