6 Powerful Software Tools to Skyrocket Employee Productivity
One common issue faced by company bosses is finding ways to boost employee productivity. With a record number of people working from home, bosses are altering the way they work. Although this is a challenging task, 38% of participants in a recent study stated they were more productive when working from home. Instead of breathing down employees’ necks while physically monitoring their output, bosses are turning to software to observe and enhance the productivity of remote workers.
This mindset shift may be difficult to grasp at first. Whether teams are remote, physical, or somewhere in between, the latest management trend is less about monitoring and control and more about boosting productivity and output.
What is productivity-boosting software?
Productivity software is a set of applications or platforms that produce databases, graphs, and presentations. Instead of sending multiple emails, these work tools also include collaboration software to facilitate teamwork when working remotely or in different office locations. Team collaboration tools increase productivity, allowing employees to work more efficiently and keep everyone in the loop.
Which productivity-boosting software should I choose?
Choosing the right productivity software for your team can be challenging. Every company has its own style and culture and should introduce productivity tools to suit them. Regardless of which tools you choose, they should be user-friendly and enhance the working lives of employees rather than cause headaches. The explosion of remote working opportunities resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has seen 60% of companies implementing software to monitor productivity. Here are some examples of productivity-boosting software and how they can positively benefit your company.
1) Time management and scheduling
Employers expect their staff to meet or exceed deadlines to ensure projects run smoothly. After all, each team member has their part to play in ensuring work is delivered to higher-level staff or customers on time. Time management tools are imperative for outstanding timekeeping and boosting productivity.
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based platform that combines the newest productivity apps, including Excel, Word, and Outlook. With Microsoft Outlook, users can easily oversee and manage emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts in one place. Outlook extracts appointment information and automatically integrates it into the built-in calendar, ensuring employees never miss another appointment or event again.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is an advanced productivity tool that integrates into apps like Excel and Word. The handy tool turns brief, manually-inputted prompts into document drafts and can rewrite or condense lengthy paragraphs. It also makes suggestions on aspects such as tone of voice and fluency. Copilot integrates into email inboxes so users can spend less time sorting through old mail history and more time communicating. The tool responds to simple prompts such as “shorten this draft and make it sound more professional” or “invite the sales team to a lunch meeting next week,” letting workers save time on formulating document drafts and email replies and focus instead on communicating important information to colleagues.
Microsoft Teams connects users with the people and documents required to make a project run more smoothly. With Microsoft Teams, groups of people can meet, chat, and call to discuss projects quickly and efficiently. It also allows users to locate and share files for editing in real-time, enhancing productivity and project management by ensuring everyone is up to date on the latest changes.
2) Targeted communication
Communication platforms like Slack organize workplace communication into channels across different departments or projects. A recent Salesforce study showed businesses experienced a 26% increase in remote worker productivity after implementing Slack. Employees can send targeted messages to specific project-related team members instead of sending a blanket message to everyone in the company or risk missing somebody from an email chain. Employees can exchange ideas through a chat function or send audio and video clips on the go. Moreover, the huddle video-call function lets users talk through project details face-to-face.
3) Project management
Effective project management relies on efficient and streamlined processes. Managing projects for employees across multiple locations is challenging, but project management tools alleviate the stress of remote collaboration. Notion is a popular project management tool designed to bring clarity and effectiveness to all project types. The tool is used by teams of all sizes and includes an integrated calendar, to-do list function, and project checklist to keep abreast of milestones. Users can choose to only view information relevant to them using the filter function, allowing clear oversight and enhanced productivity.
Similarly, Trello allows companies to manage their teams from anywhere by keeping all project-related information in one place. Trello includes a simple but effective collection of boards and lists that clearly inform workers of their roles and tasks. Users can create a new channel or choose an existing template for maximum project efficiency.
4) Collaboration and communication
Microsoft Teams collaboration tools allow users to work on shared projects or goals. With Microsoft Teams collaboration tools, there is no need for rounds of document edits in endless email chains. Employees can create and edit content with team members for enhanced productivity in real-time. Moreover, users can share files and simultaneously co-author content that saves automatically, and brainstorm ideas on the handy whiteboard function.
5) Note-taking and organization
Note-taking is a crucial part of working life, but handwriting notes take time and are easy to lose or misplace. Note-takers must adopt an effective filing system to avoid trying to find lists and meeting notes from a specific date and time. Note-taking tools like Evernote are designed to overcome these issues, and make writing notes more efficient by storing everything in one place. Moreover, tools are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional note-taking and help to reduce paper waste.
Microsoft OneNote is a multi-functional notebook that supports users’ note-taking needs. Notebooks are divided into separate sections for easy identification. OneNote offers highlighting and ink annotations for that real pen-to-paper feel. Users will never misplace their notes again with the nifty filter function, ensuring employees are always well-prepared for project meetings. Notes can also be shared with colleagues and teammates, enhancing productivity and efficiency by allowing instant feedback.
6) Business analytics and insights
Business insights tools collect and process large amounts of data for internal analysis. Companies may use spreadsheets with statistical functions or software packages to collect business-related information for review. This provides key insights and a deeper understanding of the company and helps bosses make more productive business operations decisions.
Business intelligence tools collect and display aggregate data, while business analytics tools report data results and explain the reasons behind them while clearly displaying areas of weakness and improvement. Power BI from Microsoft gathers past and present data to show how it impacts an organization's future. It seamlessly integrates into everyday apps and fills the gaps between data and decision-making, which helps bosses make better business choices.
What other qualities are important for employee productivity?
Although collaboration tools are a key element in boosting employee productivity, there are other ways to ensure teams are working at their full potential. Cultivating a strong company culture based on trust is essential for maintaining a productive team that values its employer. Studies show that employees are more likely to continue working for companies they trust, so it is essential that bosses fulfill promises and erase any skepticism surrounding remote work.
Communication is the basis of any human connection and is particularly important in the workplace. Despite this, 91% of company employees in a recent survey stated their leaders lack adequate communication skills. Unclear communication and instructions cause confusion and increase the chance of making mistakes. By building a culture of open communication, employees can understand and work towards company expectations and goals. Setting this example also encourages employees to be open and honest and helps them feel safe voicing any concerns or areas for improvement. Most importantly, employees that are valued and updated with the latest company news are likely to be more productive in their work.
The post-pandemic normal of hybrid and remote working is here to stay. Companies must find ways to engage workers and boost productivity to ensure projects are delivered on time. Luckily, there are software tools that facilitate collaborative teamwork between workers in different locations. Using convenient productivity tools streamlines project processes and enhances worker engagement, as they can access everything easily and remotely. Moreover, collaboration tools that allow multiple users to edit and save documents in real time improve productivity by removing annoying email chains or sitting in unproductive meetings. Aside from productivity tools, employers should ensure good communication and build trust with workers to ensure happier, more productive employees.
Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.