How to simplify work for your employees

James Surowiecki got it right when he said over a decade ago, “Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, allowing us to do things more quickly and efficiently. But too often it seems to make things harder.”

Still, no matter how you feel about the role of technology in making life easier and simplifying work, it is undeniable that it is an expected reality in the modern workplace. Right now, one in five workers are employed in a job that did not exist in 1980, and with automation likely to redefine the very nature of our job roles, this number will likely increase in the coming years.

However, employers today continue to face challenges when dealing with technology. Many companies exploring how to simplify work for their overwhelmed employees actually end up wasting time with endless meetings and emails by making things too complex. In fact, employees who work in complex companies only end up getting about 6.5 hours of meaningful work done—per week.

The right tools help simplify work

For employees, simplifying work certainly does not imply that tasks become any less meaningful or impactful. It simply means, giving employees the right tools and resources to improve effectiveness and, ideally, happiness as well. Happy employees, who are not held back by the stresses of complex and frustrating tasks, can be up to 31 percent more productive and, in some cases, increase sales up to 37 percent.

But, the question remains: how exactly do you simplify work for your employees so they benefit? To an extent, the answer lies with technology.

There are many digital tools created for a variety of business use cases, but those that are created to ensure the tasks carried out by employees remain simple, smart, and swift tend to have the most positive impact.

For example, Sapho Employee Experience Portal tackles complex enterprise systems by breaking them down into micro apps that allow employees to focus on the work that matters most. Instead of spending time navigating complicated workflows and searching for information, employees receive personalized notifications about important tasks that require action and relevant system changes directly in a portal that can be accessed from any device, intranet, or messenger.

A unified workfeed allows for collaboration and an aggregated view of high-priority tasks, while employee personalization ensures your employees don’t waste time accessing unnecessary information. By streamlining the most complicated aspects of today’s work, Sapho enables employees to make smarter decisions and be more productive on the job.

There are no silver bullets

While the right technology solutions play a major role in simplifying work, technology isn’t the only step that companies need to take.

Technology will only help if you also take the time to talk to your employees and identify what workflows and processes are the biggest barriers to productivity. Talking with your team about how to simplify work and learning which tasks and activities are the most meaningful—and which are not—could be the difference between staying competitive in the future. Discover what types of activities take up the most time and contribute the lowest value, and be open to making changes “We’ve always done it this way” is not a good enough reason to keep an outdated process.

Letting your team become more agile and responsible will also help improve decision making. Complex decision-making processes often slow down large organizations, making it harder to move quickly. When employees feel empowered to make decisions and have a sense of ownership, they become more engaged, get more done, and are more satisfied.

Lisa Bodell, a simplicity expert, best-selling author, and LinkedIn lecturer, offers a few more tips that anyone can use to help simplify their daily work.

  • If you email a person more than three times, it’s time to reach for your phone—sometimes a call will resolve issues faster and more effectively.
  • Meetings are a huge time-suck for employees. Consider changing your once-a-week meetings to twice a month instead.
  • Try and cut down your hour-long meetings to 30 minutes instead.
  • Create a company-wide DO NOT DISTURB signal to let people stay in the zone – it’s hard to get there and interruptions kill time.
  • Start your day by identifying two main tasks for the day and tackle them first.

Simplifying tasks can produce incredible payoffs for employees and organizations. Whether utilizing technology to assist in the process or simplifying the old-fashion way with discussions and shortened meetings, employees and employers benefit from learning how to simplify work.

Topic: Productivity

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