Over the course of your career, you’ll spend approximately 100,000 hours at the office—or 20 percent of your adult life. And according to a 2014 Gallup poll, only three in 10 employees in the United States feel engaged at work.
Successful leaders want to make sure their staff’s 20 percent is spent in a productive, fulfilling and enjoyable workplace that enriches the life of each employee as well as the experience of the company as a whole.
By using the workplace technology below, you can create a positive office environment where your employees value those 100,000 hours.
1. Cloud-Based File Sharing
Box, Dropbox, Google Drive
Shared drives are a useful tool for keeping all important company documents in one central repository.
But the files on a shared drive can only be opened on a computer connected to the server (which is inconvenient) and anyone with access to the drive can view every single document saved to it (which is a confidentiality risk).
Cloud-based file sharing software lets you set file permissions and allows employees to access documents from anywhere. This is helpful for staff who are working remotely and businesses with multiple offices.
2. Project Management Software
Basecamp, Mavenlink, Wrike
Trying to efficiently manage a long-term project via email is like trying to build a house with a foundation made of corn flakes: It’s just a bad idea.
Even if you try to keep all the correspondence in one thread, inevitably the emails will splinter and then everyone must dig through their inbox to find the one detail or file they need.
Project management software allows you to track the progress of tasks, locate requirements and updates and review important files all in one place. Everyone knows what’s on their plate and what’s in the pipeline so they can better manage their time.
3. To-Do List Software
Evernote, Trello, Wunderlist
To-do list software is great a way to give employees a visual representation of their workload. They can quickly prioritize assignments and feel more in control of their schedule, helping provide ease of mind. Plus, who doesn’t love the feeling of checking off a to-do?
And most platforms can be synced with smartphones, so your staff can manage their to-do’s even when they’re on the go.
Online to-do lists can also be shared, giving insight into what is on each person’s plate and helping to avoid overloaded schedules.
4. Chat Client
Hipchat, Skype, Google Hangouts
Instant messenger platforms give you the power to communicate with your colleagues, well, instantly.
True, sending an email is easy, but say an employee has an urgent question and his co-worker is the only person in the entire company who knows the answer and she isn’t at her desk and he doesn’t know her cell number and before you know it, everything is on fire.
Well, not really.
But if he’d been able to send an IM, his co-worker would have received it on her laptop or phone and responded immediately. Crisis averted.
5. Knowledge Management Software
Bloomfire, Crowdbase, Zoho Connect
Knowledge management software encourages collaboration and knowledge transfer by allowing employees to not only share procedural documentation but also interesting articles. They can post training manuals for new employees, the answers to client FAQs and helpful advice from industry blogs.
Staff members also can upload screencasts of process demonstrations which colleagues can then use as learning tools without having to schedule a live presentation.
And rather than inboxes being flooded with emails that might not be relevant, employees can view the portal on their own terms and access the particular data that matters to them.
Remember: An employee who enjoys their workplace is more likely to stick around, and it’s more expensive to hire new staff members than to take steps to keep the ones you have. Using these software solutions can help you avoid the headaches of interviewing, hiring and training someone new by showing your current employees how much you appreciate them.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.