Four Things Your Business Can Achieve With More Time


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The pandemic has given people the time to think about what they want from life. And for many of them, the result has been the same: the desire to switch jobs.

It’s hard to blame them. One big thing the pandemic has revealed is just how much our work lives are spent doing things we don’t enjoy, with often little reward. Healthcare workers are burnt out physically and mentally, retail workers want better pay and information workers are advocating for more flexible work schedules, in and out of the office.

As we’ve seen from the dramatic resignation numbers, this situation isn’t tenable for organizations. Given that the pandemic has reoriented what workers want, every organization must now answer the question: “How can we help our people spend more time focusing on things that they love?”

Here’s one way: Create better systems and processes that help employees focus on the work that counts, which reflects outward and ultimately leads to better customer experiences. In this article, I’ll explain what we all have to gain when work gets out of the way, and how this mindset results in better experiences for both employees and customers.

Greater innovation

When you’re spending the bulk of your time solving short-term problems, it’s impossible to find the time or brain power to think about the long-term. This is as true for managers as is for frontline employees.

However, what’s remarkable is what teams can unlock once those short-term problems are automated or otherwise streamlined.

For example, Khanh Nguyen, owner of the Dallas-based Zalat Pizza, saw his operations upended by the pandemic. Yet despite that, business growth has accelerated, with Nguyen opening a new location every month. How did he make this happen? For one, by moving the entire Zalat Pizza paperwork process digital, speeding up the process of sharing, collaborating, and signing real estate contracts.

This shift has allowed management to spend more time on more strategic issues, including how to best optimize its menu for new customer tastes and food ordering habits.

A more realized mission

One of the ironies of nonprofits is that sometimes, in the day-to-day of running your operations, you can lose sight of the societal problems you set out to fix in the first place.

This is another area where reducing employees’ mental and operational overhead can accelerate the work that matters. We’ve seen time and again that the less employees are forced to focus on basic operational issues such as contracts, the more they can focus on new initiatives that can grow their impact.

Take the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as an example. When a child goes missing, parents have little patience for printing out paper release forms, signing them, scanning the documents, and then emailing them. NCMEC needs immediate approval from parents or guardians to start distributing a child’s image and personal details through posters, social media, billboards, and media outlets. By digitizing the process and enabling parents to quickly review and sign releases forms from their phones, NCMEC can move faster to help reunite families. NCMEC’s mission is to keep children safe, and that is the only thing employees should have to worry about.

More passion projects

In Adobe’s Future of Time study, we asked 3,400 enterprise workers to share how time pressure was manifesting itself in their day-to-day lives. Through this research, we saw the same theme time and again: Workers feel tired, overworked, and burnt out.

For example, enterprise employees say they spend a third of their workweek on unimportant tasks—things like managing files, filling out expense reports, awaiting signatures, and managing invoices. The majority agree that these tasks get in the way of doing their job effectively, and more than half would switch jobs for access to better tools that make them more efficient.

Employees want to work, and they want to get back to what originally motivated their career. What would they do with more time? About half of employees would focus on the things they love about their job and take on “growth projects” or new trainings.

Happier employees mean happier customers

So far, we haven’t touched on one of the most important aspects of this issue – how it impacts the customer experience.

We understand intuitively that when employees are more fulfilled and happier, they’re far more emotionally equipped to both meet and exceed the needs of customers. And that doesn’t just mean being able to greet them with a bigger smile. When employees aren’t focusing on small daily frustrations, it frees them up to think more creatively about the customer challenges they face every day.

Cats Protection, the UK’s largest feline welfare charity, is a great example of this. The charity has undergone a massive digital transformation over the past few years. Not only has the team introduced a paper-free adoption process (dubbed “Hands-Free Homing”), but it’s also shifted to digital collaboration. Both moves proved prescient given the UK’s pandemic lockdowns last year, which forced Cat Protection to close its doors to the public.

These moves paid off in a major way for the organization, its volunteers, and its cats. By speeding up the paperwork process from two weeks to just 2.5 hours, Cat Protection was able to place over 9,000 cats in new homes in the first 10 months of the year with its “Hands-Free Homing” program. Not only did this lead to happier cats in better homes, but it helped staff feel a sense of progress toward the organization’s mission of creating a world where every cat is treated with kindness.

This is the kind of work that gets people out of bed – and keeps them loving their jobs.

Simon Longbottom
As Vice President of Digital Media for Business, Simon Longbottom leads Product Marketing and Go to Market for Digital Media’s wide range of industry leading Creative Cloud and Document Cloud offerings within SMB, Mid-Market and Enterprise customers. Prior to Adobe, Simon has 20 years of experience leading Product Management and Product Marketing teams for brands such as Microsoft, Google, Nokia and Skype. Simon is from the United Kingdom and earned his Undergraduate in Physics from Loughborough University and his MBA from London Business School.


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