Using the wrong kit, having poor internet service provision and not utilising the latest available tech are all common hindrances to productivity in workplaces up and down the country, but it doesn’t have to be this way!

Here are my three top tips for making more of what you have, making shrewd savings where others may not, and improving both team & customer facing communications.

Businessman accessing the internet via laptop

1. Internet Speed

The quality of internet speeds provided to businesses varies all around the country but it seems the majority of UK businesses (72%) have something in common – they regularly experience periods of internet downtime during office hours!

This was highlighted in a study of the 2015/2016 financial year, a study which also showed that of the respondents who had suffered periods of downtime, it accumulated to a total of 43 hours across the year per business.

Thankfully there are a couple of things that can be done to help mitigate downtime;

  1. Know exactly what your ISP (internet service provider) should be delivering to you in terms of internet speed. Ofcom’s “Voluntary Code of Practice for Broadband Speeds” is being supported by 8 major ISPs and is designed to provide UK SMEs with more accurate information on what line speeds to expect from their ISP – use this to ensure you’re getting the best deal, test your speeds regularly and hold your provider to account if speeds are not as sold.
  2. Join a local, superfast broadband/fibre project. These projects provide entirely new fibre infrastructure to towns & cities across the country and is independent from traditional ISPs. Dozens of locations are now covered by the project so chances of being able to participate are good for many businesses.

Leased line servers

2. Network Setup

Once you’re on top of your internet speed, you then must ensure that you are using it in the most efficient way possible!

If your current arrangement requires team members to connect to the internet via WiFi you could stand to make significant improvements to speed and uptime by installing your own Wired Network where users can plug in directly to the internet supply.

As well as faster internet connection speeds Wired Networks also provide a greater level of security though admittedly you will have to put up with a few more cables around the place.

Fortunately networking equipment doesn’t have to be expensive thanks to a burgeoning industry in refurbished hardware products. Specialists like My Next Box can take your from Cable to Server and as well as saving money on your network setup you save on more unwanted tech hitting landfill sites!

Business team member using communication tools via laptop

3. FREE Tools

Everyone loves a free tool, especially ones which are genuinely useful in day-to-day situations but sometimes “free versions” get carefully hidden away, here are a few go tos you may not have seen.

HootSuite

Most businesses will have at least one social media profile though the majority will likely have multiple accounts and updating each of these accounts in turn can be time sapping.

Using a single tool to update all profiles in unison is a great way of saving time and the free version of HootSuite allows you to add up to 3 profiles which should cover the needs of most businesses.

Slack

Granted, the free version is only for small teams but Slack is an ideal tool for improving inter-team communications in a more fluid way than traditional email.

Hundreds of thousands of companies currently use Slack including 77% of Fortune 100 companies so surely worth a try for any SME.

Whilst not all suggestions may be practical to implement for everyone, doing just one will save valuable time for your business and allow staff to more efficiently carry out their daily tasks.