As director of product marketing at Adobe, I speak with customers everyday about how they can better maximize their productivity in the workplace. They often tell me they spend more time figuring out how to do their jobs than actually doing them.
Regularly faced with the staggering volume of information, they have difficulties keeping everyone on the same page, keeping track of lost data, information and IP. And today, professionals across industries use a variety of devices such as smartphones and tablets to get work done. We rely on technology to make our days more productive, but with so many different tools and platforms available to us these days, one wonders if we might be over-complicating things. Shouldn’t the digital world make our lives easier and reduce complexity?
Working professionals, especially those in an office setting, should take a hard look at their digital work habits and recognize whether these habits are helping or hurting productivity. IT departments can arm employees with the right tools and training, but individuals ultimately have control over how they put the training and the tools into use.
The first step to get the most out of working in a digital world is to get a handle on your digital workflow. What is a “digital workflow”? We all have one. A digital workflow relies on electronic processes that eliminate the need for traditional paper materials.
At the heart of a digital workflow are documents. Companies run on documents. They hold company history, financials, strategic plans, personnel data, etc. For this post, I’ll focus on the digital document because of the critical role it plays in our everyday work.
Put Content into Context
Thanks to social media, there’s been a dramatic shift in how we interact with content. The concept of a document used to be a piece of paper, made digital. But now, every worker has the power of a multimedia studio on their phone or laptop.
Now the question becomes how do they use this and be more productive at the same time? An insurance agent, for example, needs to process video, images and forms to expedite a claim. It would make more sense to combine that information in a digestible way that is intuitive and easy to navigate through. Putting content into context not only adds clarity; it improves productivity as well because the information is more actionable.
Don’t Break the Chain
We’ve all been there – we come to a point when working on a project or assignment where we have to pick up the phone, or send an email to get something done. Then, we wait. Surprisingly, e-mail is still the most often used mechanism to exchange files and comments in a typical workflow.
A law firm, for example is constantly preparing case documents, which include lengthy witness statements, expert reports, and exhibits, etc. These types of documents can be many hundreds of pages long and they sometimes require changes at the last minute before being sent to the court. You can imagine the man power that goes into compiling, editing, reviewing, and sending this vast amount of information and the potential negative impact on productivity. Projects like these require tools that go beyond creating a PDF form, editing it, and e-mailing it around – they require an end-to-end solution to successfully complete the job quickly, from start to finish.
Finally, if your information isn’t secure and protected, it won’t matter how efficient your workflow is. In today’s collaborative online world, it’s more important than ever that software is updated and anti-virus software is installed – no matter which platform or device you’re using. An unprotected environment is a sure threat to productivity and intellectual property.
What tools and techniques are you applying to your digital workflow to maximize productivity?