Updated: Jul 25, 2020
>>> One: Accounting / Bookkeeping
>>> Two: Invoicing / Billing / Point of Sale
>>> Three: Workload Management
>>> Guide: The Workload Management Software You Need [YOU ARE HERE]
>>> Deep Dive: The Top 3 Workload Management Systems
>>> How-To: Setup Your Workload Management Software [coming soon]
>>> Four: Customer Management [coming soon]
>>> Five: Domain Name / Website / Social Media [coming soon]
There's no doubt that the first half of 2020 has been difficult. No one expected we would all be suddenly forced into remote working situations. Whether your business was ready or not, you were now working from home. How do you stay connected to your team? How do you keep up with tasks and not miss deadlines? How do you collaborate on documents and presentations when you're no longer just a cube away?
Now more than ever, it is necessary to rely on technology to help keep track of your business. What if missed deadlines and stress were a thing of the past? What if it were easy to collaborate with a dispersed team and still produce incredible work? Hint: it is! If you embrace a little help from current tech.
Let's start with a simple question.
What can software do to help manage my work?
There are three things required for a successful work environment. 1) You need a way to easily talk with and communicate with your team. 2) You need a way to keep track of all the the work being completed, often towards a common goal. 3) you need a way to share work with colleagues and collaborate on deliverables.
If you're sitting in a physical office together, all three can be accomplished with a few whiteboards. But these days, how often is your entire team in the office at the same time?
Thanks to today's technology, there is software that makes it possible to manage communication in your business no matter where you are.
This sounds too simple. Get specific. What can this software actually do to improve my life?
How many times have you been at the very end of completing a project, and you need one last answer from a colleague? You've sent them emails, but they have not yet replied. In today's business world, with the number of emails people receive on a daily basis, it's hard to filter through all the noise! Your colleague is not intentionally ignoring you - it's just your email is buried with the hundreds of other emails in their inbox.
This is why your team needs a dedicated communication tool that allows the flexibility for quick questions, detailed calls, collaborative screen sharing, as well as more lengthy email-style notes (but only when necessary). Using a single application, your team will gain the flexibility to choose the most effective way to communicate with other team members in order to get the information they need to do their job. These tools also have simple controls to keep your work life and personal life balanced - like settings to automatically mute notifications outside of working hours.
At this point you may think you have everything you need to work effectively - but how do you keep up with everything it takes to do that work? Traditionally, managers use complicated tracking spreadsheets to view everything that needs to be done. Then information is disseminated one by one to employees who then have their own, individual systems for tracking their to-dos.
While it is important to give employees the flexibility to use whatever works best for them, there is huge value in having a dedicated tool to keep track of everyone's tasks. Often is the case that a product you're selling is make up of hundreds of different tasks completed by different employees. With current software, managers can easily see all of the pieces and keep track of all the work happening. Employees also benefit with a simple and efficient way to receive work assignments, as well as a quick way to communicate when tasks are completed. While it is possible to manage tasks manually using just a communication tool, having a separate system built to track tasks streamlines your other communication channels to help your team get things done most efficiently.
Now that you have a better way to communicate and track your work, your team needs to get to work; they need to produce deliverables. And whether your deliverable is a product or a service, often there are many documents and files involved in creating it. Often, files only exist on a single person's computer, and are constantly emailed back and forth with increasingly complex filenames meant to distinguish version 23.4 from 23.4(a). Not only are these files not backed up or saved securely, but the amount of effort it can take to look for the right document is astronomical. And even if your company has a shared drive, legacy file-sharing systems are often very difficult to work with and files become even more buried than if just saved directly to an employees laptop.
With today's current tech, anyone who needs access to a file can get to it anywhere and anytime they need it. Files are saved and automatically backed up in the cloud, also making it possible for multiple people to be working on the same document at the same time. Versioning and change control is handled automatically - so instead of hundreds of files with no way to tell the most updated, there is a single source of the truth so it's quick and easy to get the most recent version.
Alright, so who needs workload management software then?
Workload management tools can improve everyone's professional (and personal) life. Chances are you probably can related to one of the examples given in the paragraphs above - meaning these systems are for you! Everyone can gain value by simplifying communication and working channels to be more efficient with how you spend your time. Time is a business owner's most precious resource - use it wisely!
And even if you're a solopreneur on a team by yourself, there are huge benefits to adapting workload management software. Not only can you accomplish more in a day than a person without technology, your stress will be reduced as you let software take over all the tedious stuff. And these systems will set you up for success as your business gets bigger. Most of these tools are free or very low-cost for individual users - designed to grow with your business as your needs change.
Confused? Questions? Just ask! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know what system is right for you? Check out our Workload Management Deep Dive. Ready to move on to step 4? Check out our next software guide: Customer Management.