Technology Opens the Door to Dramatic Productivity Gains
by Dave Moorman
The productivity gains companies achieve through technology are undeniable. Historians and economists confirm them constantly on a broad scale; many experts even attribute the sluggish hiring recovery to technology. The increased efficiency and productivity workers achieve with technology continues to reduce the number of employees companies need to perform core functions.
For SMBs, the challenge isn’t recognizing that technology increases productivity. Rather, it’s figuring out how best to start that process in their operation, especially when budgets are tight. For example, big enterprises are touting the productivity gains of giving their field workers iPads, but how many SMBs can shell out thousands of dollars to purchase 10 of the devices at one time?
The trick, then, is to find inexpensive ways to accelerate productivity, and then use the economic benefits of those improvements to pay for more technology tools. One way to do this is to ask your staff to submit ideas. Hold a contest and give away gift certificates to a local restaurant to the staff with the best submissions.
A few ideas that are inexpensive to implement include:
- Install a wireless network printer so field staff can print documents from their mobile devices without having to send them to desktop PCs, then open the documents and print them from the desktop.
- Add a video conferencing systems to your conference room. This enables your staff to meet with clients, vendors and field personnel remotely, which frees up travel time for more productive pursuits. As a bonus, once the system is installed and everyone knows how to use it, you’ll find that brainstorming sessions and other business-innovation drivers will happen more frequently.
- Empower your personnel to work remotely with smart, Internet-connected devices. Surveys show that many employees are happy to check email and perform other business tasks outside the office if you make it easy for them to do so. If you cannot afford to equip your personnel with smartphones, iPads, and the like, you can adopt a BYOD (bring your own device) policy that gives them access to company resources, such as email, on their own devices. Just be sure you have a knowledgeable person (in-house or outsourced) to configure adequate security policies.
Never before has technology been such a powerful enabler of productivity gains for companies of all sizes. In future articles, I’ll detail some of the more significant (but still manageable) technology changes you can implement to drive your company forward through the power of productivity.