Our work tools are essential parts of our repertoire. Tools help us deliver our tasks in a timely and efficient matter. At least, that’s the idea. Yet there is such as thing as having too many tools, so much that it can actually hinder your performance. Which is why Tool Management is an important thing to consider when sorting out what tools are important and what tools to close or uninstall.
In this section of the Bottleneck Attention Audit Report blog series, we delve deeper into Tool Management. Why it is important, and how we faired in our audit that was done by MindEQuity. If you are not familiar with this blog series or the Bottleneck Attention Audit Report, you can check out our introductory post and the importance of Work Culture.
Too Many Tools Affect Performance
Workplace tools are often the backbone of business processes. Internal processes and behind-the-scenes operations often revolve around the use of certain workplace tools, whether it is something that you’ve developed for the company, or something commercial like CRM platforms.
While having multiple tools at your disposal is not always a bad thing, being overloaded with tools most definitely is. In fact, having too many tools can lead to a drop in performance, which is the opposite of what you wanted in the first place. Likewise, if no one is properly doing any tool management, it could lead to loss of time and revenue for the company.
Here are just some of the issues one might face when having too much workplace tools:
Too much workplace tools can place a mental strain on employees
While most tools nowadays are accessible via the usual browsers in your own devices, there are some tools that might only be accessible using remote machines, or does not save the cache files for security purposes. As such, employees are left having to always look for so-and-so tools when they need it.
Another way that this manifest in the workplace is in browser tabs that are always open, in case you need to use a tool. Not only does it put a strain on the employee to see multiple tabs open all the time, it also puts a strain on their computer, which can slow them down even more.
In addition to having too many tools open, you also have to worry about remembering too many usernames and passwords for your different tools and platforms. While you can save such passwords on your browser, or use password management tools like LastPass, it’s still a huge burden to remember all those passwords.
In the event that they can’t recall their passwords, they’d have to waste time and energy answering security questions and recovering their access to said tools. Worse case is that they get locked out for a prolonged period of time, which could translate to lost hours of work.
Too much Tools can lead to Decision Paralysis
Another issue with having too many tools that have overlapping functions is that it could lead to Decision Paralysis. This is when one cannot decide the best course of action, or in this case the best tool to use for a certain task.
Bottleneck’s Attention Audit Results on Tool Management
That said, what was Bottleneck’s results on the team’s tool management?
According to MindEquity’s audit report, our team score for managing our tools and its effects on our productivity are on the LOW end of their scoring metrics.
Here are the common reasons why we got a low score, and the ways we can improve upon it:
Having too many tabs open
As we are a remote-based company, most of the tools we use are accessible via our browsers. As such, we tend to have multiple tabs open at all times to make sure our tools are ready when we need them. According to the survey, about 90% of the team has at least 4 or more tabs open at all times. As mentioned earlier, having multiple tabs can strain both employee and their system’s capacity.
A good solution is to have them bookmarked on your browser, so that you have a quick way to access them without having them open at all times. Ideally, the bookmarks themselves should be organized to save you the effort of always having to look over all the unorganized links you have on your work bookmarks folder.
Always having live chat and communications on at all times
As mentioned before in the Work Culture section of our audit, our team has a tendency to have instant messaging and emails open in case someone messages or sends and email. Not only do you have another program running in the background or another tab open in the browser, it also serves as a distraction and could disrupt the flow of your work, especially if you have notifications active, which more than 80% of the team admits they have on.
One solution that we plan to implement is to have one emergency communication line that has its notifications on at all times. Apart from that, all other communications will have limited notifications active, so as to not disturb the team’s flow of work.
Juggling too many logins
About 70% of the team responded that they have at 8 or more credentials for tools or app logins that they use daily for their tasks. As mentioned earlier, it can be a hassle to maintain and remember multiple passwords. While saving it in your browser can be a convenient fix, it can also be a problem security-wise.
A good fix is to use a password management tool like LastPass. You can record all your credentials for multiple apps there, and have a secure, encrypted password generated to save on your local devices. At the very least, you can enjoy the convenience of saved passwords without compromising security for your company.
The pursuit for efficiency can sometimes backfire
It’s great if one discovers a way to improve your efficiency. Whether it’s an organizing trick, or in some cases, a tool that can assist you in your tasks. Though sometimes, having too many tools can lead to a false sense of efficiency. This is called Shiny Tool Syndrome, and about 60% of the team admit to falling prey to this tool management pitfall.
While innovating and pursuing efficiency is not a bad thing, curbing the urge to find new tools to “enhance” your performance is also important. A good way to curb this is to find more ways to maximize your current tools, rather than always looking for the next best thing.
Want to know how you can improve your team’s tool management? Check out MindEQuity’s Attention Audit and learn what tool management gaffs you are committing in your company and boost your overall productivity!
We at Bottleneck Distant Assistants have taken the challenge to see how our team fares in being an Energized Team. In the next article, we talk about Tool Management, and how tools can be both helpful and harmful to your company.
Are you interested in taking the Attention Audit for your team as well? You can check out MindEQuity today and see if you are up to the challenge!
Want to learn more about Bottleneck? Visit our website and find out how our team can help your business break through its bottleneck today!