Ways That Technology Might Be Inhibiting Our Efficiency and Solutions to Maximizing its Benefits
Benoît Gruber, VP Corporate Communication, Sage Enterprise Market Europe & Sage ERP X3
Welcome to the Digital Age. Gone are the days of typewriters, Polaroid cameras and rotary phones. Computers, digital cameras and smart phones have not only replaced their prehistoric counterparts in our ever-advancing technological world, but they are seemingly as much a necessity to one’s survival as food and clothing. Why? Simply put, they are the normal means of communication, productivity and solutions in both the corporate world and our personal lives. As technology continues to advance, however so must entrepreneurs understanding of how it all works and how to use it correctly. Here are three signs that the technology you are using may actually be slowing you down, and solutions for improvement and maximizing its benefits.
1. Despite the use of technology, your tasks are taking you the same amount of time or sometimes longer to complete.
Business solutions programs and management software can be of great benefit to entrepreneurs. If these systems are not implemented or maintained correctly, there can be costly consequences. There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the common problem of technological systems slowing down productivity. The most obvious being a lack of training and knowledge of how to use the systems you are operating under. A system can only be as efficient as the user navigating it. It is of the upmost importance that when a computerised business program is implemented, that any and all individuals expected to use it be properly trained. There are often many hidden “shortcuts” among the obvious buttons and tabs of a program. The amount of time it takes for a person to learn as they go can be a great cost to a business. Initial and ongoing training with system update demonstrations are essential to efficient use of business solutions programs.
2. Electronic communication is poor at times and taking longer than necessary.
Because of the disjointed nature of electronic communication, we may not be as clear and concise when communicating. Vague email messages requiring extensive clarification can greatly affect a company’s workflow. Instead of wasting time going back and forth, make an effort to communicate succinctly and as clearly as possible in all of your communications. To ensure written communication is effective, the following are a few practices entrepreneurs should adopt:
- Prior to hitting send, take a moment to re-read your communication to ensure you are fully addressing the subject matter.
- Ensure the structure of the email is easy to follow by using bullet points rather than long paragraphs.
- Make sure you are answering every question in your reply to others who are seeking answers in their initial email.
- At the close of the email, ask the recipient to confirm receipt of the email, ask them if they agree or disagree with your thoughts, and ask them to share their feedback.
- If you sense a lack of effective communication occurring via email, picking up a phone or speaking in person might be the best option to avoid wasting time and misunderstandings.
3. Too many different technology devices are overwhelming and difficult to manage.
You have your laptop in front of you, a large monitor behind it, your smartphone to the side of your laptop and your office phone in the corner. As you try to focus on the current task at hand, text messages are buzzing in, emails are popping up on your monitor and the phone is ringing off the hook. How do you get anything done? The answer is that you probably do, but not efficiently! To increase productivity and use your time efficiently, here are some ways entrepreneurs can manage their time and reduce distractions:
- Schedule specific times throughout your workday to read and respond to emails. Good times might be first thing in the morning, right after lunch and at the end of the day, before leaving the office. Do not make a habit of stopping to read an email every time it pops up.
- Implement one form of communication for urgent matters only, such as inner-office instant messaging.
- Turn your smart phone ringer/vibrate off and use the “Do Not Disturb” function to limit notifications. Dedicate a couple times throughout the day to check for messages or missed calls.
- If your office phone rings while in the middle of a project or work task, let it go to voicemail. You can check your message and return the call when you are not knee deep in thought and focus.
About the Author
Benoît Gruber joined Sage in 2008 and is, since October 2013, VP of Corporate Communications and Brand for Sage Enterprise-Market Europe and Sage ERP X3. He leads, defines and implements the strategy of corporate and digital communication in cohesion with the overall business strategy. He acts as a spokesperson and an expert in solution with opinion leaders, analysts, press and customers. He was previously VP Product & Alliances for Sage Mid-Market Europe solutions. In this capacity, he was responsible for global product strategy of Sage ERP X3 solution. He is in charge of Product Management & Marketing for Sage ERP X3 globally and ensuring the Operating Company teams are aligned behind the product strategy. He also serves as the solution expert when dealing with thought leaders, analysts, and press.