In my experience working with various clients on different creative projects, I’ve found that there are three important factors that impact the productivity of employees: first, having the right tools; second, collaborating effectively with others; and third, understanding the purpose of your work. It might not be as easy as getting a new shovel, but believe me, the boost in productivity is well worth the effort.

1. Facilitate responsiveness by having the right tools.

The dynamic, multidisciplinary nature of the modern workplace requires that workers have several options for tools at their disposal to solve a problem. A multiplicity of options also creates the ability to quickly pivot to new opportunities and adapt to new requirements as they emerge — because, after all, the quicker you can change a process, the quicker you can solve a customer’s problems.

This means that, unlike the good old days of one tool per assembly line, today’s modern workers need versatile tools that can be configured to meet the specific task at hand. This not only boosts productivity but also makes for a more positive work experience, as it reduces frustration and increases the satisfying sense of mastery and accomplishment.

2. Enable integration through collaboration.

Digital technology allows — and indeed requires — us to be in frequent communication with coworkers, partners, and clients. Teams work most effectively when they can seamlessly collaborate on multiple tools across various platforms, reviewing all possible options and taking in all parts of a problem at once. Through this collaborative approach, they’re best able to generate successful solutions and deliver those solutions to the customer.

To enable this type of collaboration, a team needs to have a few essential elements: clear leadership, a shared vision, and regular encouragement on how to proceed. There also needs to be a balance of autonomy and integration, so that each team member feels empowered to make their own decisions while also working in close cooperation with different team members and departments.

3. Drive engagement through purpose-driven work.

If you don’t feel invested in the end goal of your work, it’s impossible to give it your all. On the flipside, purpose-driven work provides motivation, enthusiasm, and energy for all involved. The principle is simple, but often overlooked: if an employee knows why they’re performing a particular task, as well as the potential impact it may have, they will be more engaged with their work. Makes intuitive sense, right? 

This engagement, in turn, pushes people to tap into their full potential. They want to do the best they can, because they see the work they’re doing as playing a larger role in shaping the future of their company, or technology, or the world as a whole. Suddenly, it’s not just about finishing a spreadsheet — it’s about changing lives. Becoming aware of the bigger picture can create a connection between the worker, managers, leaders, and customers themselves, building a highly efficient system in which productivity and worker satisfaction remain high.

Increasing the productivity of an individual, team, or organization isn’t as simple as it once was, but with new standards of efficiency and output, it’s more important than ever. To meet these new standards and find success, organizations need to streamline their employees’ work processes by giving them the right tools. These new digital tools may require more configuration and training — meeting the specific needs of your team and customers is essential — but the end result will be the same: dramatically increased output and higher worker satisfaction. 

Though it can feel complicated at times, it’s important to remember that your goal is a simple one: To remove obstacles that are impeding your users from doing what they should be doing.

After all, our natural drive is to do things in the easiest and most efficient way possible, but a lack of the proper tools, or adequate understanding of how to use those tools, can prevent us from doing so. Your job is simply to give workers the right tools, empower them to use those tools correctly, and then let the virtual assembly line unlock your untapped productivity.

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