18 Dec 2018 Grasping the Modern Office productivity challenge
Today’s digital transformation, sometimes dubbed; the Modern Office, is truly changing the way people work. Organisations are increasingly adopting modern office productivity tools and technology. They are introducing and encouraging collaborative work-spaces and remote working.
Many are now providing staff with Laptops as tools to help facilitate this productivity transformation. Along with this, a seemingly innocuous migration to Microsoft Office 365 by many organisations, has opened up new productivity opportunities that many people and organisations are only just becoming aware of.
I see this happening extensively within Local Government in Victoria at the moment.
For more than 17 years, my professional focus has been helping people improve their productivity. Given that, I wanted to use this article to highlight what I see as a significant productivity trend happening in organisations today and provide you with a few quick tips to survive, maybe even thrive in a Modern Office setting.
Going , Going, Gone…. are the days when you had to be at a certain management level to be given a Laptop or some other mobile Device. Today, it’s definitely needs-based.
Staff are becoming increasingly mobile. They can work from
virtually anywhere in today’s modern office! Hot Desking, Remote Working and Collaborative Workspaces are all much more effective when staff are mobile device enabled!
Staff need to be able to access all their important information in order to be more productive, regardless of where they are working.
Naturally, people have to be able to use the new technology and modern office productivity programs proficiently in order to realise the potential productivity gains.
Office 365 Productivity Tools
This is going to sound a little bit like a Microsoft advertisement, but….it is a fact that many organisations are now migrating towards Microsoft Office 365. Some are embracing Cloud Storage, some not.
Either way, this is opening up a host of productivity opportunities and tools that are fully mobile and highly collaborative. If used correctly, they can be used by staff to effectively manage their digital information and associated workflow.
Microsoft OneNote is just one of these modern office productivity tools that is gaining greater acceptance. Having a Laptop, now means electronic note-taking is possible at meetings. It is now extremely common for staff to bring their Laptops to meetings to take notes or just to be able to instantly access information they may need.
Email is still the major communication tool for most organisations. Work is increasingly being delegated via email. Whilst this does present some challenges, it is a reality for many people at the moment. Therefore, being able to manage emails properly and not lose important information has become a critical skill.
Similarly, the relationship between your Email Inbox and your To Do List has also become critical. Many people still use their Inbox as their To Do List and in my experience, this is not a good thing to do. It tends to make you reactive. It has become too easy to immediately respond to emails rather than focus on your most important task.
It is also very tempting to Multitask. Switching between Tasks and responding to emails that announce their arrival… often on multiple devices! This is one modern office productivity challenge we all face.
The Paperless Office
Finally, there is a trend to reduce our reliance on paperwork. There are considerable benefits in striving for a paperless office of course. It saves money and it’s better for the environment too.
But going paperless can also improve your productivity. Without Laptops, most people had to print information for their meetings. Using Digital copy enables you to easily access your (or your team’s) latest documents from anywhere.
Once again, this takes time to get used to and many people have found this change a considerable challenge as well.
This digital transformation is incredibly exciting but it is also creating considerable workload pressure on staff. Learning new technology can be stressful especially when workloads continue to increase at the same time. Then there is a need to manage the fast pace of today’s work environment and the increased expectations that go with it.
At the same time all this is happening, our workforce is getting older. Many people have not found it that easy to adapt to some of these rapid changes.
How to thrive in the Modern Office
If you are already working in an organisation that is embracing modern office productivity technology and concepts, here are a 3 tips to help you thrive in that environment.
Embrace the new Technology
Be prepared to embrace new modern office productivity tools and technology. Putting your head in the sand will not be helpful in the long run. Commit to giving this a red hot go.
It might look hard from a distance, but get in and give it a try, you might be surprised. We all know what it is like to procrastinate about something difficult, only to discover, in the end, it wasn’t as hard as we initially thought.
The benefits in the long run are well worth it.
Give yourself time to learn
Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say, so part of the commitment you should make to yourself is a commitment to learn and persist for a reasonable amount of time.
For example, when I decided to give Digital Note-taking a try. I decided that 12 months was a pretty decent trial period. If it wasn’t working for me after that, I’d review it then. I kept my paper notebook with me just in case of course. That was my safety net. It still is in some respects , but where possible, I decided to use Microsoft OneNote.
My learning style is to dive in a try something… I learn best by giving it a go. Now that might not suit you but work with your learning style and see how you go. Consult the experts, ask around, do some training.
After nearly 5 years of using OneNote, I’ve discovered so many time saving features, I cannot imagine going back now.
Use the “Cone of Silence”
My final tip is to make use of the open office spaces and your Laptop or modern office devices. We get so many interruptions now, that it is important you carve out some quiet time to do your heavy lifting.
Find a place where you are less likely to get interrupted, take your Laptop/Device, put on a set of headphones and try to get one important thing finished.
With no interruptions, you are more likely to “complete that Frog”.
How we can help
Lingford Consulting are well positioned to help you or your staff learn the necessary tools and methodologies that can help you thrive in a modern office environment.
We have been training and coaching to improve the productivity of people and teams for more than 17 years. Our hands-on training helps staff utilise their modern office devices and Office 365 productivity tools to help them be more productive.
For today’s Modern Office, we offer a proven, reliable and innovative range of highly practical productivity training programs to help coach and train people as they transition towards an increasingly digital future.
- Learn to manage your Emails and Tasks in our Office 365 Productivity with Outlook training.
- Embrace Digital Note-Taking and Paperless with our Productivity with MS OneNote Office 365 training .
- Our Office 365 Productivity with Outlook & OneNote training shows you how to manage your entire workflow with Outlook and OneNote.
- Automate and save valuable time with our Productivity with Outlook (Advanced) training program for Office 365.
Each of these productivity training programs can be customised to suit your unique organisational needs of course.
If you or your organisation is on this modern office productivity journey, contact us today to see how we might be able to help.
Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, December 2018
Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant