Productivity is a huge focus in our modern workplace, and there are plenty of elements that go into running a productive organization, including an enormous selection of apps that help us do our jobs efficiently. In fact, the average employee uses 28 apps to get their work done.
But too many tools can have some negative effects on how we work. We turn to individual apps for enterprise communication, chat, information storage, timeline management, and more. Relying on such a large number applications can also overwhelm employees and allow information to fall through the cracks.
Each of these tools undoubtedly serves a strong purpose in getting work done, especially as many employees have vastly differing work and work styles. A developer requires very different tools than a marketer does, for example. But that doesn’t mean business leaders shouldn’t require some standards for how employees pick and use the tools they need for the good of organizational information sharing. What steps can an organization start with in setting the tone for its productivity stack?
- Let IT and HR work together. With IT leading all things technology and HR leading all things professional development and internal communication, these two make the perfect duo for defining a productivity tool strategy. Especially as apps that incorporate video communication become more prevalent in organizations’ productivity stack, IT should have a role in making sure that conversations are recorded and transcribed so that they can be stored and searchable for knowledge-sharing purposes. IT and HR should also work hand in hand on deciding the mandatory tool sets all employees must use, and organization leaders should encourage their partnership.
- Prioritize security. In managing subscriptions with multiple tools, organizations often fall into the bad habit of assigning a generic password that everyone knows. At the same time, you want employees to have easy yet secure access to the full stack of tools offered. To fill this need, organizations should turn to an authentication tool to access the full suite of company-sponsored productivity apps. The deprovisioning of employees is another weak spot within some organizations. Too often, HR and IT let deprovisioning tasks slide when employees leave. If a former employee can still access their 28 work apps weeks after they’ve departed, that creates a serious security risk for the whole organization.
- Leave room for creativity. Great tech companies don’t restrict the tools that employees want to use, but they do find a way to let them explore these new tools safely and efficiently. If developers want to use a new development tool while writing code, it’s against the organization’s best interest to say no and restrict that creativity. When it comes to productivity tools, it’s about finding a balance between regulating for company security and shared knowledge, and allowing employees to work and create with the tools that help them most. It is recommended that the organization develop a list of guidelines or best practices that employees must adhere to when venturing off into new productivity tool territory. These guidelines could include instructions for sharing information within the digital workplace or requiring the employee report back to HR on whether they’d recommend the tool be made available to the whole team or company, and why.
The world of productivity tools is crowded as it is, but it’s unlikely that the number of new tools hitting the market will slow down anytime soon. The good news is that tools will likely become stronger at integrating across one another to become more secure and allow for better knowledge and process sharing—a critical need within all organizations. Even as they do, organizations will still require a strategy for managing the security and knowledge sharing within their team.