Over the past decades, the productivity of the average company has increased by a whopping 253% – and that alone should make us feel good about ourselves. Mostly thanks to technology, we’re able to automate processes and get things done in one single workday that would have required weeks during our parents’ generation. And yet, there still is room for improvement.
Most business leaders feel that their organizations could use a boost in productivity and efficiency. Studies show that a productive employee can raise profits by 21%, but the average employee is only productive for a maximum of three hours per day. So, how can you make your employees more productive and help them unlock their potential? That’s a very long discussion that can include strategies such as boosting their engagement, optimizing their workspace, offering them more flexibility, and increasing communication. But sometimes, boosting productivity is as simple as offering them the right tools. According to a recent study, 40% of employees waste time on simple, repetitive tasks that can easily be automated.
Here are a few tools that will help your employees maximize their time and boost productivity:
- Data entry software
If we made a top of productivity killer tasks, data entry would be the winner. And who could blame employees for hating data entry? It’s simple work, but it’s tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming. Apart from the fact that you could get more important things in the three or so hours that take you to input data from one field to another, most of the time, you’re too drained of energy to do something creative afterward.
Fortunately, there are ways to make data entry tasks less annoying without outsourcing. If you don’t already use data entry tools, you need them in your life. Some of the essential features these tools have include auto-filling data, extracting data, data validation, and scanning. You’ll still have to do some of the work, but it will at least take less time, and the risk of user error will be lower.
- PDF tools
Managing and editing PDF files is up there with data entry as one of the most tedious work tasks that eat away at your productivity. If your field involves working with lots of documents, you probably know that things such as rotating, converting, editing, and merging PDFs don’t require advanced IT skills, but they’re still time-consuming, and Adobe’s built-in features aren’t flexible enough. Before you know it, you can lose an entire afternoon because the pages of a long PDF handbook aren’t in order, or you have duplicates of them. To fix this, you might want to try a tool like PDFChef Online. It allows you to convert and edit PDF files straight from your browser without the need to install anything. This way, you can save a lot of time, and you can focus on more important tasks.
- Social media
If you still take the time to write the same post for all social media platforms separately, you’re wasting a lot of time. Granted, you might have to make some changes to the content of each post depending on the audience, but otherwise, you shouldn’t go through the trouble of writing each post three or four times. It’s time-consuming and unnecessary. Instead, you should use a social media tool that allows you to schedule your posts, and they all go up at the same time.
Apart from saving you from repetitive data entry, these tools have another key benefit: after you plan the posts, they go up at the same time, without you having to go on each separate network. During that time, you can be doing something else, or you can even be at home. Depending on your needs, you can also find more advanced tools that automate social media processes. For example, you can use a tool that creates Facebook bots for Messenger to boost user engagement and take some load off your support team.
- Design & creativity
In general, design and creativity tasks aren’t tedious and repetitive per se. On the contrary, they’re more creative and should be more fun to get around. However, some aspects of them can be automated, or at least done in a way that saves you money. For example, if you want to create an engaging infographic, you shouldn’t have to design every element from scratch or train your marketing staff on how to create their own graphics. There are many free infographic builders out there where you just have to insert your text and easily tweak the template.
Also, if you want to create graphic elements (after all, studies have shown that clients respond better to visuals), there’s no need to start from scratch. You can use all sorts of tools, such as color palette generators, simple landing page builders, icon databases, and more. To a certain extent, these tools can somewhat reduce the need for a designer. They cover pretty much all your basic needs and, unless you have a larger custom project that requires a professional touch, you can take care of most tasks alone, and the result will still look awesome.
- Planning & collaboration tools
Things can really get stuck at work if you still rely on emails for important announcements and if you scribble office memos on post-it notes. Communication is key during planning, so use tools that bring everyone together and help you send important messages with one simple push. For example, apps such as Trello allow you to create tasks, order them based on the deadline, and assign people to them. Evernote allows you to take notes and organize them based on importance, and even record audio memos for later.
Needless to say, if your workflow has been affected by the shift to work from home, simple chat tools like Skype are no longer enough if you want to maximize productivity because important messages can get lost in group conversations. Instead, you should look into tools such as Slack, which are more targeted towards business use.