Depending on who you ask, we’re either living in a golden age of remote work powered by the best productivity tools the world has ever seen — or we’re drowning in “productivity” tools and remote work isolation.
As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. We really do have access to better, more powerful productivity tools than any previous working generation, and they really do enable remote and hybrid work in powerful ways.
At the same time, there really are too many of them.
If you suspect your productivity tools aren’t delivering on the promise of higher productivity and better collaboration, you’re probably right. Good news: you can take steps to fix this and truly benefit from the right set of productivity tools.
Here’s what you need to know.
Too Many Choices, Too Many Tools
The first problem many businesses encounter is this: they’re just using too many tools. And who can blame them? There are hundreds of software tools out there competing for attention, and they all do good things.
The average employee at the average company shuffles between 11 tools and platforms throughout the workday. Every time an employee switches from one to another, they lose focus, at least for a moment.
There’s also a drag on productivity we call tool indecision: a member of sales needs to exchange some information with another staff member. Should she email? Slack? Zoom? Teams? Walk over to a desk? Call? Video call?
Sometimes the answer is obvious. Other times a handful of tools might get the job done, and the salesperson is sitting there wasting time and brainpower figuring out which tool to use. Choosing the wrong one might mean a delay in getting that crucial information. Worst case, it could even cause a lost sale or client.
Lack of Integration
Another issue is a lack of integration. Many modern productivity tools can integrate with others. Slack can connect to Google Drive, for example. But sometimes businesses don’t set up these integrations, or don’t get them right. It can lead to a lot of unnecessary extra work.
(Think dragging an email attachment to the desktop, then over to Google Drive, then copying the “share” link, then pasting it into Slack or Teams— reading this was boring and laborious, right? Doing it is even worse.)
Lack of Training
The best tools on the planet won’t help team members who don’t know how to use them. If you’re decent with tech, it’s easy to assume that really friendly tools like Slack are intuitive, that everyone on your team will just “get” them. But often that isn’t the case.
Add in a mix of tools, ranging from the simple to the complex, and that whole decision-making matrix we discussed earlier, and things can get really messy.
The solution here is to make sure everyone on your team receives adequate training on every tool they’re required to use. (Easier said than done, right? We can help with that.)
Fear of Change
Some new tools obviously make everyone’s lives better. Others can be a little scary. They might even look like they’ll make someone’s job unnecessary.
It’s natural to fear change — especially if you think that change could threaten your job. So make sure to champion new tools the right way. Be a cheerleader for the benefits of the tool, and use real-world examples of how it will help.
Also, reassure that nervous employee that their position isn’t going anywhere, but that this tool will make their day-to-day life easier and increase their productivity.
The Best Solution: A Unified, Intentional Approach
If tech isn’t your main focus, it’s awfully hard to get the balance right on implementing the right (and the right number of) tools. Rolling them out intentionally, in a way that creates a unified employee experience with limited confusion, is even harder.
But this is also the sort of thing we do for customers every day. Need help creating this kind of productivity approach? Reach out to our team today!