Every manager and entrepreneur spends time thinking about how to boost employee productivity. After all, the more efficiently your employees work, the more revenue you can generate, the less time you’ll have to spend, and the faster your organization will grow. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much productivity you can foster through motivational speeches and selective hiring.
One of the best-kept secrets to improving productivity is based on a simple investment: upgraded technology. And if you learn to harvest it correctly, it could power your organization for years to come.
How Tech Boosts Productivity
Every modern business uses technology in some way, whether it’s with a single computer to keep track of orders, or a fleet of smart devices to manage your inventory. Regardless of how you use technology, investing in new and better devices can improve employee productivity in multiple ways:
- New functions. Some devices and gadgets provide the functionality you didn’t even know your business was missing. For example, once you start relying on a virtual assistant to handle basic tasks and accept voice commands, you’ll wonder how you got by without one. And on a bigger scale, RFIDs and similar technologies can simplify your manual processes and save hours of time.
- Automation. Automation is probably the biggest category here, since it can be used in thousands of different applications, and is only becoming more advanced with time. With the right software, the right procedures, and employees who have a mindset to find shortcuts, you could easily automate hours’ worth of manual tasks. Simple protocols, like IFTTT, can take care of basic tasks like scheduling meetings or taking action in your project management platforms, and cumulatively save hours of time.
- Faster processing. Investing in technology isn’t just about adding more gadgets and devices to your network; it’s also about upgrading and maintaining what you already have. Over time, computers tend to slow down, while new models offer faster speeds than ever before. Periodically upgrading your devices to the latest (or nearly-latest) model can make your employees work significantly faster.
- Morale. Don’t neglect the effects that new technology can have on your staff morale. If one of your employees has been dealing with a laggy, frustrating computer for the past several months, a new computer could give them renewed energy and optimism about their job. A new app that automates an annoying manual process could make someone’s week. With all those new good feelings and motivation, your employees will be more likely to innovate, work hard, and do more for the good of your brand.
- Security. Don’t forget, old, outdated technology can also be a security risk. Upgrading your hardware and software can eliminate critical vulnerabilities, and significantly decrease your risk of being a victim of a cyber attack or data breach. Considering the global average cost of a breach is $3.6 million, including the loss of productivity necessary when correcting the breach, the few hundred dollars it takes to upgrade are well worth spending.
Of course, new technology isn’t free, and many managers would easily make the decision to upgrade their team’s tech if it wasn’t so expensive.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can mitigate costs here:
- Sell your old devices. If you’re buying a new replacement for an old device, get rid of the old device. If your “old” model is a couple years old or newer, you can recoup most of what you paid for it (so long as it’s in decent shape). Just make sure to wipe all your company data from the device before selling it.
- Buy used or refurbished (when possible). You don’t have to wait long for a new model to start showing up on used marketplaces. Buy a used or refurbished model instead of a brand-new device. You won’t see much difference in functionality, but you can save 10 to 20 percent easily, even for the latest models.
- Time your upgrades throughout the year. Don’t upgrade all your tech at once. Instead, upgrade your devices and apps one at a time, and throughout the year, so it never puts too much strain on your budget.
If you can overcome the cost factor, new and improved technologies are some of the best ways to improve your entire team’s productivity. Consider investing more in these increasingly powerful tools of the trade, and pay attention to how much more your employees get done in a day.