Market musings

Why Productivity is THE Defining Metric of 2018

by Sasha Viasasha
December 23, 2017

Productivity. Everyone wants it, from time-strapped entrepreneurs to budget-conscious corporate managers to number-crunching macroeconomists obsessing over global growth.

Productivity means more time, more money, and better results. What’s not to love?

Most of the nation's economic growth since the 1990s has been positively correlated with productivity gains. Capital and labor have been delivering diminishing returns, and that trend is likely to continue as the cloud replaces legacy technology infrastructure and smartphones get even smarter, faster and more personalized to each unique user.

However, productivity can prove elusive. 

Despite advances in technology, and the emergence of better and faster tools, productivity gains are not keeping up. The last decade of innovation, including the commodification of the internet and the development of a robust mobile ecosystem has delivered less of a charge to the economy than many might have hoped for.

Now with emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT converging on the horizon, productivity gains are driving ambitious forecasts. That the world definitely needs a productivity boost, there is no doubt. Consider some of the following statistics:

  • Sales reps spend 78% of their time on non-sales tasks
  • An information worker spends a quarter of their day searching for information
  • Workers spend an average of 2 ½ hours checking and replying to emails
  • The majority of email traffic is irrelevant or unimportant
  • Task switching uses up the brains oxygenated glucose stores—the brains fuel
  • The short-term memory can only hold 4-9 items at one time

While technology has advanced, the demands of an always-on, multi-platform digital environment have increased apace. The speed at which information moves and the volume of data collected is continuing to grow, placing even more cognitive demands on our already-overtaxed brains. 

Technology that solves for this can enhance productivity in two ways:

  1. Freeing up cognitive resources and the world’s greatest resource, human creativity and innovation
  2. Amplifying impact by speeding up task processing by eliminating steps or automating manual processes.

What kind of technology can help humanity most? Technology that does both. 

Technology that is simple, but robust and intuitive.

Solving for simplicity 

In its effort to solve problems and provide utility, technology has often crossed over into the dark forest of complexity. While features can provide usability, too many options create feature fatigue and make technology too difficult to use. Data shows that features are popular during the sales cycle, but they don’t make happy users.

Focusing on the features that truly drive productivity and make work easier, while winnowing out what may be cool but doesn’t deliver value equal to effort can create a product that is truly useful.

At the same time, technology should provide enough utility that a user doesn’t have to juggle several applications or platforms to manage a single task. It is precisely this task switching aspect of technology that is most mentally draining, both from a resources perspective and a cognitive one. 

Intuitive UX

How features appear and function across the user interface make a huge difference also. Intuitive design helps enhance productivity by making it obvious how to use the product, so users can focus on the task at hand rather than the interface.

The productivity ratio is a simple one: output over input: The less effort required, the greater the result 

The future of work is mobile, and speed is its currency. Technology that is agile, flexible and intuitive enough to serve the mobile user can boost productivity significantly. Technology that's too complex will only slows the mobile user down and compromise company performance.  

Productivity will become a differentiating factor for businesses across all verticals as the rate of commerce accelerates.

At Spoke Phone, we’ve designed a business phone system that you can set up and use in three minutes. Check out how easy it is:

We’re working on intuitive features that help you manage all your call needs within a simple application that can run in the background. A shared call log, smart directory and smart geo-routing eliminates the need for complex menus and programming.

We’re also building a suite of next generation productivity features that can help you easily follow up and document outcomes from phone calls, all within the application, using voice UX to share and save pertinent action items. Want to learn more about Spoke Phone, and how it works? Sign up for an interactive demo and see how simple a business phone system can really be.

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