With the new decade upon us, there’s no time like the present to get your business up to speed with some of these easy ways you can embrace technology in your work place to make it a better, easier and more efficient place to work.
While there seems to be a never ending list of ways that technology has been created and developed to help us, you have to start somewhere.
To help you get started, we’ve created this guide on how you can make some quick wins for using technology in 2020 to help make time for what matters most to you.
Exploring new features in your existing software
How often do you go to the Office365 website and find out some of the new features and functions of your Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel. Nearly all of your software providers are working hard to release new features on a frequent basis, but if you don’t take the time to try them out, you won’t know how much time they could save you.
Did you know?
There’s a recording feature in one note – and if you take notes during the recording, they’ll be linked to the audio and video created with OneNote. This way you can Search notes in OneNote and find specific parts of the audio or video recording.
Here at FuseWorks we make yearly check-in appointments with our clients to make sure that they’re getting the best benefit of the software and can take advantage of any new features or functions that we have developed that they might not know about yet.
Integrating Your Systems
Integrations connect your software to third-party applications so they can share information with each other. They share data from one system to the next which provides you with more features and options while using your software.
By leveraging integration connections across your systems, you can power your business to achieve a much wider range of tasks on your software as you enhance its functionality. This is especially helpful as your business expands since your needs are bound to change.
Some examples of integrations that can make your day easier:
- Your emails and your task management system
- Your practice management platform with 3rd party solutions like Cas360 for Company Secretarial processes, FuseDocs for automated report collation, Fee Synergy for debtor management
- Contact forms integrated with your calendar allowing people to easily find free times in your schedule that suits them and automatically placing it in your calendar. (We use Calendly)
Find Processes You can Automate
Automating your existing systems and processes is one of the easiest ways to boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace, and it’s much simpler to implement an automation solution that optimises your current systems than add a raft of new apps or management programs into your technology stack.
The truth is, automations don’t have to be technical, extensive, or even require new programs to help improve efficiency.
Some other ‘easy-win’ automations
- Set anything in your emails with the word Unsubscribe in the body to filter off to a separate subscriptions inbox that you can simply flick through once a week, unsubscribing as needed – it will reduce distractions and save hours (we’ve calculated that it should save the average person 300+ hours a year).
- For those emails that only need a quick response or acknowledgement, create email templates and canned responses so you’re not typing, “Sounds good!” or “That works for me” every time.
- This isn’t so much automation but it can be extremely useful. Grammarly is an app that reads your text, checks for spelling mistakes but most importantly looks for context and tone to be able to give you insights on how you’re coming across. Use it for emails, newsletters, proposals or anything that requires wordsmithing!
- Now it wouldn’t be appropriate to list out some automation tips and not mention the beauty of the FuseWorks suite of products. Let’s give you a basic rundown:
FuseDocs – Compile, format and send client ready documents in a single click. When you integrate FuseDocs with your practice management and document management platforms you can prepare an entire annual report package collation in a matter or seconds.
FuseCharts – FuseCharts helps you to communicate complex information with powerful diagrams to help your clients understand what matters, without having to spend the time fiddling around with arrows, shapes and colours to design it correctly. Simply plug in the information using drop downs fields, and the chart will be automatically created for you. Super easy to edit & customise to do what you need!
For more ideas you can read our other blog ‘3 key business processes you didn’t know you could automate (and how to do so)’
Start Moving Out of Your Email
As research increasingly demonstrates how email overload takes too much energy, erodes concentration and elevates stress levels at work, the writing on the wall is clear: companies that want to reclaim lost productivity need to reduce the email load, stat. That means removing everything from the inbox that doesn’t need to be there — starting with the to-do list and general communication.
For General communication
Moving important information — that typically gets buried in your email inbox — to your internal chat software improves productivity. You’ll boost transparency, stay better connected, and your team can find what they need at their fingertips.
Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — a single place for messaging, tools and files — helping everyone save time and collaborate together. It’s faster, easier and a more natural way to communicate than via email and will keep everyone who needs to be in the know without clogging up their inbox. You can create as many channels as you want, whether you want one ‘customers’ channel or you want a channel delegated to each customer or project, you can easily modify the workspace to suit your needs. Plus it’s got a pretty great free plan.
- Members have access to discussions happening across the workspace.
- Everything made public in the workspace is archived and searchable.
- Your team can collaborate in real-time and instantly notify the right people.
For Task Managment
If you want to get a project accomplished, email is just not a good way of doing things. Separating email from task management can materially affect staff performance. While email overload depletes the energy of employees, actually completing tasks energises them — case in point, we all know those people who actually add things to a to-do list just to be able to mark them off! Getting things done makes people happier and more engaged at work, and employees perform better when they’re able to focus on the work they believe matters most.
When used correctly, Trello acts as a replacement for those long, dreaded email threads. You can even tag specific people for increased clarity, break tasks down into sub-tasks and check lists and label them for easy categorising and prioritisation (e.g ‘client facing’ or ‘internal’)
One of the great things about Trello is that conversations are all included within a card, so everything stays in the same place. Right where it should be. If anyone has clarifying questions about a task or thoughts to share, you don’t have to spend time looking for it or remembering. It’s all just there.
Embracing remote working flexibility
While this isn’t strictly a technological change, having good technology setup will make it easier for your staff to do what they need to without strictly needing to be in the office. It has been reported that flexibility with remote working has lead to fewer sick days, less stress and better productivity amongst employees. Here is a checklist of the minimum you need to allow your team to work from home if they need to:
- Laptops instead of desktop computers to help allow staff be more mobile
- If security is an issue – set up VPN access to the network so that you can work remotely without compromising any network requirements.
- Communication channels like Slack, Yammer, HipChat, Skype for business, or Facebook Workplace to keep the conversation open and flowing without clogging up the inbox
- Video conferencing tools like zoom, skype or google hangouts to be able to dial in remote working employees to meetings.