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There comes a time when almost every team will reach a point where they’ve exhausted the capabilities of their current tools, causing progress to stall. When this happens, there is a productivity gap – or what I call the work rut. Work rut is a problem that occurs when teams exhaust or outgrow the capabilities of their existing technologies or process.

How Work Rut Occurs

Digital transformation is separating the winners from losers—promising you a business that succeeds in a new and different way. By leveraging smart, networked and connected technologies, you will get jobs done faster and use data and intelligence to create new revenue and profitable ways to run your business.

But as these new technologies push business forward and teams take on more and more work, organizations find that new opportunities for innovation and growth are stifled by the scope of day-to-day work.

According to the 2018-2019 State of Work report, while 64 percent of employees reported their workplaces encourage them to try out new strategies for completing tasks, 58 percent said day-to-day work prevents them from doing so.

Some 86 percent of employees believe that automation will help them make time for innovation, as well as inspire them to find new ways to innovate. Additionally, 44 percent of respondents are requesting more tools to help better manage their work, suggesting that automation would be a fitting solution.

Speaking of more tools, companies are grappling with an explosion of appliance apps aimed at helping them work better, but this is actually hampering innovation. According to industry analysis, the average employee has to use 9.4 apps every day just to get work done. 74 percent of employees have an average of five apps open at any given time.

Herein lies the work rut: Systems and processes fail to keep up with the changing workplace, and employees are caught in a loop of manual, redundant, low-value tasks that are necessary to complete but could be more clearly defined, efficient or automated.

Recognizing the Rut

You can spot a work rut when the technologies you have in your business have reached their limit. You’re surrounded by appliance apps that do important things—file sharing, email, calendar, etc.—but they’re not driving your team forward.

Business leaders can recognize a work rut when:

  • Ideas for innovating new products or services have gone stale. Business leaders see opportunities to grow or be more efficient but can’t execute.
  • Employees are on a work treadmill, doing the same things over and over again but expecting a different result.
  • Revenue and cash flow are steady but not at a desired trajectory.
  • Operations are held hostage by work. If you leave work for just one day, the business and teams will suffer.

Overcome the Rut

Overcoming work rut requires a technology solution that is flexible and customized, enabling teams to innovate the way they work, right where the work is done. A solution that fits the business’s unique needs and processes, allows for change as business grows and empowers teams to solve their business challenges. A development platform that lets you build exactly what you need – without needing to have an IT degree.

This kind of tool saves small and medium-sized businesses from the huge price tag of enterprise IT systems, along with the need for an IT department. In this scenario, custom solutions don’t require IT to build them, putting the “doers” and problem solvers in the driver’s seat of innovation. With today’s mobile app capabilities, your custom app can work on every device your employees currently use—or will buy in the future or bring from home.

APIs will enable you to integrate software, services, security, IoT devices and advanced technologies that can shape new growth opportunities. Together, all these functionalities will streamline workflows and eliminate redundant, manual tasks that can be automated or made more efficient so teams can focus on innovation and business growth.

Situated for Success

Making a technology investment in the next chapter of business is a big deal, but with the right platform, it’s easier than you think. If your business is stuck in the Work Rut, then it’s time to focus on innovation. With a solution that motivates teams to share ideas, work smarter and embrace change, you are set to take business to the next level.