Procrastination is a significant challenge every small business faces today, and it negatively impacts the bottom line. Forbes has reported that 89% of people admit to wasting time at work – and 69 percent waste one hour or more per day. Over the course of the year, this time quickly adds up. Whether your team is distracted with personal issues or struggling to get started on a big project, helping them beat procrastination is an essential step to building a productive and profitable business. While the classic advice of minimizing distractions and improving self-discipline is smart, it’s not enough to combat procrastination at scale.
Today, strategically investing in the right technology can help companies get their employees laser focused and eliminate some of the most common causes of procrastination in the workplace. While these solutions may require some up-front investment, over the long term they yield a critical ROI in terms of employee hours saved and help prevent money spent on non-productive hours.
Here’s a closer look at five types of technology that can help improve your team’s productivity.
Project Management Platforms
Management platforms are making it easier to hold team members accountable for their workloads. In particular, project management platforms are one of the key areas of innovation. With a project management system, each step or deliverable in a project is captured as an individual action item. Each action item is assigned to a person, and the steps between those action items are outlined so everyone can follow along. For example, to execute a technology project, first a server may need to be set up then software has to be installed before individual users can be added and trained. With a project management system, it’s possible to see each step of the process, map dependencies and know when the next action item needs to occur.
The investment of a project management system can vary from a monthly subscription to an up-front purchase of software and servers; however, implementing it throughout your company helps curb procrastination in several ways. Each employee has access to their most important tasks and deadlines, so it’s easier to prioritize what and when something should be completed. Additionally, by assessing the status of a project, managers can easily determine if a specific employee is falling behind, or if the work stream is in danger.
Collaboration software is a set of tools that makes it easier for your team to communicate and work together on projects, whether they’re based in different cities or different time zones. With collaboration software, it’s possible to eliminate the delays in response that often contribute to lags in projects. Teams can use collaboration software to tackle activities such as:
- Viewing and working on editing documents together in real time.
- Creating internal-facing websites for your business, where you can share updates, upcoming events and motivational quotes.
- Generating discussion threads or boards to centralize conversations of key topics.
- Hosting private, internal social networks that support collaboration and relationship building while keeping internal information private.
- Utilizing workflow tools, such as collaborative customer relationship management tools, that share all information associated with one process, customer or project in a single place.
Collaboration systems help minimize procrastination by making it easier and faster to work directly with co-workers – while eliminating unnecessary administrative work and minimizing the time employees spend in their inboxes. The investment in collaboration systems helps make both communication and interactions more efficient, which eliminates expensive delays and ensures core business processes are always moving forward.
Human Capital Management Software: KPI Management
New approaches to team management are emerging in the workplace. Instead of relying on annual evaluations, companies are increasingly looking for ways to provide insights into real-time performance management. A new class of software tools is helping human resource managers provide real-time feedback and visibility into how individual team members are performing. Human capital management software makes it possible to connect ongoing evaluation efforts to key performance indicators and goals employees need to work toward each day.
Daily procrastination has real and immediate consequences. When evaluations are based on day-to-day performance, there’s an added incentive to stay focused. For example, if sales representatives in your organization are evaluated on the number of cold calls they make per day and the number of presentations they send per week, KPI management software can allow them to log those numbers on a regular basis. If a representative is consistently falling below the expected numbers, management or HR can quickly notice and help the employee get on target. The cost for this software varies; it’s possible to keep costs down by purchasing one best-in-class software to address a single key issue (for example, employee reviews), or invest in a more expensive product that covers the full scope of HR activities (employee reviews, time and attendance, and more).
With the volume of content and documents companies share between employees today, it’s challenging to know if your team members are using the latest versions. If you update your logo, there can be hundreds – or even thousands – of documents that need to be updated in tandem. With a file-sharing platform, your team can always access the latest version of any document with just one click.
This helps prevent the use of the wrong documents and, more importantly, it bypasses the delays that can occur when people are waiting for colleagues to respond with an updated product sheet or other piece of information. With a file-sharing platform, it’s easy to keep your team moving from task to task as they can instantly access or share the documents they need. McKinsey famously found that employees spent an average of 19 percent of their work week looking for files – and putting the right systems in place can increase productivity by 30 to 35 percent. File-sharing platforms can be purchased individually, or as part of a package such as Microsoft® Sharepoint as part of Office 365.
Network and Communications Tools
How easily can your team members connect with each other? Investing in the right networks and communications tools streamlines communication at your organization. Whether it is establishing group calls, using video conferencing, or answering quick questions via instant messaging, communications tools provide the flexibility for your workers to communicate with each other in a way that’s right for every need and situation. The right network enables your team to complete their work on a variety of devices – from computers to mobile devices – without delays or downtime. Ensuring you have the right underlying technological foundation and tools in place keeps everything moving forward at the right pace. Providing access to a reliable, highly available network and the communication tools that depend on it are two key components of keeping your business running productively. Often looking for a bundle that integrates network, telephone and other tools can be one of the most effective strategies for investing in this toolset.
Solving procrastination can save companies a significant amount of money, while minimizing stress on the employees. Although it’s important to work with your team on focus and accountability, investing in the right tools delivered over the right network can help streamline operations, enhance collaboration and eliminate the temptation to waste time or get distracted while waiting to hear back from a team member.