Getting your business ready for the new age
When it comes to the workplace, are you more 1917 than 2017? We tell you how you can get your business ready for the new age
You don’t have to look back 100 years to see that the world has changed. You only have to look back over the last few years to see that vast changes have happened. Want to watch a movie? You no longer have to wait for it to come out at the cinema, or be on the TV, you can now watch it on demand. Want to buy something? You can order online and have it delivered to your door the same day. Want to pay for something? You only have to tap your card on a machine and the money is transferred. And who knows what the future holds? Driverless cars, virtual reality, space travel, self-tying shoes? Exciting stuff.
But when it comes to the office, have we kept up with the technological advances? Yes, we have computers and the internet in every office, but have we stuck with some of the same traditional manual processes that have always been around? Is it time to get with the times? We take a look at some of the old-school systems still in use in the modern day office and how you can bring them bang up to date.
Going paperless (as much as you can anyway)
We’re moving towards a paperless world, with bank statements, electricity bills and invoices all sent to you via email. But for many workplaces, paper still plays a prominent role. Do you remember getting a host of paperwork to sign before starting your job? Contracts, health and safety, company handbook, emergency contacts, the endless forms. It felt like you’d done a day's work just filling them in! All these documents need to be stored somewhere and for many businesses it’s the trusted filing cabinet. But with so much paperwork it can become time-consuming and disorganised.
Whilst it may not be possible for the office to go fully paperless, wouldn’t it be better if we could rid ourselves of some of these paper processes and ultimately free up our time? Instead of having an overflowing disorganised filing cabinet, how about an organised, secure document storage system in the cloud?
Read only documents
Have you ever felt the frustration of waiting for someone to finish in a document before you can add to it? It’s like the good old days of the production line, waiting for the person before to finish their job before you can start yours. But most of us don’t work on a production line, so why do we put up with a production line system when it comes to documents? With systems such as Google Docs, your employees can work on documents in real time all at once, and all changes are highlighted - so you know exactly what the changes are and what’s the latest version - saving a lot of time and frustration.
WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Skype. The way we communicate with each other has been one of the biggest changes over the last decade or so. But has the way we communicate in the office evolved? For many, internal office communication relies heavily on the trusted email and of course the office phone. But where is the integration with some of the modern communication channels mentioned previously? For many offices there is no integration and in fact, there is resistance. Many workplaces actively discourage, or even stipulate within contracts, that workers cannot use social media in work. This may be for fear that workers will be misusing it or spending their time talking to their friends rather than working.
But as work and home lives blur, isn’t it time we embraced the fact that social media can be a great part of office life and actually make us more productive? Free apps such Yammer, Slack or Google Chat allow people to communicate not only internally but with clients, sharing documents and hosting quick meetings without getting weighed down in long-winded email chains.
Surely these collaborative tools can be used for the good of the office rather than for bad.
The holiday booking process
The way we book holidays has changed dramatically. No longer do you have to visit a travel agent, you can research prices online, book last minute and off you go. But has the way we book time off work changed alongside these innovations?
For many companies, the holiday request form still rules. Your staff still have to wait to get into work to fill out the request form, all before they can actually book the holiday. And in a world of limited time deals, that could mean missing out on that holiday of a lifetime. That’s not to mention other problems: lost forms, spreadsheet issues, confusion about holiday allowances. The more you think through the manual holiday booking process the more ridiculous it becomes. But is there is a better way?
Automated software systems such as BrightHR allows employees to request holidays instantly. Managers receive a notification, can check any conflicts and approve in a matter of clicks. Now obviously this will save you (and your people) time.
We now live in a 24hr, on demand society where you are contactable at most times of the day. This has meant that work-life and home-life have blurred. No longer is it just a 9-5 working day, it’s 9-5 plus also those hours you picked up emails, took a call from a colleague or worked on that presentation at home.
The world has also changed in terms of how people want to work. Some feel they work better in the morning, some at night. Some people like 9-5, some people want work to fit around their lives so they are able to take and pick up their kids from school, to go to the gym or the shops over lunch. But work hasn't caught up, the 9-5 is still the default.
Ok, admittedly flexible working isn't for everyone and it’s not possible in a lot of industries. But our view is that where possible we should be moving towards a more flexible working - trusting and empowering people to work where, when and how they feel they are most productive.