From enabling employees to work on the go using devices they’re familiar with, to automating tedious, time-consuming repetitive tasks – empowering staff to take charge of their own productivity by giving them access to the right technology for the job at hand makes good business sense.
Ultimately, more empowered, more productive employees translate into happier customers and a more profitable business. Here are some key areas to focus on.
Tech that automates repetitive tasks
With increasingly effective artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies available to the business world, letting humans get on with what they do best (like coming up with creative ideas and thinking laterally to solve problems), and leaving the more mundane tasks up to the machines is an excellent way to empower your employees.
From handy Chrome extensions to help them browse, research and gather information like a pro; to chatbots, HR applications and email marketing, workplace automation can take an enormous variety of forms.
Essentially, any non-creative task which adds value and gets performed on a regular basis in your business should be flagged as an area for potential automation.
Prepare for the 100% mobile worker
Although smartphones have only been around for ten years or so, they’ve completely revolutionized the way we connect with friends, consume content, shop and compare products – and how we work. Smartphones and other mobile devices can be an invaluable tool in empowering your employees to work in the environments and in the ways which are most conducive to their own productivity – working smarter rather than harder.
Mike Brinker, digital leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, explains:
“…mobile devices are unleashing new levels of productivity, efficiency, and collaboration. Using mobile devices in the enterprise isn’t a new trend—we’ve been talking about it for at least five years. What is different is that companies are starting to move 100 percent of their IT applications onto mobile platforms for workers who are not behind a desk. That’s enabling employees to do everything on one platform.
They’re not splitting time between a mobile device and some remote PC. It’s 100 percent mobile. That’s the big trend we’re seeing now. We think in the next five to 10 years the 100 percent mobile employee will be the majority. That doesn’t mean desktop computers will disappear. But the new normal is likely going to be 100 percent mobile for those 70 percent who aren’t sitting behind a desk.”
For small and medium businesses, embracing and preparing for this mobile-only kind of work early on can have tremendous benefits. You can accomplish this by adopting a ‘mobile mindset’ whenever you look at investing in or deploying new tech, and avoiding defaulting to desktop versions purely out of habit.
You can keep costs in check while still giving your employees access to the latest devices through innovative mobile phone rental services. These are also a great option for short-term tech requirements, such as when a team of workers are attending a special event, expo or conference. Don’t underestimate the impact of some impressive-looking tech on a potential customer either!
Adopt a self-service model
As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to being able to access the apps and services we want, when and where we want them, and without having to seek out some form of approval before we receive what we’re after. With this the norm in our daily lives, it isn’t hard to understand why employees get frustrated when they have to jump through hoops to do the same at work.
And while there are, of course, many very valid reasons why you don’t want to give your employees free rein entirely (the importance of keeping your customer data and IT systems secure, for one) you can make their jobs a whole lot easier by streamlining processes wherever possible.
Some simple examples might be:
- Providing a portal where employees can view their paychecks and download their tax forms, see how much leave they have available and make requests for time off.
- Making a comprehensive set of pre-approved applications or online services available to relevant staff
- Enabling managers and supervisors to be alerted through push notifications on their mobile device when urgent approval is required
- Making on-boarding or training materials available 24/7 and from any location
Make it easy to be productive
What it all really boils down to is examining your employees’ pain points, and working together to figure out where and how technology can help to alleviate these challenges. If you’re open to feedback, and willing to embrace change and experiment a little, the rewards can be substantial.