I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday break! Here in Portland we were blessed (some might choose other adjectives) with a white Christmas. Portland typically has a very temperate climate thanks to its proximity to the ocean, however this December we were inundated with snow. The winter blast provided the local kids with some reprieve from school and wreaked havoc on those last minute holiday shoppers who were trapped by the impassible roads.
For those of us lucky enough to return to work after new years, the calm and relaxation of vacation came to a grinding halt on Monday morning. What is different returning to work in 2009, as compared with last year, is the slowing economy. Many employees find themselves conflicted about their jobs. On the one hand they are grateful for gainful employment while on the other hand they are being stretched by increased workloads caused by companies downsizing their workforce or by freezing necessary employee hiring.
When you are being asked to increase your workload beyond what is reasonable to accomplish during the 8 hour work day, lots of things come to mind. Once the expletives subside, you can hear yourself asking “how do I work smarter, not harder?” Conceptually we all know what that means, but how would I do that? Sometimes it is truly difficult for a person who is trying to juggle numerous tasks, interruptions, emails, meetings, and more to step back and truly self-examine how to work smarter.
Some of the more popular recommendations for improving your productivity are to:
- Read email at scheduled times only. Be sure to close Outlook completely to avoid being interrupted each time a new email arrives.
- Keep detailed task lists indicating what needs completed today, this week, etc.
- Block out time on your calendar to work on larger tasks so you have uninterrupted time to make headway.
In addition to streamlining your schedule, there are ways to work smarter around the documents you create and consume on a daily basis. For example, how many times have you cringed when you realize the document you want to work on fell off Microsoft’s most recent list – What did I call that thing? Below are productivity benefits companies realize after implementing a quality document management system.
- Version Control – Eliminate needlessly comparing and merging documents with various extension names attempting to create a new master version of the document.
- Index Searches – Quickly retrieve documents by searching against indexed information including document type, due date, client name, and more.
- Approvals and Notifications – Automatically route documents for electronic review, digital approval, and digital signatures using a robust workflow engine.
- Scanning Paper Documents – Eliminate needless walks to and from as well as rifling through filing cabinets by having your paper documents digitally archived and accessible from every computer in the office.
These represent only a handful of the possible benefits derived by implementing an enterprise document management system. With the ever increasing demands being placed on employees, providing them the necessary tools to handle the workload will goes miles towards improving employee morale and allows resources to focus on your business’ core competency.