The Fastest, Cheapest Way to Increase the Productivity of Everyone in Your Firm

When I was a SharePoint consultant at Microsoft my clients would often ask me about the best way to improve employee productivity and company efficiency. What I told them shocked them. You see, I didn’t plug the latest Microsoft product or sing the praises of the latest version of MS Office. Instead I let them into a secret that the financial sector have known for years, but the rest of the world is still catching up with. And it’s this simple: Add a second monitor to everyone’s PC.

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And by everyone, I mean everyone, because the people who can most benefit from this are often the ones in support roles. In law firms that means back office staff, legal secretaries, paralegals etc. who are busy researching, cutting and pasting and comparing drafts of documents.

Dual Monitor ROI

The Costs

In an ideal world everyone would have a dual head video card, but an external USB Video Adapter like this one works great as an alternative.

USB video adapter

Add to that a second monitor for each person and capital outlay is around £300 per head.

The Return

Studies show that depending on what you are doing, dual monitors increase productivity by between 9% and 50% with an average 20% productivity boost.

The Payback

So for someone on an average salary the capital investment would pay itself back in under a month. What other IT investment could possibly give you the same ROI?

How We Beat the Snow and Kept on Working

£1bn of productivity lost to bad weatherThis morning saw another couple of inches of snow dumped on us here in North Hampshire and an accident shut the main route into Reading.

According to The Times the cost to the economy in lost productivity is set to reach £2bn.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Simple low cost technology and modern working practices make it easy for employees of professional service companies to work from anywhere.

Here’s how we beat the snow and kept working as normal last week:

  • Staff get laptops, not desktop PCs as standard enabling them to work from home, client site… anywhere
  • Email accounts are accessible via browser, Blackberry, iPhone and of course Outlook from your laptop
  • Project documents are stored centrally in SharePoint and accessible anywhere you have an Internet connection
  • IM worked as a replacement for those ad-hoc office conversations: “Hey, can you remember where the expenses form is…?”
  • Meetings became web conferences complete with video and document sharing

It used to be that only the biggest FTSE-100 companies could afford this type of technology, but Cloud Computing now means that the cost has fallen drastically and it is now no longer about how big you are, but how agile you are.

Maybe the weather is a blessing and maybe, just maybe, things could be about to change