Meetings are a common hold-up for getting things done in the office, an idea that is certainly not unfounded. Research supports the premise that meetings impact productivity. Let’s consider what the numbers say and how you can work to ensure meetings don’t influence your company’s productivity in a negative way.
Get More from Mobile: 4 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mobile Productivity Strategy
Smartphones are a critical part of your business’ productivity, but sometimes you and your employees might have differing views on how to translate that productivity into profitability for your business. If you want to avoid the pitfalls associated with smartphones, well, today’s article might just be for you. Here are four tips and tricks you can use to get your smartphones to work for you.
There are Immense Benefits Inside the Modern Productivity Suite
Productivity suites are universally one of the best tools for getting work done in the business world, so if you’re not familiar with the term, then take a moment to consider how often you use Microsoft Office products or the Google Workspace apps. These are productivity suites, and they are remarkably important and valuable for your company, whether you realize it or not.
Communication is a key part of doing business. Today, there are a variety of solutions devoted to improving your business’ communications strategy in some way, shape, or form. Here, we’ll go over the communications tools that businesses use today, and discuss why today’s business should be invested in most or all of them.
Our blog last week covered how patience is an important part of the most successful and productive employees’ arsenal. This week, we want to cover how you can help your employees be more patient. If you know someone in your office who could take things down a notch, this is just the blog for you with four suggestions that might do the trick.
Nowadays, the better your employees collaborate, the better your offering is going to be. This means getting the collaboration tools needed to make it simple for your staff to work together to create something great is critical. This month, we take a minute to discuss some of the problems businesses have with collaboration and how you can circumvent these challenges.
Ultimately, your employees are going to be the ones using your technology to accomplish their daily duties, so it helps to treat them like customers rather than end users. If you examine industry trends to make the best decisions possible with your technology and communications solutions, then you’ll allow your team to flourish in the process.
You May Be Surprised How Work Relationships Benefit from Remote Work
Today, there is a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing than ever before, especially in the shadow of the pandemic. Do you want to improve your employees’ relationships with their colleagues, family, and other important people in their lives? The key to doing so might be remote work, according to a new survey.
Most business owners are looking for a way to cut their costs. One way that many firms can see some cost reduction is to increase productivity through solid collaboration. Today, there are many digital tools designed to get more eyes on a project, but they may not completely fit your strategy. Let’s look at some strategies that are used to promote collaboration, and some tools that can fuel these enhanced collaborative efforts.
Many businesses, seeking to balance the positives brought by remote work to the value that in-person, face-to-face operations have to offer, have leaned into hybrid work practices. This has led to many reconsidering how their office space is set up. Let’s dive into how these considerations are now shaping the workplace.
Remote work remains a fundamental approach to workplace operations right now. While this has led to great opportunities, remote work adds a new level of complexity to managing your employees. Let’s go over a few practices that can help make this management simpler and more effective.
Digital communication is an important part of running any business, so you need to do your part by equipping your employees with the tools they need to communicate effectively both in and out of the workplace. Here are three of the most effective tools we have found which enable your business to flourish.
Costs are rising and companies need to do more with less. Not only that, they depend on several departments of their business to work together to meet customer demands and complete projects. Let’s take a look at some collaboration tips and the tools that can help build a better, more collaborative and productive business.
In any business, the capacity to collaborate is critical to success. In order to do so most optimally, it helps to carry out a few preliminary and overarching practices. Let’s go over a few such practices to help bring your team’s collaborative activities together.
Video conferencing has become a popular way for businesses and their team members to communicate, with many platforms rising up to meet this demand. This growth begs the question, however, of how one goes about picking the best one for their organization’s needs. We’ve put together a few features that should be present in any option you consider for you to keep in mind.
Why You Need to Invest in Your Remote Collaboration Capabilities
With businesses handling operations in different ways, their employees must adapt to the circumstances handed to them. Some companies have begun to experiment with the status quo and are for the first time realizing the value that can come from allowing staff to work remotely. We’d like to discuss some of the ways your team might rely on technology to make remote collaboration effective and how you can optimize your experience with these collaborative platforms.
Are Your Collaboration Tools Actually Isolating Your Employees?
Many businesses were very suddenly introduced to the capabilities of modern collaboration tools, as… circumstances forced them to either go remote or cease operations for an unknown amount of time. However, while collaboration tools were suddenly a requisite for work, could these tools now be responsible for isolating your team members from one another?
Microsoft Teams is a video communication and collaboration platform that your organization can use to great success, but it helps to have a couple of pointers so you can make the most out of the software. Here are five ways you can maximize the value you get out of your Microsoft Teams software.
Tip of the Week: Improve Your Collaboration by Doing these Three Things
Businesses are rarely successful with just one person doing all the work; rather, businesses are largely successful when a group of people are working together toward the same goal. To promote this type of collaboration within your organization, we suggest you keep the following tips in mind.
More workplaces than ever before are utilizing the power of remote technology, but this also creates problems with security that must be addressed. How can you ensure that your organization isn’t putting itself at risk as a result of this general displacement of your workforce? Let’s discuss some action items you might choose to implement for your business.
Workforces have been increasingly distributed and many businesses aim to continue that strategy for the foreseeable future. There are a fair share of challenges that distributed employees have themselves, but for the business, it can be tough getting them to do the things that need to be done to secure the business. Here are a few actions that need to be taken if you want to make that happen.
Wherever a business’ team happens to be working, maintaining communications is a huge priority. This is not only for the sake of operations, but also for the sake of your company culture. Let’s explore how this can be accomplished through a strategy known as unified communications.
Sales. HR. Customer Service. IT. Accounting. Management. These different business departments have (for the most part) been categorized and compartmentalized for decades, cooperating to some extent but largely operating independently of one another. The question is, will this remain to be the case, with so many people now working remotely and communicating with their teammates as needed? Let’s try to make a few predictions as to the future of the departments we are all so familiar with.
Remote work has been embraced over the past two years, in no small part due to the impact of the pandemic. However, some of the impacts of remote work have made it clear to many businesses that its advantages shouldn’t be sacrificed once it is no longer necessary. Let’s review how businesses can improve by continuing the practices of remote work, even after the need for remote work has passed.
Collaboration is something that no modern business can do without, which helps to explain why so many current applications feature it so heavily. Let’s focus on Google Drive and its multitude of collaborative capabilities that so many businesses are now making use of.
Do you realize how much paper you use each year? Do you realize how much paper you have stored in your office? Do you realize that none of that is necessary? Today, digital filing systems as a part of a document management strategy can keep you from wasting your business’ resources on paper, filing, and printing. Here’s how:
Within Google Workspace is Google Docs, a useful word processing solution that can be accessed through your web browser. In case you’re new to using Google’s productivity software, we have decided to assemble a short introduction to some of Google Docs’ most useful tools and features.
Boosting collaboration is a central theme to many companies' operational strategies. The more that people can do as a team, the less costly operations have to be. That is a sound business strategy. Today, many businesses are looking to software to build a successful collaborative situation. Let’s take a look at three such apps that, if used properly, will help any business boost their team’s ability to work together.
PDFs have been around for a while and they have become an extremely useful file format for business. One of the best features of the PDF is that it is useful for securing signatures so that contracts can be handled over the Internet. Today, we’ll go over how you go about signing a PDF in Windows.
The modern business should be prioritizing its collaborative capabilities. After all, the benefits of collaboration include increased quality in products and services and customer service alike, all the while cutting costs. Of course, you may have already attempted to incorporate collaborative practices, but for some reason, they didn’t take. Let’s consider a few reasons that might have been the case.
As a communication tool, the video conferencing app Zoom saw a considerable bump in its popularity with both personal and business users as the coronavirus pandemic made other means of meeting no longer viable. However, this sudden increase in its user base also revealed some serious security issues with the platform. Let’s examine what Zoom has done to resolve these issues since then.
Listening to Your Team is a Great Way to Overcome Business Challenges
While it sounds like a term that only applies to the person with the fanciest title in an organization, business leadership is an important quality for people to demonstrate at all levels. However, when you are the boss, it becomes important that you encourage this comprehensive business leadership amongst your team. Here are a few key questions you should be asking regularly to communicate this responsibility to your team members.
Clearly demonstrating their prioritization of their G Suite offering, Google continues to innovate the platform’s many solutions to improve the user experience. Most recently, this has included giving Gmail a few extra functionalities to help further integrate a business’ communications. Let’s look at these functionalities together.
Tip of the Week: Two Kinds of Best Practices for Remote Work
If you’re trying to productively work from home, what you use and how you use it are equally important considerations. To assist you, we felt it would be helpful to share a few best practices for each variable, so that you might be able to boost your remote productivity.
The improvement in technology directly contributes to the amount of productivity business sees. One place this is evident is in the way in which businesses use collaboration tools to move business forward. Let’s take a brief look at what exactly we mean by collaboration tools and how they benefit the businesses that use them.
If your business is like many others, you’ve pushed off some of your more capital-intensive plans and focused on efficiency. Now that things are starting to reopen in many places, it’s been made clear that keeping your business running with remote workers is a good strategy, but you can’t keep your projects on the back burner forever. Using video conferencing solutions to help run your projects can be a good stopgap that can give your business some flexibility. Let’s take a look.
Recent events have shown how useful a remote workforce can prove to be, but this method of maintaining productivity isn’t without its challenges. For instance, a staff that is used to working side-by-side in an office may have difficulties in adjusting to this new work paradigm. Fortunately, there are a few company activities that can help make better remote habits stick. Let’s go over a few for this week’s tip.
Right now, more business than ever is now conducted over video chat. You may have found yourself using it as a tool as you work remotely. However, while these conversations may help keep your team connected to one another, the experience certainly isn’t the same as what would be found in the office conference room. Here, we’re sharing a way to get rid of one of the biggest hurdles in remote collaboration.
Tip of the Week: Three Ways Collaboration Can Be Improved
Collaboration is critical for a business’ success, but with more teams than ever split amongst their homes, it is arguably even more crucial to their operations. For this week’s tip, we’re going over three ways that your team can collaborate more effectively while making remote operations work.
Businesses of all types rely on their telephone systems. Today, there is an option that can revolutionize any business’ communications platform, and do so for a fraction of the cost of a traditional telephone system. Today, we’ll take a look at VoiP and why it’s such a good option for your business.
In the Age of Coronavirus, Now’s the Time to Reconsider Telework
New York State recently mandated a stay in place order, requiring only essential businesses remain open and all others have their employees stay at home. The goal is to reduce the spread of coronavirus, by increasing social distancing. The best way to do this is by having fewer employees physically in the office. For telecommuting to be successful you need to have a plan in place before you need to use it. Here are 5 steps to allow your employees to work from home in the age of coronavirus.
Worldwide, we’re a good few months into dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, with many nonessential businesses shutting their doors for the time being. Even those industries that can’t just stop their operations are seeking alternatives, leading many to turn to implementing as much of a remote workforce as possible. Many still have questions about doing so, however, so we want to do our best to help answer some of the common questions these business people might ask about remote work.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused many businesses to enact a work-from-home policy. With so many people working from home, we thought it would be a good idea to write up some simple tips to follow to give yourself the best chance of being productive.
Why File Sync and Share is So Important for Businesses to Have
As the coronavirus outbreak creates global health concerns, we wanted to address how it could impact businesses that lack the preparations needed to account for such an event. More specifically, we wanted to discuss why events like these add even more reasons that a file share and sync solution is an invaluable addition to your IT resources.
With most businesses looking to control costs, their decision makers need to find innovative new ways to do business. One way that many firms can increase productivity without raising costs is to promote a culture of collaboration. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the useful technology that businesses can leverage to improve their output.
The more time that passes the more files your business accumulates. These files need to be stored in a place where your staff has access to them. Since a lot of today’s work is collaborative, finding the right file sharing and collaboration solution is extremely important for the growing SMB. Today, we will tell you some things you need to do to maintain efficient file management systems.
Collaboration is a crucial business process in many ways, which means you need to be sure that your entire team is on board and prepared to participate. This week, we’re offering some tips to help you accomplish just this in six simple steps.
Collaboration is crucial in today’s work environment, which is one reason that solutions like Slack are so popular among businesses. Another reason that Slack is a popular option is how user-friendly it is - especially with the many shortcuts that are built in. We’ll go over a few of these shortcuts.
The modern perspective of productivity would not be possible without the use of collaboration tools. Some of them are so game changing that they can completely revolutionize the way you hold meetings, deal with clients, and manage in-house processes. We’ll discuss how you can implement collaboration tools that work for your business, as well as use them to overcome the many challenges you might face in a business environment.
From the Law Office to the Courtroom: IT’s Role in Criminal Justice
With information technology touching nearly every part of modern culture, it isn’t a surprise that it is being utilized by sectors of industry where you may not expect. One of those sectors that may not register as one of the most IT-centric is the criminal justice system. This is largely because it is traditionally thought to be filled with jobs that seemingly haven’t changed much in centuries. Today, we’ll take a look at the technology that fuels today’s criminal justice system and see how municipalities and companies, alike, are benefiting from technology solutions.
To start the journey through the legal system, we’ll start with the people whose job is defined by exercising moral authority: the police. The first thing that anyone needs to know about their investment in IT and their use of technology systems is that, since the police gets a majority of their funding from public money, IT budgets aren’t always in line with a private business’. In fact, some police departments don’t see the point in more IT when good cops are being laid off so they will deliberately cut their IT budgets in line with the budget they get from their municipality.
While IT isn’t always a priority for the police, it can be effective at providing exceptional departmental productivity gains. With the remote nature of the job, most police cars today are outfitted with laptops and Internet accessibility. This allows officers to access motor vehicle and individual information stored on useful databases, but since these machines are hardwired into a car dock, they only get a partial benefit of mobility. Innovative solutions are now being used where police are outfitted with department-owned smartphones and tablets so that officers can access relevant information from outside of their cars.
There are several parts of the job where police can benefit from new technology. Along with the in-car computer networking, and potentially mobile device networking, IT can compliment a lot of what a police officer does. The right IT solution can boost communication, augment (or completely run) operational capabilities, and effectively reduce costs by providing information faster and speeding up procedure. After all, a large percentage of effective policing has to do with having actionable information. As a result, by implementing IT solutions, the public welfare improves--which is the situation that any citizen can ask from their officers of the peace.
From a software perspective, here are three types the typical police department can’t do without:
- Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) - An application that assists dispatchers route police resources to places of priority need.
- Geographic Information System (GIS) - An application that provides in-depth geographic information to provide dispatchers and officers a comprehensive view of the landscape.
- Records Management System (RMS) - An application that provides officers with access to reliable information to assist them in their duties.
Moving on to the lawyers, we’ll find a professional that is torn between the past and the future. Many lawyers understand that IT can benefit them, but at the same time the simply don’t have time to monkey with technology that, for some, can do more harm than good. The average lawyer that works criminal cases, whether they are prosecutors, defense attorneys, or specialists, understands how to effectively utilize certain technologies to provide their clients the best service possible. After all, they deal with a lot of sensitive information, and have a responsibility to protect it.
Some of the technologies that law firms typically utilize come in the form of business-type solutions that enhance their productivity, efficiency, and data redundancy. Others, however, are best utilized by a business like a law practice. Most practices need strong collaborative systems that allow multiple people to share files, the ability to print off documents, and a central database that has access to documents. These requirements make computing solutions in the cloud a perfect fit for the modern law office. Cloud computing can offer these organizations a way to host all their necessary software, while also providing virtual hardware and redundant storage capabilities without having to pay huge upfront costs.
Lawyers typically use the following software:
- Practice Management - An application that is designed to help lawyers and their staff manage the large quantity of work they are inundated with.
- eDiscovery - An application that makes finding, collection, identifying, and sharing relevant information easy.
- Video Conferencing - Lawyers are extraordinarily busy and often don’t have time for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing helps fill the void by allowing them to meet with clients, colleagues, and staff from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Since its main purpose is to be a place to hear arguments, the courtroom doesn’t need all the technology that the police and lawyers use to keep things rolling efficiently along. In fact, most of the technology that is utilized in the duration of a criminal trial would be traditionally provided by the prosecution or defense. This simply isn’t so today. The courtroom of the information age is seeing a major shift, and changing the nature of litigation completely.
The biggest change to the modern courtroom is in the availability of data. Since data is now able to be securely broadcast from cloud servers to devices such as laptops and tablets, the notoriously slow court proceedings’ pace has quickened somewhat. Other technologies like wireless Internet connections and charging ports add to the connected courtroom effectiveness.
Along with the technology people bring in to the courtroom, there are major changes in the technology inside the courtroom itself, too. The modern courtroom features video displays--either in the form of a mounted screen and a LCD projector or smaller, individual screens in the jury box--to provide juries a resource to see evidence. Many courtrooms also have individual witness monitors and annotation monitors.
Since the courtroom only has a couple of static employees, software isn’t typically necessary to manage the staff or used for productivity, but some software is available. There are titles for court and case management, e-filing, and audio-visual that are all found in the modern courtroom.
The criminal justice system ends with institutional corrections (prisons and jails) and community corrections (probation and parole). Like the other parts of the system, the corrections system has become dependant on the use of technology, especially for communication. Internet-based databases help corrections professionals track and maintain records on offender rehabilitation, while also helping provide an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. This provides the public significant cost savings, while also providing correction officers the ability to effectively monitor and manage offender probation.
Since budgetary considerations can really put a damper on the amount of acceptable innovation in corrections, the use of standard information technology is extremely important. It is making prisons and jails safer, and community corrections more effective. No better example of this than then the use of asset tracking technology through an automated offender management system.
The automated offender management system allows multiple users to access (and alter) an offender’s record simultaneously.with other users. This real-time information sharing improves efficiency, as the more information that’s available between multiple elements of the criminal justice system (and in this case, the corrections system) the better the entire system moves. Additionally, by providing real-time inmate information to corrections officers, it will reduce security risks.
If the technologically puerile criminal justice system is utilizing technology to improve operations, your business can, too. To see how Directive’s knowledgeable IT consultants can make technology work for your organization, call us today at 607.433.2200.
How well do your employees collaborate with one another? Teamwork is essential to the success of any business, but it’s often something that doesn’t come naturally to some users. These days, there are ways you can make communication and teamwork more effective and efficient for your workforce. This week’s tip is dedicated to making this work.
Collaborative work is pushing organizations forward faster today than ever before. With the use of more dynamic and option-rich technology, your organization can benefit from the improved productivity that comes from enhancing your collaborative strategies. Today, we look at some of the technologies used by organizations that prioritize collaborative work.
When it comes to innovation, you’d be surprised at what you might be capable of with the right solution. Collaboration in particular opens the floodgates to productivity, and with the right kind of collaborative and innovative technology, you’ll be able to unlock a whole new level of progress for your business. We’ll discuss some of the most important aspects of innovative collaboration and how your business can start taking advantage of it.
When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.
Once thought to just be a cool feature of the Internet--or the entirety of the Internet to your Great Aunt Maddie--instant messaging has a long history on the web. In fact, one could argue that it was the first great Internet-based application. Today, we take a look back at the history of Instant Messaging and how your organization can use it to create a better business.
Tip of the Week: Using Microsoft OneNote for Collaboration
Have you tried using Microsoft OneNote recently? It’s a great solution for a business setting, as it can provide your organization with plenty of features and capabilities that keep your staff organized and efficient. Thankfully, these features can allow your business to pass OneNote off as a project management tool. We’ll show you how it’s done.
When Employees Argue, Quality Suffers. Here’s What You Can Do About It
When you talk about your employees, you hopefully often refer to them as a department, or a “team.” These terms often come with predetermined assumptions, with one of them being that the employees work together to accomplish something specific. However, it’s often not so simple. If your employees aren’t working together as a team, how can you fix this dilemma?
As one would expect, a business will run a lot more smoothly when its employees have the resources to work cohesively toward a common goal. This is why collaborative solutions are becoming a staple in many office environments. Today, we’ll examine how one of these solutions, Microsoft Office 365, can help a workforce to achieve its goals.
Collaboration is a key part of business today, which has led to many developers and providers entering the business of collaboration. These developers are in deep competition with each other, each trying to update their offering to be better than the others’. Recently, Facebook Workplace, Slack, and Google’s Gmail each received collaboration-boosting updates.
One experience that almost everyone has been involved in is the clashing of personalities. This is only natural, as different people are born with different predispositions and are raised in differing environments. However, in the business world, one should do their best to keep personal differences from affecting the professional relationships they form.
As the cloud is being utilized by more individuals and organizations to meet their computing needs, more very important data is hosted outside of local computer networks. As a result, people utilize cloud storage for their backup and recovery strategies. In fact, it has become the primary use of cloud-hosted platforms, but just how does backup and recovery from these collaborative cloud-based platforms work?
With the exception of a sole proprietorship, a business of any size relies on its team in order to function properly. As a result, this team needs to be able to work together towards a common goal in order to succeed. To accomplish this, collaboration technologies are becoming more and more common in office environments, and generally benefit the performance of the business in its operations.
Is there anything more important to your business’ success than communication? If you’re not ready to communicate, it becomes difficult to collaborate and make strides on major projects. Thankfully, like many topics in business, technology allows for more effective communication and collaboration than ever before. Let’s take a moment to review some of the best technologies to streamline communication in the office.
There are several options on the market that you can deploy to securely store, organize, share, and access your information for your staff. SharePoint, Microsoft’s intranet solution, is worth considering for your data access and sharing needs.
Businesses look to technology to solve their problems and make operations more efficient, and rightfully so, after all, technology is synonymous with “solution.” Although, just purchasing new technology isn’t enough to automatically see the desired results. New technology must be accompanied by intentional implementation efforts, which includes adapting it to your company’s culture. In other words, working with people.
Everyone is well aware of how mobile technology is changing everything. Therefore, it's a matter of time before we see new tech drastically change the office layout. This is what's happening in forward-thinking offices with a trend called "hoteling." If your business enjoys mobile technology and you want to get the most collaboration out of your staff, then hoteling is right for you.