In order to function more efficiently as a business, and have the competitive edge, you need to embrace the various productivity and communication tools available. There are tools to encourage productivity, save time, sharpen communications, and allow team members to clearly track their progress. The important thing to note is that what works for one business may not work for yours, so don’t be afraid to try a few tools until you find one that works for you and your team.
Here are a few tools that I use to run my business:
Communication and collaboration
Communication and collaboration is very important in a modern business. You need to account for a lot of mobility, as well as have the flexibility to include team members that might work remotely or in an informal office environment.
Initially we used Google Docs and Hangouts, but the great advantage of being a Microsoft Partner was that we could now use Office 365 collaboration tools. We use Skype for Business for our video conferencing and Microsoft Word and Excel Online, as it allows us to see what each other is doing and typing in real time which is ideal for collaboration.
Originally we tried Trello for our projects, but as a team we decided that it was not a good fit. We needed something that would work better when looking at a project from a higher level to easily see outstanding tasks. We started using Asana as our project management and task delivery tool. It was a much better fit for us and it has multiple useful features and tools that Trello didn’t.
I implemented a daily 15 minute stand-up for the team every morning so that we could have a hands-on overall view of every project’s progress. Each team member is asked the following questions: ‘Are you still on track? Are you being held back by anything? What do you need help with?’. This helps us to ascertain if the engineer is having any issues that might impact our project delivery date, so that we can either step in or at least communicate the issue to the client timeously.
We use Whatsapp generally as a communication tool with our team; Whatsapp groups can also be a great tool within the business as long as there are clear usage rules. However, with all these distractions built into our day from different communication platforms (Skype, email, Whatsapp, phone calls) it is good practice for you to set aside some time where you go ‘off-the grid’ for a few hours so that you can maintain productivity. Set some rules, and stick to them!
All these tools can be fantastic for your business, however you will need to drive their adoption yourself. By embracing it, you will have first hand knowledge of all the challenges associated with using it so that you can gauge if this tool is working for your business.
What tools do you use in your business to increase productivity?