You might not be able to see it, but you’ve felt it creeping up.
Your work—and your workplace—have somehow become less simple than they used to be. Maybe it’s the tighter competition in your market. Maybe it’s that your team is interfacing and integrating with more departments and teams than ever before—this is especially true if you work in marketing. Maybe it’s that you have to dot more i’s and cross more t’s, in terms of brand messaging and compliance, than you ever had to previously.
Yes, the work and the way you work has shifted slowly but surely beneath your feet.
For the last two years, Workfront, ProofHQ’s parent company, has reached out to enterprise workers across the U.S. to understand how they manage their work and the barriers keeping them from getting work done. Next week, the company will release the 2016-2017 edition of their report, but before the big unveiling we wanted to revisit three of the most eye-opening findings from last year’s edition—especially because they highlight the challenges in communication and collaboration that we often cover here at the ProofHQ blog:
1. Growing numbers of office workers want more efficient work processes
Proofing is just one place where communication can really get ugly. As work structures get more complex, we tend to throw in more layers of checks and balances, which, in turn, slow our velocity and speed to market way down. In our efforts to be careful and strategic, we slow our efforts to a near-standstill.
No wonder then that, last year, U.S. enterprise workers expressed a longing for more efficiency. When Workfront asked survey takers what would help them increase their productivity, the second biggest answer was “more efficient work processes.”
2. Work information on the cloud will boost productivity
If you’ve ever had to work with a physical proof, passing it around the office, getting individual stakeholders to mark it up, you can likely relate to the frustration of then trying to extrapolate all of that feedback into actionable feedback. This same phenomenon shows up anytime we try to convey work information through multiple tools and media. Think hallway conversations, sticky notes, voicemail, spreadsheet comments, and email.
Perhaps this is what respondents had in mind when 82% of them said that the ability to access work information anywhere would boost their productivity.
We’ve certainly found this to be true in regards to proofing. Conveying and storing this information via digital tools is a step up from sticky notes and napkins in that the information is in a more permanent medium. But you still end up playing Sherlock Holmes to reassemble of that data into something resembling order. The ideal is the ability to capture, store, and revisit them all in one place.
3. Email and meetings might not be the best way to communicate work information
Ever been in a meeting where a group of stakeholders took their turns proofing the same piece of creative? Or maybe you’ve been subjected to an ever-lengthening email thread where everyone and their dog took turns tearing apart a piece of copy, drinking deeply from the well of groupthink, and then going back for another round of nitpicking?
One of the most intriguing findings from last year’s survey was this seeming dichotomy: email and meetings are very effective, but they’re also some of the biggest killers of productivity.
But how could this be? Are emails and meetings good or bad? The answer seems to be in the quantity and ways in which they’re used.
For example, meetings tend to work well for collaboration, not so great for status updates. Email functions well for keeping groups informed, but not so much for managing each step of a project. Neither of them are very good at proofing and reviews and approvals, but tend to exacerbate problems.
With these findings in mind, we’re looking forward to the release of Workfront’s new “U.S. State of Enterprise Work Report” next week, which we know will include answers to the following juicy questions:
- Why do you go to work?
- Which of the following emoji would you use when asked to describe the following aspects of your day?
- When do you find you are most productive and least productive?
- Which of these do you find the most irritating about working in an office?
Check back into the ProofHQ blog next Monday to see what the new report has to say!