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Practicing Productivity to Empower the Workforce

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The start of a new year often brings with it a renewed commitment to organizing, rethinking, and restructuring life and work.

The E-Commerce Times spoke with productivity experts to get their perspective on apps, platforms, and techniques that help organizations and individuals become more efficient. "Productivity apps have changed the way businesses work and are enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency across the board," Zeb Evans, CEO of ClickUp, told the E-Commerce Times.

"This trend has certainly been spurred by the transition to remote work, but it was something we were already seeing in the years before as well.

"By aligning all work within one tool, businesses have begun to understand the power of creating better alignment across their entire organization and visibility into projects, processes and progress, and by moving these operations into digital platforms, it is opening up new flexibility in the workplace."

Choosing a System

Finding the right productivity system means understanding one's situation, goals, and needs -- and then using that system consistently until it starts to have beneficial results.

"No productivity tool will automatically increase your productivity if you don't use it correctly," Amir Salihefendić, founder and CEO of productivity software company Doist, explained to the E-Commerce Times. "And everyone is different, so what works for one person does not apply to everyone." In order to help people come up with a productivity system that works for them, Doist has designed a quiz that analyzes an individual's particular preferences in order to recommend particular techniques. "The results provide clarity into which productivity method works best for you based on your unique strengths, challenges and goals, and then offers helpful information and tips to better suit your working style," Salihefendić explained to the E-Commerce Times.

It Enhances The Gaming Experience. It is difficult to talk about virtual reality without discussing the use of video game technology in it. The gaming world has fully embraced virtual reality and all of its elements. There are now some games that are designed specifically for virtual reality. In some of these cases, gaming companies would produce special props that gamers can use along with their virtual reality headset. For some gamers, virtual reality has enhanced their love of playing.

Time Management Tools

Apps and platforms can be used to boost the productivity of individuals within a company -- thus boosting the efficiency of a company as a whole.

"We built a platform that brings all elements of work into one place that works for all people and all teams within an organization," said Evans. "Unlike other productivity tools that are opinionated about how people work and only work for specific teams or use cases, ClickUp is a fully-customizable productivity platform that replaces all other workplace apps across an organization and provides users with everything from project management to chat, docs, time management, wikis, goals and OKRs, and dashboards; and enables them to work how they want to work while getting rid of wasted time going back and forth between tools," he asserted. Time management is, in fact, a key component of most systems aimed at improving productivity.

"A successful productivity app should save you time," Evans added. "The app needs to allow all people and all teams within an organization to work in the way that is most effective for them, in order to do this. Finally, a productivity app should also obviously be reliable, since it serves a critical function in the life of a business and its projects."

Improved productivity at work can, ideally, help employees achieve a better balance between work and life -- thus helping a business itself to succeed.

"If your employees complete their work on time, they have better work/life balance and the brain space to think through other challenges outside their regular responsibilities," explained Salihefendić. "This increases output and saves your company money. If your team is productive and dedicated to their work, both the quality and quantity of their work will improve."

Lead by Example

Often, experts say, effective productivity practices within a company start at the top and filter down into the organization's overall culture. It's important, therefore, for business leaders to take their own productivity and time management skills seriously.

"First and foremost, the best way to increase productivity around the office is to model good behavior by showing effective project and time management in action," Joshua Zerkel, head of global engagement marketing at Asana, and certified professional organizer, explained to the E-Commerce Times. "To achieve real productivity, businesses need to define what matters, remove distractions, and empower employees to do their best work."

Having clear goals, too, is a vital component of any productivity practice.

"For businesses looking to increase productivity, and ultimately overall business performance, it's important to create a well-defined set of goals that can be communicated from a ladder-up perspective," said Zerkel.

Oculus VR is a company that launched a Kickstarter project to release virtual reality goggles in the 2010s. Their goggles brought a lot of interest to virtual reality after many years of not a lot of interest by industry or consumers.

"Once expectations have been outlined, creating a subset of shorter-term goals helps provide a firm foundation, allowing managers to provide a clear vision for what tasks align with company-wide goals. This will, in turn, empower individuals to make informed decisions about what they need to prioritize based on what's going to really move the needle."

Future of Productivity

In the contemporary world, individuals and businesses alike are striving to make work -- and particularly remote work -- more productive and sustainable.

"The future of the productivity space is one of further consolidation and customization," said ClickUp's Evans. "More and more teams are adopting these tools in the wake of remote work, and this trend will only continue as the future of work moves towards a flexible home and office situation.

"As teams leverage more digital tools to stay aligned, it will be crucial that these tools provide more and more features in one place, so users don't have to manage multiple tools and waste time going back and forth managing all their work."

Ultimately, the productivity lessons of working remotely will have implications for working in an office, as well.

"While I think remote work is the future, I believe that asynchronous communication is an even more important factor in team productivity, whether your team is remote or not," said Salihefendić.

"With all the distractions and pings from tools today, it can feel impossible to get your best work done. People spend so much time inside meetings or email. Not only does async produce the best work results, it also lets people do more meaningful work and live freer, more fulfilled lives.

"We know that we are challenging the status quo, and that calm, asynchronous communication isn't the current norm. The pandemic has amplified working remotely, so perhaps, this is the paradigm shift needed to change things," he remarked.

New Year, New Opportunities

Each year -- and perhaps most especially this one -- brings with it the opportunity to evaluate what's worked, what hasn't, and what to do next.

"Thanks to rapid adoption of cloud-based, best-in-breed tools in the past decade, the modern workplace offers more ways than ever before to collaborate and create," said Zerkel.

Most People Haven't Tried It Yet. Virtual reality keeps growing in popularity. One study found that only one in three people in the United States have actually tried virtual reality. That means that there is still more room for acceptance among consumers in the country. On a positive note, nearly 90 percent of people were aware of virtual reality, which also means that many people have a basic understanding of the technology, even though they have not yet experienced it in person. The future is bright for the industry.

"As we enter 2021, it will be essential that companies address remote work issues by adopting clear processes on how work gets done, so they can thrive in the year ahead and come out more resilient and aligned than before."

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