A new year brings fresh determination to establish goals. Alongside the perennial favorites, why not take a minute to think about some resolutions to improve productivity and reduce workplace stress? The following technology-related tips really could pay dividends throughout 2015.
1. Upgrade your software, apps and backup systems. If you’ve postponed attending to the numerous upgrade notifications that show up on your computer and your smart phone, take time to handle them now. Not only will your programs run more smoothly, but you’ll be less vulnerable to the security problems that tend to proliferate in older software. Have an updated backup plan in place. Few things are more stressful (or more dangerous to a small business’ survival) than losing data, files or photos. It takes time to keep your plan up-to-date, but not doing so could cost you many, many hours and even threaten your company’s viability.
2. On the subject of security, and at the risk of repeating often-recited warnings, no one can afford to be complacent about cyber safety. Keep your antivirus software current and make sure you schedule programs to sweep at least weekly. Some of the most publicized security breaches of 2014 involved social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Human error frequently is exploited by cyber criminals. Cyber thieves don’t care how they gain entry and will always try to exploit human nature. Employees who either access social media at the workplace or open intriguing links in emails represent the biggest threat to businesses large or small. Make sure your employees understand your policies on social media, and keep all workers updated on scams and maneuvers so that they understand what to do when handling corporate data or company hardware.
3. Organize your desktop and browsers and clean out old files and shortcuts. There are a number of programs you can use to organize the multitude of icons that crowd your screen, but before you organize, try to purge old files. This is easiest to do on a computer by using date last modified to sort. If there’s old material you don’t want to ditch, use cloud-based storage or an additional external hard drive to free up space. Use a reputable cleaner program to identify and eliminate temp files from your hard drive. You will be surprised by how fast they accumulate.
4. Be smarter with your smart phone. You probably have many apps on your home screen, and most likely there are a few you don’t even use. Ditch the irrelevant ones and consider what might help you stay organized on the road. There are several apps that could improve your productivity on the go – ones that help you track client expenses or mileage, or web-based service options that allow you receive calls from your office land line.
As you enter a brand new year, bear in mind that access to information is no longer the challenge. In today’s business environment, success is contingent upon managing the flow of information and communication effectively and efficiently.