This is a guest blog by Brian T.
Wondering how advanced technology can assist businesses in making their teams productive? In this article, I will discuss several ways how technology has already optimized the work of remote employees!
Last year, businesses witnessed a fundamental transformation of the traditional office due to the havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a kind of “remote-work economy,” which is presumably to be a foundation even after the pandemic is long since passed.
The above-mentioned became a new issue for businesses as well as staff because remote work has become a common practice. However, the growing access of super-fast internet, side-by-side with the development of cloud computing, has enriched present businesses with the infrastructure that is necessary to promptly adjust to multiple remote work challenges.
As a result, according to Statista, small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to invest more than $100 billion on teamwork tools, cloud-based apps, cybersecurity platforms, and many other remote digital services during 2021-2023. Online business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces like Engre are also gaining momentum. This innovative technology has turned out to be an integral part of business daily routines. Offices, educational establishments, and even hospitals count on contemporary tech to guarantee that business processes function as usual.
Nowadays, people are free to work from anywhere, partner with each other seamlessly, optimize client care, and gain new skills and competencies online. Let’s explore how technology maintains the productivity of employees who work remotely.
Technology Reconsiders Remote Work Culture
Businesses can implement technology to provide indicators of good teams such as performance, training, collaboration, and mobility. In exactly the same way, managers can inspire and motivate their staff to reach new heights from literally any point around the globe. For sure, it has greatly modified things for big companies, small businesses, and startups and the way they operate.
Though businesses built the remote working culture to maintain on-going operations, it has been a problem for both companies and staff to adjust to it. Supervisors underwent stress while coordinating their remote teams and employees, and everyone faced communication challenges.
However, the pluses that technology has brought to remote team productivity significantly prevail over the above-mentioned challenges. Technology has ensured stability, consistency, and, in general, created a favorable environment for the efficient remote work concept.
Technology Removes Location Restrictions
One of the most obvious ways technology supports remote teams is that it removes the requirement for companies and startups to buy or rent a physical office or workplace. As a result, this reduced location-related obstacles, encouraging teams to efficiently perform their duties from any place convenient for them.
Thanks to a remote-work option, specialists don’t have to do their jobs sitting together in the same location to communicate and work with one another. Innovative technologies have made it a reality for people to perform their job responsibilities while keeping in touch with their team members using a wide range of digital collaboration platforms.
Tech Solutions Optimize Collaboration and Communication
The requirement for efficient partnership as well as communication has grown alongside the changing circumstances. The good news is technology-based solutions have considerably promoted the control/management of remote teams, enabling businesses with a high level of collaboration never experienced before.
Managers can get in touch with specialists on their teams, partners, or clients when they need to. The technology flow makes it possible to arrange efficient employee engagement with the help of completely modified norms of communication.
Controlling a remote team’s productivity has become extremely easy because a manager can do it by implementing any method they prefer, e.g., send an email/phone message or schedule a video or audio call using a centralized communication platform. Technology enables discussing job matters remotely as efficiently as when done via traditional, in-person meetings at the office.
For instance, digital collaboration platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams have given organizations and startups the opportunity to foster a collaborative as well as interactive remote-work atmosphere.
A corporation-oriented collaboration platform enables employees to arrange team meetings, supervise projects, exchange documents with colleagues, prepare demos for potential investors, supervise projects designed by contractors, and conduct video conferences with colleagues from other regions. And all those things are possible without leaving the desktop at home!
Technology Delivers a Feeling of Autonomy
How else does technology maintain the productivity of remote teams? You probably know that autonomy is the clue to productivity (especially when working remotely), and one of the vital components to building employee engagement. So, technology provides employees with the ability to be autonomous.
Employees often feel that, when working remotely, they have a unique opportunity to independently organize their deadlines. However, they must keep in mind that autonomy is impossible without fostering trust. Remote workers must communicate with their managers in a timely manner, as discussed earlier. Such a strictly organized interaction (not without specific digital tools) will add much to everybody’s productivity within the team.
Innovative Tools Support Professional Development
Teams can’t demonstrate productivity without a regular update of their knowledge and skills. Learning is especially important for remote workers because employees are working without access to a physical support system.
E-learning opportunities provide staff with the chance to pursue their education, and they also enable businesses to train and support team members to perform at a higher level.
Digital educational content is considered a precious, useful resource because it offers newcomers as well as experienced specialists the chance to acquire new skills. Additionally, it motivates staff to easily adjust to the changing requirements of the work culture. A wide range of companies and startups in various industries have already integrated e-learning into their environment because it is so worthwhile and impactful.
According to Statista, by 2025, e-learning is expected to increase by up to $340 billion. Tech achievements have contributed to learning agility as well as employee flexibility. As a result, to maintain productivity within remote teams, businesses are in favor of e-learning.
Technology Revealed a Worldwide Talent Pool
With more and more businesses going remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has provided many potential job opportunities for professionals around the world. Working remotely has become the new normal, offering businesses the ability to leverage a broad, diverse, and qualified candidate pool.
To be successful, companies and startups require a diverse remote workforce because it lets them build a wider business organization. Online technology enables companies to enter the evolving global markets which, in the pre-pandemic period, wouldn’t be easy to do because of the geographical restrictions. Additionally, diversity assists businesses in designing a more flexible work culture, which can bring many bonuses for the staff as well as the employer.
As the report prepared by Distribute Consulting states, the majority of employers that publish a position as remote-friendly see a 3,000% growth in application rates. Nowadays, innovative technology helps companies to reorganize their talent management as well as develop more coherent learning practices for the teams.
More Scalable Business Operations with Technology
It is no longer difficult to run a large-scale business without a physical location. Moreover, businesses enjoy more rational operations and procedures while increasing efficiency and performance.
Technology and scalability are interrelated. Scalability enables businesses to optimize profitability and efficiency while staying economically viable in supervising the growing workload. The latest technology achievements allow companies and startups to automate their business processes as well as handle the increasing scope of work while optimizing productivity. These speedier processes support both employers and staff, making the transition to remote work faster and smoother.
In addition, technology makes it possible to better supervise the distributed teams due to the regular connections and communication with them. Employees can continue to deliver well-timed updates, comments, feedback, hold team building events, and so on. With the help of technology, your online team has the same capabilities as any local employee.
In business operations, a marvelous sample of scalability is considered Netflix, which succeeds in delivering top-performance services to its clients while preserving their efficiency and minimizing manufacturing expenses.
Productivity with Cloud Access and Flexible Storage
Cloud-based technology is here to stay, and your remote teams won’t maintain productivity without it. A key advantage of cloud technology in a business sphere consists of its flexibility and scalability, enabling companies and startups to widen or limit their specific storage needs as necessary. Cloud technology provides opportunities for quick adjustments based on multiple options, encouraging productivity and growth without the need to buy a full software package.
The benefit of zero limitation on work equipment and location is acknowledged as another huge advantage to cloud technology, assisting staff in completing work whether outside or inside a physical workplace.
On top of this, cloud technology possesses a sync function. The last presupposes that employees can easily switch between various work equipment, maintaining productivity for specialists from various departments on the go.
Staff Accountability Thanks to Technology
Excellent time management is the direct path to high productivity. For remote employees, time management is even more vital than for staff working at the office. Thanks to technology, teams have relevant time tracking tools that can help them stay responsible. For instance, digital apps as actiTIME provide managers with the opportunity to record staff work hours with the help of a specific timer embedded in the mobile app. Time management digital apps help reveal productivity gaps as well as receive useful data on the ways to optimize work efficiency.
Project management tools also play an important role in supporting employee accountability because they enable building total visibility in all working activities.
For instance, tech solutions such as Planner or Project Online assist managers in looking at both the activity status of employees and overall performance/progress in real time. Such solutions can also come in handy for remote employees as well, enabling them to keep an eye on all their tasks/projects and receive notifications of upcoming deadlines. Those things drive employees to concentrate on their work activities and finish everything on time.
Project management tools make it possible to monitor project information such as start/end dates, status, and many other aspects. To maintain productivity, the software tracks actual and booked hours for every project team member and delivers time evaluations that analyze/compare actual and booked hours per employee.
Technology Supports the Feeling of Community
Because of the lack of informal discussions among colleagues (an integral part of office life), specialists working remotely can feel frustrated or disengaged, which will have a negative impact on employee productivity. Once it occurs, technology can help by stimulating socializing among employees to grow staff engagement.
Traditional communication tech solutions like Slack and Teams support the sense of community and maintain a corporate culture in general. It is a good idea to use these tech solutions to hold team-building activities for teams to communicate informally.
Another super-efficient approach to engage staff is using a social intranet, which includes multiple social functions such as discussion boards, polls, communities, media galleries, forums, questionnaires, newsfeeds, and hobbies for informal interaction among team members. It is simple to get access to the intranet from smartphones.
To aid productivity while performing their work, during breaks, employees can relax while posting comments, sharing content with colleagues, and enjoy the latest corporate news.
About the Author:
Brian T. is a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty. He is a technology and engineering writer and editor who writes on engineering news and blog topics for Engre.co. He brings into his reporting a wealth of experience in research and analytical writing.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on the ways technology maintains productivity of teams that work remotely.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success