Businesses have been finding new ways to increase productivity for generations. Whether it was the Industrial Revolution or the emergence of the digital age, new methods and technologies have helped us create products and offer services more quickly and efficiently than in years past. Even as we enter the new decade, innovation is thriving.
We’re not even halfway through 2020, and there are already trends and software that we can acknowledge are shaping the future of work. Trends in productivity have been fast-tracked into the limelight due to the emergence of the coronavirus. Trying to offset the negative side effects of COVID-19, businesses have found ways to emphasize speed and focus.
These are a few of the top productivity-boosting trends I see continuing to grow in the near future:
The digital age has given us technology that has boosted our productivity to new heights. This is especially noted in supply chain technology, which allows us to make and assemble products faster than ever before. More applicable to the average business professional, perhaps, is the software that allows us to perform our jobs better by improving our workflows.
Productivity software is used to achieve a number of goals, both for individuals and teams. This software can be generally organized into four distinct groups: time management, team management, project management, and customer relationship management.
Calendar apps are at the forefront of time management technology. These empower you to spend less time on logistics and more time on bigger projects that require a human touch. Time analytics tools give you visual insight into how your time is being spent, helping you find ways to optimize your most valuable commodity.
Managing your team helps ensure a positive and effective work environment. Team management software is particularly useful for managers overseeing remote teams, which has been the case for a number of companies in the wake of COVID-19. This software helps managers and employers look at their teammates’ individual workloads and time clocks to help lead them and problem-solve alongside them, even if everyone is working from home.
Many companies work by completing projects one at a time. This requires a lot of communication and organization, which is why many businesses are incorporating project management software into their strategies. This software provides a central location for important information related to projects, as well as organizational tools to help complete projects more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
Customer Relationship Management
If your company uses a customer service hotline, using a customer relationship management system helps ensure high-quality calls and care. This technology provides valuable data to help optimize how calls are fielded and addressed in order to provide every caller with the best possible experience. Best of all, it can store information from previous interactions, helping staff pinpoint obstacles and solutions quickly without forcing customers to repeat themselves.
2. Remote Work
The number of people who work from home at least once a week has jumped by 400 percent since 2010. This is the start of a growing pool of remote workers who can accomplish their work tasks at home without needing to enter the office. This trend has become especially relevant at the height of COVID-19, when stay-at-home orders have caused numerous companies to arrange remote teams to maintain operations.
Working from home will soon become a requirement for job seekers rather than a luxury. While many employers are skeptical of its benefits, I’ve seen different studies showing that remote workers can be just as productive as office workers, if not more so. Having autonomy over their schedules, the ability to create a personalized work environment, and the fortune to be close to family are motivating factors that will become more valued as the workplace transitions from the cubicle to the basement.
3. 4-Day Workweek
The shortened workweek is a controversial approach that’s gaining some traction, despite corporate pushback. Condensing employee workloads to four days instead of five gives them more time to spend with family, recharging, or pursuing hobbies. Many companies looking for rapid growth and profitability may scoff at the notion, but for smaller or more creative-minded organizations, this implementation has worked wonders.
Forbes 30 Under 30 member Travis Chambers introduced the four-day workweek to his employees at Chamber Media, with the belief that it would be beneficial to them and increase their overall happiness. “We can pay people more, have more cool stuff in the office, have big parties and perks, but the thing most businesses can never give is time,” Chambers explains. “So, we have a 4-day work week…It makes people more inspired, creative, productive, and loyal long term.” More people will follow this lead as they look to maximize employee potential and attract and retain top talent.
4. E-Books and Podcasts
As hardcopy books sadly fall out of favor, they’re being replaced by e-books and podcasts. These forms of digital media need only be listened to, which makes it easy to tune in while performing simple tasks. E-book sales have increased substantially over the past decade, and podcasts have grown as well.
There are many great books and podcasts discussing business, finance, and productivity. Industry leaders have a lot of great experience and insight to offer, which can be found in audio media libraries without siphoning additional time from leaders’ schedules. These can be listened to while commuting, working, or cleaning the house (or office, as the case may be). These audio files can fill your mind with innovative and inspiring thoughts when you might otherwise have faced a blank slate. Checking out an e-book or a podcast is a great way to motivate yourself, shake the cobwebs off, and increase your productivity.
Keeping track of these trends and others is important for employers who want to maximize their potential — and their team’s. Being more productive means making the most of our time and efforts, and that’s exactly what these trends aim to accomplish.