Everyone knows that technology reduces workloads and lets us accomplish more, faster. Looking back at manual labor over the years, humans moved from doing most of the heavy lifting ourselves to relying on livestock to pull the load, until we came up with engines and motors, and then, computers. Where once we would have seeded and tilled an entire field of wheat by hand, we now sit in an air conditioned room and enter a command on a keyboard to tell our autonomous farm machinery what to do next. The impact of technology on productivity in the United States cannot be underestimated – it reduces workloads and allows us to achieve more.
Except when it doesn’t.
We take it for granted that technology is making our office workforce more productive, and for the most part it is. But relying too heavily on our connected systems and networks can be a double-edged sword. We collaborate online, share documents and data, and expect lightning-fast responses to our queries, comments, and commands. And then a computer crashes. Or demand spikes and a network goes down. And our technological wonderland comes grinding to a halt. Let’s talk about when the impact of technology on productivity in the United States is negative, rather than positive.
A Neglected Network Could Be Your Achilles’ Heel
How do you know if your network is your company’s secret weakness? Ask yourself a question: does your team view your network as a necessary evil? Is it a system that they work around, or work through? Often employees who have gotten used to a certain way of doing things over time will continue to favor old methods, even when new technology is introduced. Whether they actively resent a new system or simply don’t see that applying old strategies to new technology mitigates the benefits, the result is the same: the technology you’ve invested so much in to make things more efficient – doesn’t. To get the most out of technology, we need to put more into using it.
To maximize the benefits of your organization’s tech spend, it’s important to regularly review systems and processes to ensure they’re being used in the most efficient way possible. At the same time, your network needs regular monitoring and maintenance if you want the best performance from it. Your team must view your network as a powerful tool. Back to our farmer toiling away in his field – he’d never let his scythe get rusty or blunted because it would make it less effective. By performing regular network maintenance and ensuring your systems are used as intended, you can reduce inefficiencies and get the most from both your team and your tech.
A Distracted Employee is Not a Productive Employee
Technology is rife with distractions for your team. You yourself are probably guilty of glancing at your phone during a face-to-face meeting, or checking for a new message while you should be focused on a big project. Those kinds of distractions are a part of everyday life, and not necessarily something you can avoid. However, task-switching is a distraction that costs your business time and money, and it is a more manageable problem than trying to tell your team to leave their iPhones at the door.
It’s common practice to assign network maintenance to an existing employee or team, in addition to the duties they were actually hired for. The problem with this strategy is that no matter how tech-savvy the team you lay this responsibility on, they’re being forced to switch back and forth between their regular responsibilities and their IT tasks. Ignoring the fact that every hour they spend on your network is an hour they’re not spending on what you hired them for, studies show that task-switching can reduce productivity by up to 40%. Every time your employees switch the hats they’re wearing, dollars go down the drain.
The System is Down – and So is Your Productivity
If you don’t have a dedicated IT team supporting your employees, who do they turn to when a system error pops up or a server goes down? You? Each other? No one at all? Even if you have a dedicated in-house IT team, they can be easily overwhelmed when a major issue rears its head – after all, they have daily maintenance and tasks of their own to do, unless you’re paying them to just sit around and wait for a catastrophe to hit. Some 90% of US businesses experience unexpected downtime each year – and not all are prepared.
Let’s look at the scenario: everything in your company is humming along nicely; your employees are buzzing around like industrious bees – and your network goes down. The cause doesn’t matter – it could be user error, it could be a cyber attack, it could be that the demand your hard-working employees placed on it overloaded it and caused a crash – what matters is, it’s not working. Activity grinds to a halt as team members are unable to accomplish their tasks. Even those not directly affected by the outage can be distracted or interrupted by affected employees asking for help, looking for solutions, or taking the outage as an excuse for a break. At this point, you could be on the hook to pay for the expensive break-fix support to get your server back online, the wages of all your now unproductive employees, and any costs that will be incurred by the delays as work sits unfinished.
Minimize the Negative Impact of Technology on Productivity on Your United States Business
Are you ready to power down your systems and get all your employees back to manual labor and paper-based data sharing? Of course not. The positive impact of technology on productivity in the United States far outweighs the negative, and no one is about to argue in favor of doing away with our networks, computers, and handheld devices. So how can you reduce the negative impacts of distractions, outages, and necessary maintenance?
At Data Resolution FlexIT, we’ve got the answer you’re looking for. Our partners gain their very own team of dedicated IT experts, at a fraction of the cost of hiring one in-house. We provide preventative maintenance and monitoring, as part of our managed services, to reduce the occurrence of network failures and outages, the impact of those issues when they do happen, and the time it takes to resolve the problem and get your team back to work. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help increase your team’s productivity and improve your bottom line, get in touch with us today.