You’re at work, feeling good, getting stuff done and then you feel the dreaded tap on the shoulder, right in the middle of your flow state. Whether you’re a writer, web developer, financial adviser, or even a boring operations guy (like me), it’s frustrating and can be detrimental to your productivity and quality of work.
If you’re reading this and realizing you are the tapper, that’s OK and I don’t blame you. Most workplaces are not set up with efficient processes for team communication and project collaboration, which kills the firm’s overall productivity.
How can you tell if you are in productivity purgatory? Do you hear questions like this?
“Hey, where is that document saved?”
“Do you know if Mark finished putting together that research?”
“Did anyone see my notepad with my Todo list?”
“Which document version is the most recent?”
If so, then I recommend three ways to increase your company’s productivity:
1) Establish an organized and intuitive network for files and company assets
Note the bold and underlined: if your network or file hierarchy isn’t intuitive and organized, you are likely doing more harm than good. The most effective platforms for collaboration and productivity are cloud-based networks. They allow you to centrally locate files, eliminate redundancy, and allow for simultaneous editing. I recommend Google Apps for Work with Google Drive OR Microsoft Office 365 with One Drive. Google and Microsoft own this space and regardless of which solution you choose, they each have tremendous benefits over legacy networks, most notably their nearly unlimited third party integration (two of which I mention next)
2) Use one platform for intercompany communication (email doesn’t count)
For this, I recommend Slack. Slack combines email and instant messaging. You can create specific channels for teams or projects and share files, videos, and pictures seamlessly. You can also search everything, so you have the content you need, when you need it. It’s my favorite service, and I’m not alone – last month Slack won an award for Fastest Rising Startup and was named Company of the Year by Inc. Magazine.
3) Use one service for task & project management
Trello is a versatile project management tool. It can help you do everything from capturing ideas for a new project to helping you schedule that project’s completion. Trello has built-in integrations for Slack and cloud networks such as Google and Microsoft. The best part is its flexibility, it can be used in a very simplistic form but has the capability to scale up for more complex projects. My advice, read this article from Life Hacker.
By nature, a cloud network has to be a top-down, all-or-nothing approach. Technically, it doesn’t work otherwise. For Slack, Trello, or any other productivity tool you decide to use, let the buy-in from employees happen naturally. People are averse to change. If you start small and let usage grow organically, others in the office will become curious about these new services. I guarantee, after a short time, you will have other employees and managers asking for logins. You’ll have increased team collaboration, better workplace productivity and fewer taps on the shoulder.
March 15, 2016
Written by Brandon
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