Tools such as Office 365 and SharePoint have increased office productivity, but some companies are looking beyond office software tools to get the most out of their workers.
Where and when people work
In the traditional office, a worker is allocated a desk or they may have their own separate office. Many businesses have stopped this and introduced ‘hot-desking’, where if a desk is free, any worker can use it. Some offices don’t even insist on working at a desk, meaning workers can be found in lounges, coffee shops, outside on warm days or working from home.
The traditional office has opening hours, historically from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Some people work longer, or like to adjust their hours to accommodate their lifestyle and other duties, such as starting a little later to give them more time for the morning school run.
Office 365 and SharePoint can make the model of fixed or long working hours and working location obsolete. Microsoft's tools make it easier for managers to judge employees by how much they achieve, rather than when and how they work. With laptops, tablets and smartphones, Microsoft makes it easy to work from anywhere. Workers do not even have to be in the same country to share and collaborate, since Skype for Business facilitates holding team meetings with people located in different places.
Biophilia and mindfulness
Designers and architects are looking at how the environment of the office building can affect productivity. Biophilia design is an expression of this. It is built on the idea that humans need to connect with nature. Workers glued to screens all day are immersed in a digital world and this, so the supporters of biophilia say, is unlikely to be good for them. By adding natural elements like wood features, plants, and trees into office buildings, workers can reconnect with nature.
If there is a garden either outside of or on the rooftop of the office building, workers should be encouraged to take regular breaks to relax in a natural environment.
Google also has its own approach to workers wellbeing, with the California tech giant teaching mindfulness and providing meditation and relaxation spaces in their buildings.
Beyond office tools
At WM Reply, we advise businesses on the best use of tools such as Office 365 and SharePoint, which can make a marked difference to productivity and the overall efficiency of a business.
Research has shown that productivity is more than the tools that are used. By restructuring the office environment and listening to how workers actually prefer to work, the wellbeing of workers can be increased. Stressed and overtired workers fail to concentrate fully and production suffers. Workers that are happy and less stressed will tend to work better.
Microsoft's business tools can increase workers’ efficiency and cut down on stress by helping workers locate documents quickly and providing flexible tools that adapt to the way different people work.
By taking a holistic approach that integrates business applications with flexible working practices, worker productivity can be increased. Feel free to talk to us WM Reply about the best office tools, and consider information from elsewhere on biophilia and mindfulness.