Tech-based workplace productivity solutions should allow us to do what we need to do without focusing on the device or platform we’re using. The work itself should be the focus. Pigeonholing ourselves to specific devices or platforms can get in the way.
In most workplaces, the IT team can help by recommending and implementing device-agnostic solutions for a number of office productivity problems, including the following:
Time management, time clocks and tracking
Problem: Whether your company has three employees or 3,000, timecard management can be a hassle and even a point of contention.
Common solutions include manual, handwritten time entry or more traditional clock-in systems. But for workers who regularly travel to different worksites or forget to clock in or log all of the details needed, traditional time management techniques don’t work so well. Plus paper trails can be easily misplaced, and manual data entry runs the risk of being inaccurate.
IT solution: Automated time clocks that work with workers’ mobile devices. A number of apps allow for fast time entry regardless of where the workforce is located, making clocking in as simple as using an app on a phone.
Some apps go further by incorporating GPS technology, too: when a worker arrives at a specific location, the app reminds him or her to log in. That same technology may also be used to prevent logins when a worker is not on a specific wifi network. Payroll teams don’t need to send timesheet reminders or perform manual data entry – most apps tie into a hub or central database for payroll where the team’s information is available, allocated and aggregated. As an added bonus, some apps can even be set up to automatically start tracking time the minute the worker arrives at a specific location.
Remote access to everything
Problem: Mobile access has changed the workforce. But whether workers want to access files on their terms – from anywhere, anytime – or because their job requires offsite or fieldwork, if files and resources are tied to in-office infrastructure, productivity can plummet.
Common fixes include everything from emailing documents to oneself to jotting down new data on a separate document or sheet of paper for later input. But these slow-going approaches can leave data vulnerable, lead to versioning problems and compatibility issues across devices – even more important in today’s world of BYOD (bring your own device).
IT solution: The cloud. Cloud storage isn’t new to the workplace – big companies have been using it for years now – but options are constantly getting better. Services including Google Drive, Box and Dropbox allow for anytime, anywhere access to documents. And device-agnostic apps, including Office 365 and Google Docs, make work even more accessible.
So no matter what type of device a worker wishes to use – phone, tablet, laptop – he or she can access work resources anywhere, anytime. (This is a boon particularly for hot-desking environments).
Want every device to provide the same experience? Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) both host the worker’s entire desktop – apps and everything – in the cloud. Users experience a consistent look and feel every time.
Conference room booking
Problem: It may seem small, but it’s surprising how much time can be spent securing a conference room. Which room is available? Is that room really booked? Why is someone meeting in the room that’s reserved for me?
Organizations use public, online schedules and/or paper schedules to tame the conference scheduling room beast, which is compounded in hot-desking and open floor plan environments, where the need for privacy makes meeting space even more precious. But shared, online schedules don’t account for ghost meetings and other last-minute changes. And paper schedules are dated the second they are printed.
IT solution: To keep everyone on the same virtual page with meeting rooms, a dedicated conference room scheduling and booking system that integrates with your company's shared calender is the best solution. Need a meeting space? It's a snap to find one. Need more time in the room? Add another 30 minutes or more on the conference room display. Want a place you can meet right now? Every schedule is maintained in real time. And if no one shows up for the meeting, the room un-books itself.
These solutions allow for meeting room scheduling to occur in real time – no paper required. Meeting status and schedule are also available from an iPad just outside the door. And space-use analytics – so you can find out which rooms are most frequently booked, who’s booking what, which resources are being requested and more – are available, too.