Industry 4.0 The Future of Productivity and Business Growth

by Sandra Moncada

More than 2,000 respondents were surveyed by Workfront in June 2018 to provide insight into the state of the workforce. In Workfront’s State of the Enterprise Work Report, many respondents feel as though they are too busy to focus on innovation and adopting new solutions. Many have also stated that the availability of modern tools, automation, and other innovative features would help them become more productive in their positions.

Every good manager and business owner will make it their priority to ensure that their employees are satisfied with work conditions, as this will help them be more productive. Without a good overview, feedback and analysis, there is no way to tell if you are doing a good job in that regard.

You might not be aware that there are issues stymying productivity and profitability, but your employees will be. By openly communicating, you will have an easier time finding and adopting the right combination of new software and hardware solutions to make their lives easier. This, in turn, will improve productivity and nurture business growth.

All-inclusive Productivity Tools Help Make More Time for Primary Duties

While it would be logical that there are less responsibilities with proliferation of digital solutions, the truth is that employee responsibilities have become increasingly complex. With the migration of responsibilities and processes to the digital sphere, hundreds of productivity tools emerged.

While this might seem like a good thing, it’s often a problem – with so many tools to choose from, it’s hard to determine which ones work well together.

If your company is like many others, your employees may typically approach their daily activities by using a hodge-podge of productivity tools. Your team may try to create cohesion and cover everything by using several apps, but this often results in disruptions and compatibility issues that further complicate the workday.

The solution? Finding an all-inclusive productivity tool that addresses all requirements seamlessly. While it sounds like a pipe dream, Industry 4.0 is aimed at producing such solutions: personalized to every business. Opting for such a solution reduces compatibility issues and increases efficiency since all the parts work in unison instead of battling one another.

Such solutions often include project management and communication solutions, which eliminates a good chunk of distracting meetings or emails and creates more time to innovate and work on primary duties.

Switching from Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration Helps Maintain Balance

Achieving a work-life balance at one time meant that workers had some flexibility to manage their time in the workplace with their responsibilities at home, but technology has dictated a shift on how workers and management promote a balance in this area. In fact, thanks to the impact of new technological solutions and remote work on the rise, the typical 9-to-5 office job is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

The lines between work and life are increasingly blurred. This is happening because of change in work policies – today, it’s considered normal to bring your own device (BYOD) to work, to switch between work and personal devices, and to use mobile phones or tablets to access work on the go.

Work-life integration describes a way for your employees to organize their workday in an effective way that offers a healthy, functional balance.

As a business owner or manager, you may facilitate this in several ways. For example, you can promote the use of cloud-based platforms, Internet of Things devices, PaaS solutions and SaaS solutions (Platform- and Software-as-a-Service solutions), allow them to access work from home or town. Avoid micromanaging every aspect of your team’s workday: as long as they complete their tasks on time, you don’t have to intervene too much.

Cutting Back on Meetings and Restructuring Communications Eliminates Distractions

Another related challenge involves meetings and email correspondence. In the State of the Enterprise Work Report, many respondents stated that an excessive number of meetings and too many emails contributed to their inability to work as efficiently as possible.

Bringing your team together to touch bases regularly is essential for productivity, improved communication and more. However, an excessive number of meetings can be distracting, frustrating and inefficient. While meetings serve a purpose, they can easily get out of hand. A report prepared by MIT indicates that meetings are generally increasing in length and frequency, and this may not be necessary or beneficial.

Many professionals feel frustrated about their experience with meetings in the workplace, but they power through them out of responsibility or duty. Some realize that they have had a detrimental impact on their engagement, productivity, and focus, but they continue to attend meetings without questioning them because they feel that they are required to do so.

There are a few steps that you can take to reduce the length of meetings and to make them more effective.

  • Create an agenda up-front and share it with the attendees so that they can prepare properly.
  • Always stay focused and remain on-topic. Such meetings are shorter and more effective than trying to solve everything at once.
  • Collect data and analyze it. This helps you to determine how effective your company’s meetings are.

 

Martie Management 3.0

Want to know more about how to have better meetings? There is a Management 3.0 Plus Module on this topic. Find out more!

 

There are also a few Industry 4.0 communication novelties that are changing the way teams communicate internally and reduce emails and disruptions. For example, your employees might hastily fill internal survey because they take up too much time or completely skip them. Instead, you can switch to quick, 1 to 2 question polls integrated into your internal communication software that give your team members a chance to voice their opinions in a more efficient way.

Video communication may be more effective than written communication, and videos may be watched by many people around their other scheduled activities. These are only a few of the many developing communication trends that your company may take advantage of.

Incorporating Standard Processes and Workflows Improves Efficiency

Another common challenge that your workers might face relates to inconsistency or a lack of structured workflows. Your team wants to know what is expected of them, and they want the freedom to work independently. In order to do so, they need to have established or standardized work processes.

You can survey your team to determine if this is an issue for your employees. Reviewing analytics may also help you to determine the exact areas of various processes that are creating bottlenecks and slowing down productivity. Keep in mind that numerous technologies are available to help you standardize processes and workflows in an efficient manner.

Incorporating Smart Digital Assistants Makes Daily Tasks Easier

When you think about digital assistants, you may think about asking a small device in your living room to play a song or to tell you about the forecast. Digital assistants also have numerous applications in the business world, and they can save you and your team an incredible amount of time.

For example, a digital assistant may help you to make your commute time more efficient by answering your questions, responding to communications or taking notes verbally while you concentrate on the road. A digital assistant may provide you with status updates, alerts and scheduling assistance. In addition, you may be able to check on the status of various applications by making a single query to a digital assistant.

Productivity and efficiency continue to be hot buttons in the business world, but surveys and studies indicate that workers do not believe that they are functioning in the most effective ways possible. Using modern technology effectively can help you and your team overcome common issues and challenges that bring down productivity and slow down your progress. Consider polling your team today to learn more about their challenges and obstacles as a first step, and finding the best solution that will enable your employees to thrive and bring your company to new heights.

Photo: Pixabay

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