I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways that paperless technology affects my life and the lives of my friends inside the Paperless Movement.
Going paperless effects our home life through less clutter and better organization, and it affects our work life through better security and increased productivity. These areas are easy for me to see because I use paperless technology every day. The other day it occurred to me that being paperless helped me get a better job; and maybe it could help you get a better job, a promotion, or just plain old recognition at your current job.
Let me explain:
I worked as a Validation Expert in a small team for 5 years. My work was very complex and multidisciplinary. My team’s complex projects were chaotic because of the fast-paced, demanding nature of the industry. We desperately needed a way to communicate and coordinate our work across several different departments.
Being a tech-loving guy, I looked outside of the traditional business solutions for project managing, to task management tools and other software solutions in order to increase my team’s effectiveness.
My line manager gave me the chance to build a ticketing system I had in mind. It should handle and manage all the tasks we receive daily from the business nearly fully automatically and assign them to the right people in the team. I built this on my own, based on a special version of Sharepoint and I created workflows based on our special needs. Unfortunately no “out of the box” tool could deliver this back then. The software solution I created led to a 60% increase in my team’s productivity with the same headcount. This became visible as I also implemented a tool to get statistics on our team’s performance. But it also helped to identify bottlenecks in our workflows which helped to further optimize— that did not go unnoticed. My ability to implement new and effective solutions in my role at work led to advancements and promotions.
As you can see on my LinkedIn profile, I switched my job position from being a Validation Expert and team member to being a Business Analyst and team leader in the IT department where I continue to optimize business processes. I implemented Asana as the task management and collaboration tool as it has the most diverse feature set that can handle our complex workflows and projects.
I could see a direct link between the fact that I was going up the ladder in my company solely due to my affinity to task management tools and other software solutions to improve team efficiency.
I don’t believe that my experience in my day job was an isolated event.
The demand for employees with knowledge of basic and advanced paperless technology is growing.
Whether you’re looking for advancement in your current job or applying for new work, showing you can keep up with the latest digital workflow solutions will give you an edge when considerations for pay raises or advancements are being made.
When a hiring manager reviews an application, they look for more than the right background, schooling, and experience. Managers want to know that an applicant is flexible, self-motivated, and able to keep up with the latest technology.
As paperless technology gets better and better, companies won’t just see the value in implementing these tools into their employee’s workflow, they’ll see the necessity.
Research by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that by 2030, the time spent at work using basic digital skills will rise by 69 percent in the United States and by 65 percent in Europe. Those percentages are huge when you consider just how much tech is being used at work presently.
These numbers show that the demand for tech-savvy workers is only going to increase.
Tech-savvy employees can provide tangible benefits to companies such as:
- Streamlining processes: Task management tools and apps can allow the creation of a streamlined workflow that will cut time, expense, and miscommunication.
- Being more efficient: Having a streamlined system means you and your team will get more done in less time.
- Save time: Paperless tools allow your team to create and share documents more quickly, collaborate on projects, track projects, (and much more) in a quick and efficient manner, saving time on tasks that aren’t money generating.
- Save money: Saving time, increasing efficiency, and eliminating miscommunication all result in money saved.
- Enhanced security: Paperless tools mean you can digitally back-up files, use encryption technology, and store information on secure servers.
When you know which tech solutions will work in a business or workflow situation, you distinguish yourself from your colleagues. For example:
- Managers and team members will be more likely to see you as the go-to person when they have problems that need digital solutions.
- If new tech is implemented in the workplace, you could be a natural choice for training the staff in the new app or software.
- Having knowledge in tech solutions to improve workflow and efficiency could set you apart as a strong choice for a team-lead or manager position.
- Staying up-to-date on tech solutions will put you in a position to see solutions to work needs that others might miss.
- Using your knowledge to create a better result inside your current role could help you stand out in the eyes of your managers.
- During employee reviews, managers like to see examples of improvement and initiative. Using tech tools to improve work performance can give you a boost in your review and possibly help you get a pay raise.
As you can see so far, embracing paperless apps, tools, and software solutions can give you an edge in the workplace and give you a fantastic reputation as a reliable employee and a problem solver.
As exciting as this shift toward a greater need for digital skills in the workplace is, there’s a twist.
Surveys conducted by PwC show that while companies know the need for digital skills at work is increasing, they aren’t investing in paperless tech or training for their employees at a rate that will meet industry demands and keep their employees happy.
According to the study, “Only 50% of staff and 64% of managers are satisfied with the resources they have at their disposal to learn how to use new technology”. There aren’t currently enough ways to learn the useful application of digital tools on the job.
This slow adoption of workplace tech solutions is good news for you.
Companies and upper management can be slower than employees to adopt paperless and technological tools, even if they know they need it. If you’re the person at work who is already well-versed in these tools, you’ll be the one they reach out to for implementing new systems and training co-workers.
By learning about task management tools and software solutions, you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. Staying up to date with the latest apps and software solutions will give you a quick idea about which tools would work best in your work environment.
Keep your eyes open for where these tools could make your team more efficient. Bring this suggestion to your supervisor as a tool you’d like to implement with your team. They will be glad you are tech-aware, and you will soon be the go-to person for questions about digital workplace solutions.
Be a proactive business problem solver.
Taking personal initiative toward improvement will set you apart in the workplace.
An article by forbes.com highlights the difference between someone who waits for problems at work to arise and then reacts to the problem, versus a person who prepares for problems by being strategic and planning ahead. They call this highly valuable employee a proactive business problem solver.
The Forbes article says, “As a working professional, it can be easy to react rather than prepare for the challenges your business faces. Having a plan in place that proactively takes the reins and addresses these problems can make a difference in how well equipped you are to handle and manage these situations without any interruption in your business’ operations.”
By staying aware of the uses and applications of digital task management tools and software, you can quickly come forward with solutions as problems and needs arise inside the company, and be known by everyone you work with as a proactive business problem solver.
The need for paperless technology solutions to increase efficiency in the workplace is on the rise but, as we’ve seen, employers are slow to incorporate these tools into the workplace even though they can see the need.
By staying up-to-date on the latest in paperless apps and software you can set yourself apart from others in the workplace and stand out as the “go-to” person with the answers your company is looking for. This can place in you a prime position for recognition and promotion, or set you apart from other job applicants during a job search.
Has knowledge of paperless tools and systems given you an advantage at work? Let us know by commenting below this post.