The end of 2020 means that — potentially — the worst may be behind us. With multiple vaccines set to launch in early and mid-2021, we’re likely to see returning consumer confidence and the end of lockdown measures.
However, most businesses will probably face a slow return of workers to the office. Some of your team may be back to working in-person, while others will clock in from home.
These productivity enhancements are some of the best investments you can make to help your team stay on top of their work as we move into a potentially challenging new year.
1. Remote Work Tools and Cloud Collaboration Technology
By all accounts, remote work is likely to stick around well after the end of pandemic lockdown. In the U.S., research indicates the number of permanently remote workers may as much as double in 2021. This is due to changing employee preferences and productivity growth seen during the shift to remote work in 2020.
If you have some team members working remotely right now, some of them may want to continue working from home — even once it’s perfectly safe to come back into the office. As a result, it’s more important than ever to invest in technology that helps your remote and office teams coordinate and collaborate.
For example, the right cloud storage solution ensures your team can always access important business resources — like files or apps — no matter where they are.
Similarly, investing in videoconferencing tech — if you haven’t already — can help facilitate communication between WFH team members and those who end up returning to the office.
2. Improved Office Lighting
With everyone out of the office, now is one of the best times to make major upgrades.
For example, human-centric lighting uses adaptive LEDs to emulate the feel of natural daytime lighting. These lights have been shown to boost productivity and improve the mood of employees in some cases.
In a home office, artificial lighting that’s too bright at night and too dim during the day can sometimes disrupt a worker’s circadian rhythm. Adaptive lighting can help employees stay in sync, even if they’re working on an unusual schedule.
3. Benefits and Perks
Offering monetary or nonmonetary perks and benefits — anything from child care to fitness benefits to catered lunches — can help employees feel like you’re looking out for their mental and physical health. Often, these perks will help improve employees’ moods — and boost productivity.
4. AI Support
As a result of growing investment in the sector, artificial intelligence is becoming one of the best investments for companies that want to increase their productivity.
The tech isn’t used to replace workers — instead, it helps them work more efficiently. Available tools include things like AI chatbots that handle simple requests for service agents. Business intelligence tools can use AI-powered natural language processing to turn plain English questions into usable data and graphics.
5. Business Automation
Simpler tech can also go a long way in boosting productivity.
With the right tools and software, you and your team can automate repetitive tasks — like scheduling events, sending out tracking information or organizing files.
Even if you don’t need cutting-edge AI tech, business automation tools can still be an excellent investment.
6. A Mobile-Friendly Office
The ever-growing popularity of mobile devices means that almost all your employees likely bring their smartphones to work.
Over the past few years, business owners have started to view these devices less as a potential distraction and more as a valuable tool that your employees could take advantage of while at work.
A growing number of businesses are implementing “bring-your-own-device” policies in their offices, encouraging employees to integrate their phones into their workflows.
In the office, cellphones can help improve communication, simplify file access and improve collaboration. The right set of policies can ensure productivity improvements without the risk of creating new distractions or eroding work-life balance.
These Enhancements Can Boost Your Team Productivity in 2021
It’s likely that, by the second quarter, things will look a lot closer to normal. Consumers may have already returned to shopping in stores, and some remote workers may be back in the office.
If you want your business to keep up with the competition next year, you’ll need to prepare for greater demand and different working conditions. These productivity enhancements will be some of the best to make in 2021. Upgrading your office lighting, investing in new tech and offering expanded perks to your employees are all great ways to improve team happiness and potentially boost productivity.
About the Author
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
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