This is a blog post by Jennifer Williams
A twenty-first century office using pen and paper for anything business-related is the equivalent of a twentieth century office using parchment and quills. While your excessively old-school techniques may serve a purpose, not the least of which is giving people a sense of nostalgia when they come to the office, more modern methods are important for driving your business forward. Here are six ideas to bring your ancient office effectively into the modern age.
1. Make your email work for you.
Email was invented in 1975, and if you’re still doing nothing more than sending and receiving information with it, you haven’t taken advantage of four decades of progress. Modern email systems allow for labeling, filtering, offline access, the use of templates, and so forth. Make sure it’s set up specifically for you, to make finding emails and sorting quick and easy.
2. Synchronize company schedules.
Whether you’re using free solutions like Google Apps, or more advanced alternatives, you should be able to synchronize your company calendars. This allows people to schedule for themselves and other people with less headache, hassle, and conflict. You can even use websites like Tungle.me to coordinate schedules and have a calendar everyone in the office can view and schedule on with you.
3. Collaborate in the cloud.
If you’re going to do anything that requires any collaboration at all, do it in the cloud. Cloud computing solutions, including software as a service and platform as a service, allow multiple users to access the same data in real-time. It’s also incredibly stable to use and has a far lower maintenance cost than keeping up your own systems. Everything from content management to sales resources to documents and more should be kept in the cloud when possible.
4. Store everything in shared space.
It’s traditional enough to store files on personal computers at the office, however, the digital era brings the solution of cloud storage. If you store files, documents, and information in the cloud instead of on computers, you gain many advantages. Some of them include:
- A safeguard against computer failure.
- Faster sharing for team projects.
- Easy access from alternate computers or work stations, including while on the road.
Additionally, this form of storage secures your company should a terminated employee decide he or she hates you. Since their vital files and work will be in the cloud, it’s difficult for them to cause too much damage.
5. Go VoIP
Modern phone solutions can cut the costs of your in-office and client contact resources. Additionally, accompanying software can add a multitude of new functions, including video calls, integrated instant messaging, and file sharing.
6. Enable telecommuting
With solutions like Skype to stay on video, GoToMeetings to enable screen sharing, instant messaging, web-based CRMs, and much more, telecommuting is a very real possibility. Employees save on gas money and gain an increased sense of autonomy, and your company gets a lower overhead cost. While it’s not ideal for every business, many industries can benefit from at least some departments moving to a two-minute commute.
Every field is different, and technology is more important for some groups than it is for others. However, there is no industry that can’t use at least some of these solutions. So blow the dust off of your business framework, put away your parchment, and step into the glorious new century.
About the author
Jennifer Williams is a writer, turned traveler, turned blogger, who likes to share what she’s learning about technology, business and social media with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter – @jkwilliams82 or find her writing occasionally on Techsplosive.
Image by Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons