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Why Microsoft Office 365 is a Solid Option for Businesses

Why Microsoft Office 365 is a Solid Option for Businesses

Microsoft 365 has been on the market for a while now, and we thought it would be a good time to go into the different tiers of the platform to give you an idea of what it is, why it is useful, and how your business fits into the latest cloud platform offered by Microsoft. Let’s start with what it is.

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Inefficiency is a Business Killer

Inefficiency is a Business Killer

Inefficiency is not something that you plan for. It just happens. It happens when processes get too big, have too many moving parts, or are bogged down by excessive oversight. It happens when purposes for certain tasks change or are abandoned altogether. Whatever the reason, it’s costing your business. This month, we take a look at what efficiency actually looks like and how to do your best to achieve it.


Employee Productivity

You want your business to be more productive? Join the club. Every business has revenue-costing inefficiencies that they need to address. Some overcome them, some don’t. If your business wants to confront its inefficiencies, it has to start at the beginning and define what "efficient" looks like. Since inefficiency can stem from any part of your business, it’s a decent idea to separate your search for inefficiencies into departments, or even specific workflows where you can define what efficient productivity looks like for that certain task. This definition is effectively your criteria for claiming inefficiency, and should only change if process or workflow changes.

Another determination is how much things change. Are you constantly tweaking your operational plan to try to draw as much out of each of your workers? Most changes that you make to workflows, no matter how small, are going to cause some initial inefficiency. Think about it: If someone has been doing something the same for a while and you ask him/her to do it differently to save time, it seems, unless you have evidence that it will work, that you are likely digging your own efficiency grave by changing a completely functional process to try to get more out of it. It’s true that most people work at the speed they need to be the most effective. If you think that you need someone who works faster, it’s not necessarily an employee-related problem, it’s likely a company-related problem.

In truth, most times, when a business thinks it is having a problem with their productivity, they mean that the people that work for them aren’t pulling their weight. The question becomes how do you quantify a productive workforce? Today, more and more companies are using Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These are measures that allow decision makers to evaluate strategic performance, as well as employee performance. Taking time to understand how your business, and your employees, can be most effective to help you meet your organizational goals is just as important as having the resources in place to do so.

One thing is for certain, making work harder on your employees is not going to result in better productivity. Your business is a second home to your employees, and the lion’s share of people show up regardless of what is going on in their lives. The happier they are to spend a quarter-to-a third of their lives working for you, the more you are going to get out of them. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be performance metrics, and that you shouldn’t do everything you can to track their performance, but if you are making their lives outside of work better by providing the wages, benefits, and working conditions conducive for productivity, you will get more out of them.

Automation

In the productivity end, efficiency is built from having a good plan on what needs to happen, and executing that plan. If the plan shifts after some time, it's fair to expect that efficiency will take some time to catch up. Unless, that is, that plan includes automating portions of the workflow. People like to act that automation is working against people’s interests, but nothing could be further from the truth. Automation builds efficiency, which allows for more productivity, which allows for more revenue, and higher profits, and if those profits are reinvested, more jobs.

Automation works to build efficiency. That’s its one benefit, and it will cost you. There are many ways that a business can leverage automation into profitability. One is by utilizing a tool that automates all the little things. A properly working business typically has many different facets, and no matter how few people there are working these facets, they’ll have to be maintained. So, while payroll, accounts receivable, customer/vendor support, human resources could all be headed up by one person, with a software that automates a lot of the legwork associated with these tasks, that one person can accomplish everything listed above at a substantial cost reduction to the company. That’s not to say there isn’t cost, but when you can get people working rather than managing protocol, it substantially increases productivity throughout an organization.

Outsourcing

Contracting work that you cannot efficiently do yourself is nothing new. People have been paying contract-workers for a long time. You may find that you could get similar benefits at a substantial cost reduction by outsourcing some elements of your organization’s operations to an outside company. Where this process gets costly is when contractors are brought in to complete core parts of the job.

It stands to reason that if you offer products or services that your organization would have market authority in that space. Say your organization makes toys, chances are the people running the show, and the employees you’ve hired to physically build toys are all better at it than any outsourced company could be. Outsourcing is most beneficial when it is brought in, to complete aspects of the job where you lack expertise. This could be human resources, marketing, benefits administration, and of course IT support.

The IT professionals at Machado Consulting know that technology is a major part of your business, and needs to function properly, and be protected. Our technicians have the experience and the knowledge to help you solve some of your most pressing operational inconsistencies. Call us today to learn more at (508) 453-4700.

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What Could Replace the Keyboard and Mouse?

What Could Replace the Keyboard and Mouse?

We hope we aren’t dating ourselves too much by mentioning computer punch cards, but they were once the means of inputting data into a computing device… at least, until the now-ubiquitous mouse and keyboard came into the scene. This variety of interfacing with our devices now seems to be one of the few ways to practically use them. However, other interfaces have emerged - do any of them stand a chance of unseating the keyboard and mouse?

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Tip of the Week: Excelling at Teamwork

Tip of the Week: Excelling at Teamwork

How well do your employees collaborate with one another? Teamwork is essential to the success of any business, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. To make improve communication and foster teamwork start with these three steps...

Clarify Your Roles

Everyone should clearly understand their role and the scope (and limitations) of their responsibilities. This helps employees take ownership and feel empowered to make decisions and contribute toward the team’s goals. Then, provide feedback on users’ contributions and use that feedback to delegate new challenges and responsibilities. This creates the perfect opportunity to provide encouraging and very specific praise which will ideally inspire more good work.

Encourage Socialization

For a group of people to work as a team, they need to see themselves as a team. One way to facilitate this is to create opportunities for employees to spend time together as a group. Team meetings might be helpful for discussion and decision making, but they also give your employees a chance to connect with each other face-to-face. Schedule an after-hours gathering or plan to volunteer together as a team (or in small groups). Encourage them to take team lunches or hit a local happy hour after work. If you’re the boss, plan to hang back from some of these functions. It’s good to let the employees bond without feeling the pressure of pleasing their supervisor.

Use Technology

For a group of people to work as a team, you’ll need to provide the tools to help them be as productive and communicative as possible. With the right solutions, your team can work together on projects whether they are in the same room or across the country. Access permissions, file sharing, and virtual private networks will all play a role in the success of these solutions.

Reach out to the Machado Consulting team if you have questions or need a recommendation for collaboration tools and services.

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Tip of the Week: Match Word to Your Style

Tip of the Week: Match Word to Your Style

Microsoft Word’s massive cache of options and its relative ease of use are two of its defining characteristics. This presents organizations and users alike with a large set of different ways they can set up the word processor. Today, we will take you through Word, providing tips on how to change these settings so that you can get the most out of it.

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Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

I have a question for you: when did you last examine the bandwidth that your business Internet package provides you? This is a very important consideration to make, for the sake of your productivity. This week, we’ll offer a few tips on how the proper bandwidth can help you get much more out of your IT solutions.

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Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work (and What to Do Instead)

Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work (and What to Do Instead)

In the business world, people often pride themselves on multitasking. It's perceived as a badge of honor to be able to manage multiple tasks at once. However, evidence shows otherwise. We’ll go into why, and offer a few more effective alternatives.

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Tip of the Week: Three Ways to Promote Operational Efficiency

Tip of the Week: Three Ways to Promote Operational Efficiency

Revenue is a key component of any business, crucial to the continued success and efficacy of it. However, in order to sustain an incoming revenue stream, a business needs to be able to operate efficiently enough to support it. In this week’s tip, we’ll review a few ways that you can build this efficiency in your own operations to assist your efforts to build a prosperous business.

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How IT Benefits a Small Business’ Growth Potential

How IT Benefits a Small Business’ Growth Potential

When we discuss our service offerings, we understand that it can all seem like a little much, especially to the small business that - up to this point - has never needed all these fancy solutions to operate effectively. However, there are a few considerations that the business this scenario applies to needs to account for. For instance, is it certain that these solutions are unnecessary?

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Can You Stay Productive In the Face of Constant Distraction?

Can You Stay Productive In the Face of Constant Distraction?

The modern office is filled with distractions, and that’s to say nothing about the everyday user’s life. With so many devices and notifications interrupting focus for users all over the world, it’s more important than ever before to have a strategy for how to deal with these issues and become as productive as possible in the workplace. Today, we’ll be discussing some of the biggest distractions in the workplace and how your employees can overcome them.

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Communications Are a Big Part of New Productivity Software

Communications Are a Big Part of New Productivity Software

When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.

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Improving Your Collaboration Can Improve Performance

Improving Your Collaboration Can Improve Performance

With the exception of a sole proprietorship, a business of any size relies on its team in order to function properly. As a result, this team needs to be able to work together towards a common goal in order to succeed. To accomplish this, collaboration technologies are becoming more and more common in office environments, and generally benefit the performance of the business in its operations.

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Tip of the Week: How Technology Covers a Business’ Needs

Tip of the Week: How Technology Covers a Business’ Needs

If you look around your company, there’s a good chance that it has a lot of technology that you completely take for granted. No matter if you run a small retail store, a factory, or a multi-location office, your business needs IT to function properly. Today, we will take a look into several ways your organization can use technology to improve your business.

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Instant Messaging Is a Valuable Tool for Businesses

Instant Messaging Is a Valuable Tool for Businesses

Once thought to just be a cool feature of the Internet--or the entirety of the Internet to your Great Aunt Maddie--instant messaging has a long history on the web. In fact, one could argue that it was the first great Internet-based application. Today, we take a look back at the history of Instant Messaging and how your organization can use it to create a better business.

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Tip of the Week: Keep Your IT Optimized

Tip of the Week: Keep Your IT Optimized

IT management is critical to the success of your business, but it’s easier said than done. There are countless moving parts that all go into keeping your business’ IT organized. Here are three ways you can make sure IT doesn’t hold your business back from its full potential.

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Tip of the Week: What Changed With Google Calendar’s Update?

Tip of the Week: What Changed With Google Calendar’s Update?

If you are a dedicated user of Google Calendar, you’ll have realized that it’s recently undergone a significant improvement. Google has pushed out an update that has really polished their calendar in terms of both visual appearance and functionality, which is something that you’ll really appreciate, especially if you are a G Suite user. How can you use this new version of Google Calendar for your business?

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When Employees Argue, Quality Suffers. Here’s What You Can Do About It

When Employees Argue, Quality Suffers. Here’s What You Can Do About It

When you talk about your employees, you hopefully often refer to them as a department, or a “team.” These terms often come with predetermined assumptions, with one of them being that the employees work together to accomplish something specific. However, it’s often not so simple. If your employees aren’t working together as a team, how can you fix this dilemma?

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Tip of the Week: Shave Time Off the Work Day By Adding More Monitors

Tip of the Week: Shave Time Off the Work Day By Adding More Monitors

If your employees are still working at workstations with a single monitor, you may be doing your workplace productivity a disservice. While adding a second screen to their desk may not seem like an effective efficiency booster at first, the benefits it can have are very real.

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The Many Ways Your Business Can Benefit By Having a Productivity Suite

The Many Ways Your Business Can Benefit By Having a Productivity Suite

For the modern business it’s important to have software that is both simple to use and powerful enough to meet your needs. Nowadays, there are cloud-based platforms that come with storage, communication options, and many of the enterprise-level productivity applications that drive your organization’s productivity. Two of these, Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite bring substantial value and flexibility to the table where there was once only expense.

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Study Shows How Reading Novels Can Help Your Business Succeed

Study Shows How Reading Novels Can Help Your Business Succeed

The busy business owner rarely has time to indulge in extracurricular activities, but there are still ways that you can make progress--even when you’re not actually in the office or working on important plans, there’s still the opportunity for self-improvement. One way that you can do this is by being well-read. In fact, science has practically proven that reading literary fiction is just as beneficial for your professional development as other seemingly more practical works.

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