Employee vs. Technology: Does Tech Really Help Our Productivity?
IT knows its fair share of tech pet peeves, especially when it comes to helping coworkers troubleshoot their tech problems. Here’s to all of us who forget how to reset their passwords every quarter and need IT’s help. But it isn’t exactly a picnic for employees either. Through some very unscientific research (i.e. we talked to all the employed people in our lives), we’ve uncovered some of the most convenience-killing, productivity-busting challenges that employees are up against today (we’re looking at you, Becky). Feel their pain to find solutions that make life better — for both IT and mere mortals.
- Too many passwords on the brain. There’s security, and there’s convenience. The two don’t always converge in the land of password management. Whether it’s remembering how to access the plethora of systems required to do their job or changing their system password by the deadline before they get locked out of their computer, password management is a problem for employees. You’re supposed to create ironclad passwords, remember them because you can’t write them down, avoid repeating passwords for multiple logins, and make up for lost productivity when you go through the, “forgot password” process. Here’s one employee’s password suggestion: !#Eye@$GIVE%^up_.
- Communication channels galore. Communication is a good thing – no, a great thing. But having too many communication channels without standardization or processes around how to use them leads to communication breakdowns. Employees are left wondering, “Do I post this on Slack, Basecamp, or Asana?” “Do I email directly or cc all?” “Do I submit a ticket for this?” “Do I do all of the above?” If doing the actual work is half the battle, figuring out how to communicate it out is easily the other half.
- So many print jobs, so little time. It always happens. We need to print out something before our 3:00 meeting, but the printer queue is filled with unclaimed documents. You spend the 20 minutes you had allotted preparing for your meeting cleaning out the queue. Now, now it’s my turn – but alas, no more paper. Have no fear – there’s paper in the cabinet. Paper jam!! I give up. Save a tree, stop using printers, you think.
- Dealing with the reality of remote working. Remote collaboration has changed the face of business, and employees appreciate the flexibility it offers. But it’s certainly not without its tech challenges. There are almost always issues with dial-ins, which are mostly user error (“We’re still waiting for everyone to join.”), audio quality (“Do you hear that echo?”), and people talking over each other (“I missed that. Will you repeat?”). But because remote collaboration is closing the distance gap and opening opportunities for businesses and employees, we brush these annoyances aside as a cost of doing business remotely, but the friction can still result in loss of productivity (even when the tech is perfect, remote meetings never seem to start on time)
- Where, oh where has my work file gone? Accessing documents from various devices and locations is a hassle, plain and simple. You must be on the VPN to access files on the server. You must have permission to view files on SharePoint, and if you don’t have permission you need to bug the person who owns the document to give it to you. Maybe you get locked out of a file sharing system because you’re away from your mobile that acts as a multi-factor device. Or, a file migration has rendered all existing file links invalid. Unfortunately, the list goes on, and animosity for the file system builds in the hearts of employees, forcing them to look for other methods that may not be “sanctioned” by IT.
- Size does matter, when it comes to emails anyway. An employee spends a lot of time on creating a presentation file and sends it on its merry way, only to find out that the file size exceeds acceptable sharing limits. What are those limits anyway? The truth is no one really knows until they get that bounce-back message. Now the employee has to figure out a way to shrink the file or send it out via another channel that is likely unsanctioned.
- Mac vs. PC: Dawn of Justice. It’s like Batman v Superman. You’re on one side or the other. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of tech solutions are created. Some things work great on a PC but falter on a Mac. Some things are more user-friendly on a Mac but more feature-rich on a PC. Why can’t we all just get along?
So that’s what’s currently bugging corporate Earth. The good news is that there are emerging technologies that can solve many of these annoyances and balance the needs of IT and employees. What does your company need to implement to create great experiences all around?