By Rory Whelan

Productivity is a primary concern for small business owners to ensure they can make the most of their limited resources. It’s estimated that nine out of ten London SMEs are struggling with productivity. However, despite the influx of articles outlining specific steps that promise to make you more productive, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. This is a mentality that marketers use to get you to buy into their version of productivity. If your current efforts have been lacking, don’t fear — there is always another solution.

Some of the basic tips to improve your productivity — like getting enough sleep and prioritizing tasks — have been shared on our blog before. But how you manage these overarching concepts that link to a productive routine is entirely up to you.

Similarly, there are general behaviors you can use to keep your employees’ productivity in check, but how you record and monitor that behavior will differ depending on your management style.

This post will share different techniques and technologies you can add to your personalized productivity plan. Developing a tailored productivity plan will give your small business the best chance of success.

Shared Password Management

Does your business deal with heaps of data and countless admin tasks? A simple password management system, like LastPass or Dashlane, can be added as an extension on your browser to save you precious time. This type of system allows admins to share account passwords with employees across the company for easy business use.

Technology use and data protection have become more important, so passwords are often needed to remain compliant.  And with the shocking statistic that adults spend, on average, four years of their life trying to remember passwords, it’s enough to persuade you to implement it in your personal life, too.

Collaborative Project Management

A project management tool could arguably be utilized in any type of company. Project management has various business benefits, including giving your small business the competitive advantage. In the long run, project management can boost your business productivity and profits by opening up new opportunities and creating a united workforce. Shared project management solutions, like Trello or Teamwork, are great for small businesses taking on large-scale projects.

If the project requires a diverse task force, the system allows you to label each department to easily track progress across the company. This type of tool might be right for you if your company takes a fluid approach to work, but might not be as effective for regulated industries where, for example, finance is dealt with separately from marketing.

Virtual Call Management

Need to stay in touch on the go? This is the case for many businesses who do a lot of work “in the field”, such as property managers and event organizers. Using a virtual call management solution allows you to forget restrictive and old-fashioned landlines. Instead, you can take calls via a professional business number straight from your mobile phone to avoid a hefty backlog.

If you’re a customer-facing business, your customers want to speak to a human being, so voice interaction is important. But for small businesses, taking calls can be tough. A virtual landline is helpful as it can be controlled via a mobile application that allows you to schedule calls and transcribes voice messages for a contemporary customer service.

Industrial Automation for Manufacturing

Less interested in human interaction? Robots are here to give us a helping hand. If you work in the manufacturing industry, robotic automation can help increase productivity. As robots can work 24 hours a day without supervision, they trump human work rates, so that the rest of the world can catch up to Germany’s levels of productivity.

There are plenty of ways that businesses can introduce automation into their processes. Although automation is often approached carefully, regulated industries like financial services are giving it a go to speed up their operations and reduce bias.

Office Accessories for Concentration

Finally, new — but potentially controversial — prototypes are being developed with productivity in mind, such as Panasonic’s peripheral vision blinkers. The idea is to block out a user’s peripheral vision so that individuals do not get distracted in open-plan offices. This particular product also features noise-cancelling headphones for total concentration. We’re not sure if this idea is going to catch on, but it does show how far we are willing to go in order to power our productivity. Only time will tell what new products businesses will trial in their quest for a more efficient workforce.

Panasonic’s device has been named Wear Space, which supposedly gives the wearer a sense of personal space from the instant they put them on. If your personal preference is to block everything out or work remotely to get things done, then it might be worth adding a similar device to your personal productivity plan.