Productivity has just as much to do with the tools you use as it does with your drive to get things done. For some employees, productivity tools may in fact have a bigger impact—at least in the short term—compared to drive, which tends to ebb and flow with a multitude of factors like time, work environment, and interpersonal relationships.
When it comes to finding the right productivity tools for your business, it’s always a good idea to take stock of your goals. These tools are, after all, a means to an end and different companies will require different solutions.
The Hardware Side of the Equation
Productivity has a physical aspect in that workers use different devices to carry out their tasks. Knoll, an office furniture design and manufacturing company, highlighted two of the most notable among hardware-related productivity trends, namely, the shift to a mobile-first workflow and the prevalence of the second screen:
- The Mobile-First Workflow
Last year saw more and more businesses following the mainstream consumer preference for tablets and laptops over desktop computers. For the first time ever, tablet sales surpassed that of desktop PCs as individual and business buyers became more mobile-centric. This makes sense particularly in the virtual office context, where virtually anywhere with a laptop and internet access can be considered a workspace.
- The Second Screen
Most people have a main device for work, say, a laptop or desktop PC. A productivity trick that’s becoming increasingly common is to supplement that main work device with a second screen, like a tablet or smartphone. It is multi-tasking-friendly and, thanks to apps that sync across devices real-time, a second screen makes it possible for workers to attend to different tasks at the same time.
The Software Side of the Equation
The proliferation of mobile work devices has made it easier for businesses to go virtual, but smartphones and tablets won’t do much to help productivity if they don’t have the right software.
Examples of software that promote virtual office productivity include timeshifting and asynchronous workflow apps and event-driven automation apps. They make it possible for workflows to be distributed across different time zones and for tasks to be completed without the need for round-the-clock monitoring.
As both virtual and traditional offices become more tech-dependent, the need for secure data storage and access increases. In Part Three, we’ll cover cloud computing and data centers and their different applications.