Working from home has not only changed the way we interact with our colleagues – but it’s also changed many of our attitudes to what constitutes hard work. It’s time to think about working smarter rather than working harder.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns in 2020 and beyond, working harder was often associated with working longer hours, staying in the office until well past the working day cut off, and pushing through coffee and lunch breaks to get tasks done ahead of schedule. However, when our working lives were intrinsically linked together with our home lives, and professionals suddenly had to balance their work time with family life and homeschooling, those “working harder” indications shifted and became less important – and less feasible.
This article uncovers the truth about working harder, how working SMARTER is a better solution, and how technology can support us in ensuring that the work we do is completed efficiently and effectively.
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What does it mean to work harder?
Does anyone really like being told that they have to work harder? Working harder often means more stress, less free time, and more pressure – all things which are proven to be negative for our mental health and which are certainly not conducive to the retention of a happy and motivated team. Whatsmore, with a clear productivity gap in the UK, does just working more hours equal adding more value, we don’t think so.
What does it mean to work smarter?
Working smarter means that your work time is more productive, more efficient, and more effective – in turn leading to more success both personally and for the business.
A great example of working smarter is the concept of virtual meetings. Not only have companies all over the world proved that remote meetings are perfectly possible, but they have also seen huge savings with regards to time, by ending the need for colleagues to travel to a single destination which then has to be paid for / hired. That’s not to say that virtual meetings don’t create their own challenges, as Caption.Ed looked at recently, but on balance, the benefits outweigh the costs.
In essence, working smarter means finding the right balance. In the world of business, no matter how big or small your business may be, working smarter will save both expense and valuable time, allowing your employees and colleagues to channel their time into the work which matters rather than spending big chunks of their day travelling or typing up notes taken from a team meeting.
The technology designed to help
With the rise of working remotely and the ever growing need to deliver more, there are some great technology solutions available to help.
Zoom and other video conferencing platforms
One of the most obvious examples of technology that helps us work smarter is Zoom and other video conferencing technology, enabling individuals from all over the world to log in to a single video conferencing platform and communicate openly. The introduction of screen sharing, and other supporting functions, makes these meetings all the more efficient and productive and supports the idea of working smarter by letting colleagues log into a team meeting from home – cutting travel time and additional expense.
Captioning software which adds captions to both pre-recorded and live stream videos and meetings has been proven to increase comprehension and recall and allows users to work smarter when consuming video content. Caption.Ed is designed to bring the most popular communication platforms to life as well as generic videos, adding captions to everything from Zoom to Teams, Skype, and e-learning tools.
This is one of the most popular online tools which can be downloaded onto devices and used to support the creation of everything from emails to longer pieces of content. Grammarly does what it says on the tin – it checks and corrects your grammar as you type, ensuring that every piece of communication sent is of a high quality and makes sense.
TalkType – the dictation software which is built for Mac – allows you to control your device and jot down your thoughts using just your voice. We tend to find that dictating results is three times more productive than having to write notes, with professionals often forgetting what their own short-hand notes mean when they return to them in the future. Being able to dictate not only saves you time but also ensures that all those moments of inspiration are captured in software which can’t be thrown away or scribbled over accidentally. Talk Type also provides remote voice control over your device, which can be particularly beneficial to those with barriers created by various disabilities and ceases the need for notes to be taken during every meeting – as the software does it all for you!
Online Delivery Apps
The takeaway and delivery app industry has boomed during the lockdown, with more cafes and eateries than ever registering to be listed on home delivery apps such as Deliveroo. A great example of the hospitality industry working smarter to find ways of serving their customers who can’t step through the doors, AND a top example of at-home professionals working smarter to get their coffee fix from home.
But it’s not all about tech…
While working smarter through the use of technology can provide significant benefits, it’s also essential to know when to switch off and take a break. Simply stopping, going for a walk, seeing a friend (socially distanced of course) or reading a book can give you the headspace needed to clear your thoughts and focus on what matters the most when back at work.
The pandemic has inspired a multitude of new solutions to issues that became more obvious as we spent more time working and learning at home. From online education tools to the rise of the virtual communication platforms, technology has propped endless business operations up and kept us moving through more than a year of remote working. However, for many of these technology solutions, lockdown has been a mere starting point to help people to work smarter and more effectively, with all of the above solutions set to continue to grow long after we return to offices.
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