How Xero Improved Productivity with a Digital Communication Tool (And Five More Technologies You Can Use to Boost Office Productivity)
Higher office productivity leads to faster project completion and happier customers. With these technological solutions, you empower your people to work more efficiently, from home, their offices in London or Kingston in beautiful Surrey, or anywhere else in the world.
When a company scales to the point where it has millions of customers spread over 180 countries, effective internal communication is a priority. It’s an even bigger concern when that company helps small businesses to stay on top of their finances.
We here at IQ in IT found that Xero faced this exact challenge.
The company, which has over 3,000 employees around the world, discovered that its internal communication systems weren’t scaling well as the company grew. For years, they’d used an internal email system to enable employees to communicate. However, they discovered that that system was breaking down, resulting in customer requests and queries getting lost.
How could Xero solve the problem?
They used an online tool that allowed the company to centralise crucial information, all while enabling more efficient communication between employees.
Xero implemented the use of Slack, which offers instant messaging and the creation of specific workflow channels to improve internal communication. The company soon created dedicated channels for all of its departments, creating an increase in office productivity that benefitted both staff and customers.
As Xero has shown us, office productivity is a key concern for any employer.
The more productive your people are, the faster they’re able to complete projects. Ultimately, having more productive people leads to higher profits and happier customers.
Xero found a way to enhance their productivity through a technological communication system.
You can do the same, and more.
Here are five more ways you can use technology to boost productivity.
TECHNIQUE #1 – USE VIDEO CONFERENCING
Attending meetings can be an enormous time sink, especially when attendance requires commuting to a different office. The time spent on the road is time that you cannot spend working, which creates inefficiency.
Video conferencing technology overcomes this problem.
With it, you can attend meetings from the comfort of your own office. Furthermore, many video conferencing tools, such as Zoom or Teams, allow attendees to share their computer screens when speaking. This allows for on-the-fly demonstrations of ideas that may not be possible in traditional meetings.
The ability to record these video meetings also means that attendees can review crucial details later, eliminating the need to revisit issues.
TECHNIQUE #2 – IMPLEMENT TIME TRACKING SOFTWARE
As workplaces move towards increasingly digital and remote operations, time tracking becomes a key concern.
For example, you may have virtual assistants who do not work in your physical office. This creates a lack of oversight that some unscrupulous employees may take advantage of.
Thankfully, there are several time tracking software packages available. These tools allow you to track the activities of your remote employees using several techniques.
Some log key presses, allowing you to determine how active the employee is. Others may take screenshots of a virtual employee’s screen at random intervals during the day, allowing you to check if they’re dedicating all of the time you’re paying them for their work.
These tools allow you to confront the issue of time theft. Furthermore, they allow your HR department to save time it may otherwise have to spend on manually examining and editing time logs.
TECHNIQUE #3 – UPGRADE YOUR WORKSTATIONS AND LAPTOPS
Many businesses avoid upgrading workstations and other hardware due to the immediate cost. Replacing hundreds of computers requires an upfront investment of thousands of dollars, leading to many businesses struggling with using outdated hardware.
Unfortunately, this creates long-term issues.
While sticking with old hardware allows a business to save money in the short term, it also slows down the workforce. The hardware won’t be capable of operating at the speed required.
Ageing systems may also not be compatible with modern software solutions, meaning employees get stuck dealing with antiquated systems that aren’t fit for purpose. This leads to hours of wasted time spent waiting for old systems to do their jobs.
Upgrades may be costly in the short term. But over the long term, they lead to time savings and more efficient employees.
If you want to move away from large capital investment, there is always the leasing option. This way, you divide your expenses over a set period of time and can guarantee performance-optimised hardware when needed.
TECHNIQUE #4 – IMPLEMENT ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SOFTWARE
ERP software allows for simpler management of a wide range of business processes, including project management, accounting, and supply chain management.
Think of it as a centralised database that provides employees with rapid access to the information needed to do their jobs. Instead of having to examine dozens of different spreadsheets to find what they’re looking for, they can use ERP to get what they need fast.
Having all relevant information stored in a single location eliminates soloing, allowing for more effective communication between departments. It also provides enhanced visibility to the management, allowing them to detect issues early and implement solutions quickly.
TECHNIQUE #5 – ELIMINATE MANUAL FILE SHARING
Imagine that you need access to a file before you can complete the task you’re working on. So, you send an email to the person who has that file.
However, they’re just gone out for lunch and won’t be back in the office for about an hour. That means you have to wait to gain access to the file, resulting in the completion of your task getting delayed.
These are the sorts of productivity problems that manual file-sharing creates. By eliminating the manual aspect of file sharing, you can improve office productivity immensely.
Some of the techniques shared in this article can help you to do this. For example, you could use Slack, or other similar software, to pin key files to a channel so that employees also have access to them.
However, it also helps to have a dedicated cloud-based file sharing platform, such as Dropbox or Box. Both allow you to create file systems with shared access, ensuring everybody who needs access to certain files can get them with no delays.
TECHNOLOGY BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY
There is no getting around the fact that implementing new technological solutions often requires investments in terms of both time and money. You may need to buy new hardware or spend time training your employees.
However, the long-term productivity benefits far outweigh the short-term costs.
Each of the technologies discussed in this article empowers your people to work more efficiently. In doing so, they enable increases in office productivity that your company benefits from.
If you need any help with installing these technologies or would like to determine which will be a good fit for your business, please schedule a 15-minute no-obligation conversation with a member of our team today.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.