“Time is money” – a short yet insightful phrase that’s totally new to you, because I invented it just now.
But even if it were a severely worn-out mantra in the world of business, it would still ring true today. Your work hours are a finite resource, which makes them valuable. So it’s no surprise that developers continue to advance productivity software and services for the workplace. Because no matter how efficient the business world gets, there will always be more room for improvement.
Tech companies have been building workplace tools for decades now, but only recently have they begun to tap into the potential of cloud computing, mobile innovation, and social media platforms. Even so, many of these innovations already scale remarkably well to the small business level, and even the freelance level.
SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE WORKPLACE
The explosion of social media over the past few years has created an immense online framework for interpersonal connection, and the business world is already benefitting immensely from that framework. It's now unusual to come across a business that doesn't have at least one active Twitter account. And Facebook Messenger, having just reached a billion active users, has quickly evolved into one of the most popular ways for businesses big and small to interact with their customers.
The downside is that excessive use of social media in the workplace – particularly Facebook – has been attributed to an overall decline in productivity. Facebook is addictive by design. So while services like Messenger and Events can have a certain functional appeal, Facebook is not the all-encompassing productivity solution that the business world is looking for. Nor is it really trying to be (yet). However, it's been a great point of reference for what a good social media workplace service should look like.
Microsoft made quite a buzz in 2016 when news emerged of their possible $8 billion acquisition of Slack. Then a few short months later, they cranked the buzz to eleven when they decided to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion instead. To put that in perspective, that's even more money than I make in an entire year.
Those may seem like uncharacteristically large quantities of capital to throw around, but not if their goal is to create a Facebook for the workplace. If they can manage to fill that void and become the go-to solution for professional social networking, $26.2 billion will be pocket change compared to the value of such a service. Just imagine the potential benefits of streamlining the business world in the same way Instagram and Snapchat have streamlined our social lives on the web.
COLLABORATION IN THE WORKPLACE
When it comes to productivity software, the keyword of the moment is ‘cloud’. The term itself is everywhere nowadays, but in a nutshell, cloud services involve a 'virtual space' that is accessible to multiple users.
In the business world, cloud platforms are typically used for file storage, communication, and most importantly, project collaboration. With professional software that lives in the cloud, multiple co-workers can work on a digital project simultaneously, from anywhere in the world. One co-worker makes an edit on their device, and the others immediately see that change on their devices.
It's easy to see the large-scale benefits of such seamless online collaboration, but cloud tech also has significant benefits for a smaller business like ours. In fact, most consumers are already using cloud platforms, whether they know it or not. Over the past few years, we’ve seen real-time collaboration introduced as a feature in practically every major productivity suite – Microsoft Office, iWork, Google Docs, Adobe Creative Cloud, you name it. Even Notes, one of Apple’s most basic native apps, just added real-time collaboration last year. However, new breakthroughs in workplace collaboration aren't limited to cloud.
ONLINE VIDEO REVIEW
As a video production company, we frequently take on new clients, each with their own unique ideas and traits. We love meeting with new clients in person, especially during the initial planning stages of a project. Face to face interaction is still ideal for brainstorming, gauging reactions, and generally getting to know the client so we can serve them better.
However, after production begins, we encourage plenty of feedback from the client to make sure the specifics of their vision are being carried out to their satisfaction. Online video review services make this feedback process far easier than it used to be. We currently use Frame.io, but services like VidHub, Vimeo, and Wipster do essentially the same thing.
In principle, these services have the same function as business cloud services – they take advantage of modern tech and connectivity to streamline our process. With Frame.io, we can quickly upload a video quickly, and our clients can immediately add a comment to any spot on the video timeline. Uploads are fast, the interface is clean and modern, and it eliminates the need to email video files and notes back and forth, or create separate to-do lists. We simply check off each edit as it's completed.
Services like this are why we pay such close attention to new breakthroughs in business software. Small businesses face unique challenges in the modern world, but technology is the great equalizer. New innovations often start out with high costs and low availability, but if they're compelling enough, they don't stay inaccessible for long.
Understanding and adopting new technologies can be challenging at first, but if we can make collaboration with our clients easier, we save time on both ends. And, as a wise man once said, "Time is money".