Small businesses depend on the motivation and productivity of their staff. With fewer employees, the work rate of each person – and especially the boss – is vital. These tips will help you use IT to become more effective.

  1.  Keep track of all your tasks in one place

If you want to get on top of a growing list of things to do, gathering all your tasks in one place is a great way to start. Microsoft Office Outlook makes it easy to track tasks and emails that need follow-up.

  1.  Take action now

Each time you pick up a piece of paper or open an email, make a habit of dealing with it there and then. Do something about it, file it for future reference or bin it. Putting papers back into your in-tray is a recipe for procrastination.

  1.  Purge unnecessary stuff

Clutter and irrelevant papers get in the way of what is important. Spend some time sorting out your office and get rid of anything that you don’t actually need.

  1.  Go wireless

Wireless networks are great for growing businesses. You can connect to the network and the internet without expensive fixed cabling. People can use their notebooks anywhere in the building – at other desks, in meetings and for presentations. Choose wireless access points and routers that support the latest high-speed Wi-Fi standards because this gives greater range and speed (and it’s compatible with older wireless networks).

  1.  Share information

Using an intranet is a great way to share key information in a team. It’s like a private company-only internet site. Setting up an intranet is a great way to get people to rethink how they store and share files.

  1.  Choose productive notebooks

Look for notebooks that have built-in productivity features. For example, HP business notebooks include HP QuickWeb, which lets you boot up your computer and get online in a matter of seconds, and HP QuickLook, which displays your Outlook diary and email without having to boot Windows.

  1.  Use collaboration software

Email isn’t the only way to collaborate digitally. Microsoft Office Groove lets you create workspaces that you can share with colleagues. They can include file libraries, image libraries, calendars and other kinds of information. When you’re online, you have access to the latest information, but when you are not connected, everything is stored on your computer and remains available and gets re-synchronized the next time you’re connected.

  1.  Go paperless

Save paper: don’t print unnecessary documents and emails. Save space and filing time: scan documents in rather than photocopy them.

  1.  Centralise your filing

Set up a central filing system, under lock and key if necessary, so that all your company’s important files are kept together (and can be copied and taken offsite as a backup). Similarly, consider investing in a file server and Windows Small Business Server software to run it, so that you can keep all your computer files in one place and control access to them.

  1.  Set up a filing system that works

Create a structure for your paper files so that it is easy to find things. Consider scanning important files into a central computer server using a scanner with a sheet feeder.