Time-saving HR technology

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We've rounded up the best time-saving HR tools for you and your teams

HR magazine’s Reclaim Your Time survey last year found that 68% of people, HR professionals included, said delivering KPIs related to their job was important to their company’s overall productivity, but only 17% said they spent a lot of time on this. That doesn’t seem very sensible to us, so we take a look at some top time-saving tech that every busy HR professional should be using, and rolling out to the wider workforce…

File sharing

Why it’s essential

The combination of an increasingly digital work environment and the growth in remote working has made cloud-based file sharing an essential tool for modern businesses. File sharing makes it easy for information workers to securely access and work on documents at the same time, irrespective of their geographic location. As all files are synced and stored in one space it’s easy to stay organised. Productivity is enhanced; the hours once wasted searching email inboxes for multiple versions of attached documents should become a thing of the past.

Apps to look out for

Dropbox and Google Drive are among the most popular but there are many more in this burgeoning market such as ShareFile, Huddle and Hightail.

How easy to roll out?

As the tools are cloud-based they are extremely easy to roll out across organisations. Tools are a mixture of free and paid-for and this typically depends on usage and also whether it’s an enterprise version of the app or not. Some departments may have heavier usage demands so this will need monitoring.

Email management

Why it’s essential

It is estimated that more than one quarter of an average worker’s day is spent checking and responding to emails. Surveys identify this as the second most time-consuming activity in the workplace. Despite some strong arguments for email’s replacement it’s unlikely to be supplanted any time soon, so anything that helps workers manage their inboxes more efficiently is a must-have. Email management tools perform a range of functions such as moving unimportant emails to separate folders, informing users when they haven’t responded to an important message, as well as making it easy to unsubscribe from newsletters.

Apps to look out for

Aqua Mail, Taskbox, Mailbox, Boxer, Sanebox

How easy to roll out?

Technically relatively straightforward as most run across major email packages such as Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. But be mindful that email is an extremely personal thing and what might appeal to one individual user’s habits and needs won’t suit another.

Online task management/workflow

Why it’s essential

The rise of dispersed teams along with the emergence of more collaborative ways of working across locations is a positive, but this can complicate work flows and allocation of tasks. Online task management tools resolve many of these issues by making it easier to keep a handle on who’s involved, when and how, what it’s costing and also help to advance if not accelerate workflow. An ability to create to-do lists, schedule activity, prioritise, set deadlines and see overviews are among typical features. But the real benefit of these tools is that they provide transparency and accountability of processes and mean that managers are not reliant on being updated by team members. Some allow workers to communicate from within the application or integrate with email, which saves further time.

Apps to look out for

Lighthouse, Basecamp, Asana, Wrike, Producteev

How easy to roll out?

Once again there’s a mixture of free and paid-for packages available, and this will depend on feature set and usage.

Time management/tracking

Why it’s essential

Good time management has a vital part to play in the workplace. Yet despite being a straightforward idea, many struggle to improve their time management practices. But an array of time management apps designed to help workers stay focused, maximise their effectiveness and ultimately spend less time at the office could be the answer. Most of them operate by time-blocking tasks, prioritising activities, or tracking minutes, with the overall aim of making people more time-efficient and productive by analysing their daily habits. Many also offer the capability to generate customisable reports to show how individuals and teams spend the working day.

Apps to look out for

Atracker, Daily Agenda, Esper, Eternity Time Log, Timelyapp, Toggl

How easy to roll out?

The more team-oriented apps such as Toggl will easily roll out to groups of people. But be mindful that employees may be wary of being encouraged to use a tool that could make it transparent precisely when they’re not being productive.

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