Time may be the world’s greatest commodity. As the saying goes, time is money. But as companies grow, staff get busier and people get more and more time-poor. Projects can start to slip, timelines and costs can increase, and maybe more importantly, stress and anxiety levels can skyrocket which is a big problem for businesses trying to operate effectively.
In 2017, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrated that, in most cases, spending money to save time led to greater happiness than spending money on a material purchase.
In the workplace, however, it’s not exactly feasible for employees to buy themselves out of work or outsource their tasks to other individuals. So, what to do when business owners, office managers, and employees need more time on their hands in order to reduce stress and help their bottom line?
This is when a productivity supercharge becomes necessary.
The Role of Office 365
Microsoft’s Office 365 has been widely adopted by business and organisations across Ireland and worldwide who utilise cloud services, boasting the largest number of users of any other cloud service (over 155 million, to be precise).
However, many of these users focus only on the most popular services provided by Office 365, remaining unaware of some lesser-known tools offered by this suite of apps which can completely transform the way they save time and function in the workplace.
What better way to begin increasing productivity than by better learning the applications you are already using rather than adopting entirely new, unfamiliar strategies?
6 Productivity Tools Often Overlooked
Outlook and Excel may be two of Office 365’s biggest hitters, but Office 365 is loaded with other programs and productivity tools that employees would do well to utilize if they’re hoping to accomplish more, while stocking up on saved time and learning how to improve productivity.
- Microsoft Forms
Managers, project leaders, and event organisers are only a few types of people who can find a good use for Microsoft Forms, a lesser-known feature included with Office 365 work and school accounts.
Business owners can use Forms to request information about client satisfaction, or they can create an in-office survey to improve the work environment and employee morale, or request holiday leave submissions. There’s a huge range of possibilities.
Form results can be viewed instantly via automatically generated visuals, or users may choose to export the responses to Excel for further analysis.
- Microsoft Invoicing
Anyone with an Office 365 Business Premium subscription has access to Invoicing on their desktop and mobile devices. Users can send estimates, create invoices, track payments and tax information, and utilise the Invoicing dashboard as a way to maintain a broad overview of their business.
Not only does Microsoft Invoicing make it simple to create clean, professional invoices, but customers will appreciate the flexibility of paying with either PayPal or their credit and debit cards via Microsoft Pay.
- Microsoft Teams
Organisations of all sizes will find immense value in Teams, available as both a free version and a more complete solution as a part of the Office 365 Business Premium subscription.
Teams is designed specifically to save time when collaborating with other employees, providing opportunities for group chats which eliminates the need for lengthy email conversations. For projects that need a visual touch, audio and video conferencing are available, too.
Plus, Teams allows for group collaboration in other Office 365 apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so you can work on the same files as your colleagues, wherever you are.
- Microsoft OneDrive
There’s nothing more frustrating than working from multiple desktops, all cluttered with files, particularly when multiple employees need access to the same documents. OneDrive offers an alternative to time-consuming, hefty amounts of file exchanging via email, helping to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
It’s as easy as right-clicking a file and clicking “share.” Photos, videos, and other file types are all fair game for upload, too!
- Microsoft Planner
Any business employee who’s an expert at saving time will know that the key to success lies in task management.
Communication and delegation within large teams can be a huge time sink, but Planner eliminates some of these problems by providing a platform to organise work, collaborate more effectively, assign tasks, set reminders, and maintain inter-team accountability.
Those who make use of Planner’s mobile application and email notifications will see even more significant boosts in their productivity.
- Microsoft MyAnalytics
The first step towards improving time management and increasing productivity comes largely from knowing oneself, which is exactly where MyAnalytics comes in. In some cases, employees may be initially unsuccessful at saving time, but MyAnalytics simplifies the task of finding problem areas within each workday.
Those who use MyAnalytics can learn how they spend time throughout their day, getting more insight into their productivity patterns and what can be improved. MyAnalytics will break down exactly how much time is spent in meetings, with high-volume collaborators, and even how much time is spent in email.
Time to Get Started!
Thanks to the wide assortment of Office 365 business solutions, employees can learn how to improve productivity in the workplace by simply taking advantage of a few tools they’re likely to already have at their disposal. That’s the power of fully utilising Office 365.