There is no doubt that technology can greatly improve productivity at your workplace by automating and managing tasks. But beware- the same technology can simply eat into your time if it is implemented incorrectly.

Everyone is talking about digital transformation today, but it is important for business leaders to remember that just buying the latest tech tools alone won’t improve workplace productivity. In fact, it might end up killing the productivity of your employees.

By jumping from one application to another over and over again, we don’t really get any work done. When our brain is forced to constantly switch gears, we have to essentially work harder only to get things done with a lower level of quality while also exhausting our mental resources.

Switching between tasks can have big repercussions. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, even if we spend only a few tenths of a second per switching, it can quickly add up to a large amount when we are repeatedly going back and forth between different tasks.

The American Psychological Association also describes three different types of multitasking:

1. Performing two tasks simultaneously: This can include talking to a client on the phone while replying to emails.

2. Switching between tasks without completing either of them: This is when you are in the middle of a task, and you are forced to switch gears and move to another task because of urgent demand.

3. Performing different tasks back to back without any breaks: While this may not seem like multitasking because you are handling one task at a time, but in reality, it is. You need to take small breaks between different tasks to give your mind some time to change gears and work efficiently.

While multitasking may seem efficient on the surface, it actually ends up taking more of your time and also increases the room for error. You can lose over 40 per cent of your total productive time when trying to multitask with different applications.

Though it is unrealistic for us to completely eradicate multitasking from our work, a better understanding of how it impacts productivity and decreased use of single-purpose applications can help mitigate the negative effects.

How to use technology to improve productivity

Organizations need to realize that just introducing the latest technological trends isn’t going to improve productivity. It is important to find the right technology that aligns with your organizational goals and employee expectations.

The business applications used within the company should be able to help employees perform their work in a better and faster way. Here are some ways you can use technology to improve productivity in the workplace:

1. Identify and segment complex tasks

Analyze the tasks within your organization to identify both simple and complex tasks. You can then break down complex tasks into simpler tasks to create a more distraction-free work environment for your employees. It helps because when you are performing a simple task, your mind is more focused and you are able to finish the tasks more quickly.

If you have complicated business processes in your company, you can convert that into structured workflows with sequential tasks and set deadlines for each task. This will allow employees to focus on one step of the process at a time which will, in turn, lead to higher productivity and efficiency.

2. Automate repetitive tasks

Employees often have to perform repetitive tasks everyday which can end up eating up a big chunk of their productive time. By automating repetitive and mundane tasks, you are able to give employees more time to focus on complex problem-solving activities. Automating tasks like approval requests and manual data entry help avoid human errors and increases productivity.

With automation, the chances of multi-tasking are also reduced because the employees have fewer tasks to perform in the same amount of time.

3. Decrease the number of applications you use at work

Using more applications at work does not lead to higher productivity. It can, in fact, kill productivity. With more applications than required, employees have to constantly go back and forth between different applications which can eat up a big chunk of their time.

Instead, organizations can use a single digital workplace platform to access all the required work tools without switching between applications. A digital workplace is a virtual replacement of the physical offices and it can include different devices, applications, and platforms that allow employees to successfully manage their work from wherever they are.

Technology can improve business productivity

Understanding the hidden costs of technology is crucial. When you introduce new technology in the workplace, you are not just investing your money into it, but also the time of your employees. If the technology has a longer learning curve, then it can take anywhere between months to years for you to see the real impact of that technology.

That is why, instead of just incorporating the newest technological trends, identify and analyze technologies that actually have the power of improving employee experience and productivity within your company.