It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular resolutions in the New Year is to be more productive. The beginning of the year is a great time to turn a new leaf and start with a blank slate. People are more motivated than ever to stay the course and accomplish their goals.
As a leader and manager, this is a prime opportunity for you to use such motivation and direct it toward workplace goals. An easy way to do that is to educate your employees about digital tools and resources, such as browser extensions, which can help them be more productive during the workday.
1. Social Media
It’s been said that the average adult spends six hours a day online. For those who work in front of a computer in the office space, it may very well be more. This can harm productivity, considering two thirds of employees admit to doing non-work-related activities online at some point during the day. The biggest culprits for this? Social media.
There are different ways to handle the social media obsession in the workplace. Some office spaces will do away with it altogether, barring Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from computers to keep employees focused and on track. But there are extensions that can help you with this issue as well, such as Work Mode. When it’s crunch time, employees can activate the icon right from their browser, and it will automatically block all social media as well as any other websites that have been added to its system. It’s a great way to help your employees have a one-track mind while on the clock.
The extension Stay Focusd also allows you to quarantine websites of your choice where you know you waste time. You can even set a pre-allotted limit for how long you spend on those website each day. After that, Stay Focusd shuts you out. The extension Toggl Button can also help you figure out which websites you’re wasting the most time on in the first place.
Social media isn’t the only time-waster in the workplace. One of the biggest sources of lost hours come from our own email inboxes. Did you know that, according to a study conducted by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois in partnerships with Microsoft Research, it takes fifteen minutes to get your focus back after responding to an incoming email?
How frequently do your employees actually need to be checking their emails? Obviously, if you work in a fast-paced environment with constant deadlines and interaction with clients, your email inbox might see more use. However, if your workplace is more project-based and not so much customer-facing, your employees might be able to get away with checking their emails only 1-3 times a day.
Whatever the case, an extension like Snooze Email can be a big help. When you click ‘snooze’ on an incoming message, Google will fling it away like a boomerang and it won’t come back to you until a time that you deem reasonable. Meanwhile, the extension Inbox When Ready allows you to batch process your emails instead of dealing with them as-and-when.
You can’t have effective teamwork without collaboration. These days, the sky’s the limit when it comes to tools and resources that can help your employees communicate more effectively as they work on projects and other tasks together.
For instance, Ziteboard is a realtime whiteboard for shared teamwork collaboration. It offers vector design, sketch drawings, shape recognition, tutoring, and meeting tools. Meanwhile, Screenr allows you to capture screenshots for you to annotate and share with your team – all from a side panel within Chrome. And Hiver enables collaboration on shared email accounts through notes, labels, and assigned tasks.
Why are such tools so important? A Standford University found that participants encouraged to work together persisted longer on a challenging task, enjoyed tasks more, and performed better. And according to a CEB survey, employees in teams that share knowledge are 2.5 times more likely to be encouraged to come up with new and better ways of working – not a bad mindset to have in the workplace!
If you want to equip your team with the latest tools in the industry to help them excel in their work and be more productive than ever, it’s definitely worth sharing some of the digital resources such as apps and extensions that can do just that. The Chrome extensions listed above in particular are great ones to look into. Which one will you introduce to your employees this week?