work | December 11, 2012

Alex Samuel In HBR: 6 Things To "Get Over" To Improve Your Productivity

While quickly passing information to and from employees and clients is vital to a organization's success, Alex Samuel argues that many companies are not doing so effectively. In a new article in the Harvard Business Review, the social media expert at Vancouver-based research and technology solutions company Vision Critical provides six tips for using social media tools to save time and energy on daily tasks and increase productivity:

1) Get Over The Inbox: Since email provides the ability for constant communication, many companies are now noticing that they are spending too much time reading and replying to emails. Samuel says we must "move beyond the 'answer everything' imperative," decide which messages even deserve a response, and prioritize how fast that response needs to be.

2) Get Over Link Sharing: Samuel says employees need to find more effective ways to shared linked content with other members in the team. While the most common way to share a link with a coworker is through email, she says this attributes to an already overloaded inbox and suggests using social tools such as Evernote, which acts a virtual notebook, for employees to share links with their team members. If your shared content is mainly visual, she suggests setting up a Pinterest board for employees to share content.

3) Get Over Life On The Road: Avoid sending employees on long road trips which can be exhausting and are often not necessary. While it is beneficial to gain and maintain contacts from across the globe, social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter make finding new contacts easy, and Google+ Hangouts and Skype allow you to maintain those relationships without having to get on a plane. While sometimes an in-person meeting may be necessary, these tools allow you to minimize the time employees spend traveling.

4) Get Over Track Changes: Make use of programs like Google Docs and Etherpad to work on documents that require constant updating and input by multiple employees to save time.

5) Get Over Your Intranet:
"Give up the futile mission of forcing employees onto your overpriced internal platform, and look at the social tools they are actually using: then figure out how to stitch those together into a toolkit employees will actually use," Samuel recommends.

6) Get Over Your Firewall: "Your enterprise I.T. team may be the biggest obstacle to implementing any of these innovation-enhancing changes, since many social web applications by definition live on the cloud and outside your firewall," Samuel explains. Although she says there may be a very valid case for protecting all of your data within a firewall, she suggests challenging your I.T. team to decide whether that is true for your organization. See if there is a compromise that can be made to use the social tools that are of benefit to you without risking the security of your company's information.