5 digital technology tips to help increase productivity and lower business costs

Do you often find yourself sitting in a meeting which has overran, thinking to yourself about essential tasks you could be completing instead?

Or perhaps you’ve scheduled in back-to-back meetings, leaving no time for vital preparation, or have you forgotten about those follow up actions you need to write up afterwards?

Trust me, you won’t be the first and you certainly won’t be last person to do this. In fact, it’s more common than you may have first anticipated.

Referencing one report, Sarah Tierney, Digital Storyteller from Microsoft UK, states “employees have an average of 60 meetings per month, with managers believing 30% of their time is wasted in meetings” – a staggering amount of time to be losing on a monthly basis.

Whether we like it or not, meetings are integral to businesses, so how can you reduce the amount of time spent in meetings in order to increase productivity and even reduce costs?

Here at TSG, we have 5 top digital technology tips to help you rethink organisation meetings to save time and, in turn, cut costs.

1. Introduce online meetings

Skype for Business is one of the many tools we use here at TSG and it’s my go-to when it comes to connecting with team TSG. With the click of a button, you can join online meetings with colleagues located across all business locations from your chosen device – at your desk, on the train, you name it. This not only frees up time commonly spent traveling to and from designated meeting locations, but also saves travel and accommodation costs!

The functionalities of Skype for Business have now been integrated into Microsoft Teams, meaning you can carry out all of these functionalities in this collaborative hub – more on Microsoft Teams below.

2. Share your screen

Have you found yourself in the position where you need to showcase your work in order to move forward on a task?

These technologies make collaboration between colleagues simple with a ‘Share your Desktop’ function.

Simply start an online meeting with your chosen colleague/s and click the ‘Share your Desktop’ option. You can then select your chosen monitor (if you have more than one) and hey presto, you can now share your desktop and work through documents, show file locations or ask questions about designs as you please, without leaving your desk. 

3. Build a Microsoft Team

Our third tip is to collaborate and prepare before your meetings. An AAMC report states that there are 9 practices to follow in order to support productive team progress. However, here at TSG, we know just the programme for the job! 

Microsoft Teams is a brilliant digital programme which will help you to improve pre-meeting communications.

This modern-day meeting programme can be as simple or as complex as you make it but let us fill you in on the basics. Microsoft Teams is a digital dashboard catering for your digital communication needs, be it an online conversation feed, file-sharing or a video meeting (we will cover video meetings during tip four). 

Microsoft Teams provides you with an online file sharing forum, perfect for sharing those pre-meeting documents that are essential to an effective and efficient meeting.

Simply create a team and invite selected colleague who you wish to collaborate with; once you have done this you can now start a conversation, share files and prepare until your heart is content.

As we mentioned, Skype for Business will soon become Microsoft Teams, meaning you’ll be able to carry out your meeting prep and meetings themselves all in one place. Microsoft Teams is available as part of Office 365 at no extra cost, and we’ve found it’s one of the best collaboration tools out there.

4. Incorporate video

Historically, meetings have been face-to-face in a dedicated meeting room, which required colleagues to travel via car, train and even plane depending on the chosen location.

Thankfully, with the innovative nature of digital technology and the introduction of new devices with endless conferencing capabilities, this is fast becoming a thing of the past. 

Morden day meetings can now be setup with only two things, a webcam and a head set – it sounds a little basic and, the truth is, it is.

Microsoft Teams’ meeting function allows you to have a face-to-face conversation with your chosen colleague wherever you choose to work. Having a number of homeworkers here at TSG, it is imperative for us to communicate in order to complete day-to-day tasks whilst having a sense of community outside of the office. You can read more about how we tackle flexible working with our Work from Home Week and the evolution of flexible working blog.

One of Microsoft Teams’ most recent features includes the ‘Enable Blur Background’ function, which has come in extremely handy for our homeworkers who may have had a rouge child running around in the background or haven’t had the chance to remove clutter before an impromptu meeting!

Why not watch Microsoft’s recent introduction to blur background in Microsoft Teams to see what could go wrong during a meeting without a blurred background here. Trust me it’s one to watch!

So, with new video communication methods to file sharing options and online collaboration, you’ll be sure to minimise time spent in meetings daydreaming about what you could be doing or answering emails and instant messages, but don’t just take my word for it…

5. Analyse your time.
With our final digital technology tip, you can go one step further by recording how much time you have got back by utilising digital communication platforms.

Microsoft has recently introduced Workplace Analytics, which is designed to help you understand your own productivity and help business leaders make large changes in order to see productivity gains. 

This innovative solution can track how much both your own individual time and your wider teams’ time in meeting and even goes as far as detailing how much time you spend on your to-do list.

My colleague and chief blog editor Natasha talks about Workplace Analytics at length in her recent Using productivity tools to understand your own productivity blog.

So, there you have it, I hope you can utilise our top tips for a reproductive and cost-effective way of working!