For most individuals, work is no longer a place we go to, it's a thing we do. And we do it all the time. This is often a good thing: adding flexibility to busy lives where needed, allowing people to access work during the commute and after the school run.
In principle, such technology helps in saving more time for fun and relaxation in our personal lives. Of course, the reality is that many of us are slaves to mobile technology, checking for updates last thing at night and first thing in the morning, whilst allowing very little time for down time in between.
Let’s face it, this is not an efficient way to work or a satisfying way to live. More importantly, it can have negative effects on your employees, and the productivity of your team. Technology alone doesn't automatically produce a creative and efficient workforce, it is the way we utilize it that counts. And as a manager, you can develop the policy, and set the tone.
1. Improve meetings
While it’s easy enough to carry a laptop into a team meeting, a tablet proves to be much more practical, thanks to its lightweight and compact size.
In today’s modern world, such a small device can actually help you win some “good impression points” if you can successfully run your latest team presentation from a new, high-tech device.
If you wish to take notes during a meeting, or perhaps a team member is taking the minutes, tablets make the process super easy thanks to the built in handwriting recognition features, making shorthand or detailed notes super easy to execute.
There are two simple ways to take notes on your tablet. The first is to use a note taking app, such as Evernote or Microsoft OneNote. You can also make the most of transcription software to do the bulk of the work for you, including the increasingly popular Dragon Dictation. Digital notes are also simple to navigate if you’re looking for something specific. Unlike traditional paper notes, you can search for keywords to find a relevant note at a later date.
It’s also easier than ever to compare notes. Tablets have the ability to sync with whatever cloud storage your business prefers, so you can share work that way, or send out a bulk email to everyone in your team. Simple!
2. File sharing
When connected to your Wi-Fi, transferring files from across a room or from one office to another is now very much part of our working day. File-sharing apps available on the market make it as simple as drag-and-drop to move your files from place to place.
Desktop sharing is another available option to help give an online presentation, but why stop there? You could even make the tablet a second screen to your whiteboard for an in-person presentation, allowing for greater collaboration across your team.
Your team members can easily follow along with you on their own devices, while you look them in the eye for the important points. You can even save on paper and ink costs, as there’s no need to print out big graphs and flowcharts when they can simply view them via their own tablet or smartphone.
With the likes of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G now firmly in place, connectivity is key within a successful team. This allows data to be exchanged quickly and simply, improving your team member’s individual workloads by offering them more opportunities to share their work (perhaps by using free storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive).
For further insight, Forrester reported that approximately 30% of information workers use tablets for sharing and file synchronization – compared to just 16% of PC users.
3. Think remotely
Team members aren’t always located in the head office, and those who are out and about often require a greater level of communication and collaboration tools, not only to get their work done, but to make them feel a valued part of the working culture too.
This often relies on mobile devices and tablets, and in some cases, allowances should be made for international time differences.
For example, if you know that an external team member is part of an upcoming project, but will not be online until the 5pm UK time, responding after regular working hours is completely necessary, and thankfully, tablets make such communication simple and stress-free.
You should draw the line, however, when you start working on other important aspects that can easily wait until the morning.
4. Team support
As a manger, handling several responsibilities at once, such as managing multiple teams across departments, sites and time zones, is often a challenging role. Thankfully, the support of tablets makes it easy to monitor the workloads and general tasks of your team. It's obviously a great asset to have!
Popular collaboration and team management tools, such as Slack, offer a huge list of benefits, with improving collaboration and team communication at the forefront. However, be careful that such tools don’t disrupt the working day and become a place for social activities.
According to a recent Ofcom attitudes report, tablets have proven to be much more popular than desktops for internal social networking, with 24% of employees interacting better via tablets compared to 17% of PC users.
5. Team empowerment
Another highly underrated advantage of using tablets in the workplace is their ability to empower your employees to access personal information on the go.
With a work-issued tablet, your team has the ability to easily access information such as pay, benefits elections, holidays and other sensitive or private data that they may require. Tablets are known to deliver the best combination of confidentiality and mobility.