We live in an age of instant communication. We can host a meeting with just a few clicks, complete a Google search in 0.5 seconds, and send and receive an email almost instantly. But truly how fast is the modern office? Is it any quicker than 10 or even 20 years ago?

In the business world, the phrase “time is money” could not be more true, but the extent to which organisations are using this phrase to drive purchase decisions or influence how teams are built is still up for debate. It is widely accepted that efficiency and productivity are both key to a profitable and successful office environment and culture. However, according to research by Vouchercloud, the average worker in the UK is only productive for three in every eight hours. A whole number of factors can influence an employee’s productivity, only some of which organisations can control.

In fact, how people work has been a subject of research for psychologists and the scientific community for years, with many organizations investing considerable time and efforts into improving their understanding of how productive teams work. Google for example, has identified ‘psychological safety’ as the key ingredient to successful and productive teams. Research from Google’s Project Aristotle revealed that the best teams are those where all members feel safe to contribute without being judged by their peers.

Another factor contributing to office and team productivity comes in the form of a younger generation beginning to dominate the workplace. Millennials – the first generation that has grown up with mobile phones, social media and email – today makes up the greatest proportion of the workforce. These individuals are technology driven and arguably work entirely differently to their older (and to an extent younger) colleagues, meaning that making the modern office as fast and productive as possible has become an even more important priority

For example, millennials are more collaborative and take a more digital-first approach than older generations, so introducing breakout spaces or providing easy access to technology that can simplify manual or paper-heavy processes, such as multi-function printers, can have a dramatic impact on office speed. On the other hand, older employees such as ‘Generation X-ers’ might look for functionality and ease of use. This means that it’s vital for businesses to consider how that category of employees interacts with technology so that devices can work for the users and not the other way around. Navigating various user demands can be done by developing solutions that are simple-to-use yet customisable. With different generations all in the same workforce, office environments must evolve to meet the productivity issues and obstacles that risk slowing down teams.

In addition, digital transformation continues to be a key focus area for businesses, and for good reason. With the number of networked devices expected to grow to 20.6bn by next year, it’s easy to visualise how companies digitalising their workplaces can improve employee efficiency. Moreover, digitising data holds a huge benefit for businesses in that it can help increase visibility and efficiency across the board. In today’s highly competitive market, businesses who embrace digital transformation, and as a result have speed on their side, stand a better chance to be one step ahead of their rivals.

This is especially important from a customer perspective as unnecessary delays due to productivity challenges can have a dramatic impact on experience. Whether it be hardware or software, a big part of keeping the modern office fast is ensuring that technology is both reliable and performance driven.

The effect of this shift in the way the modern office operates is increasingly impactful upon SME’s due to the cost of driving efficiency with restricted budgets.

At Lexmark, we’ve looked to help our customers in this space by providing productive, reliable and cost effective printing and document management solutions, which help reduce paper-based processes, allowing them to free up time in administration and excel in areas where their expertise lie.

We are also helping to mitigate and support demand for speed by minimising the time it takes to go from clicking “print”, to one of our devices putting a document onto paper. In fact, our latest range of enterprise monochrome devices can take a single page document from click to print in under four seconds, and produce between 60 and 70 pages per minute. No longer must businesses plan or schedule print jobs ahead of time.

Increasing speed in the modern office is about providing an environment which encourages employees to spend more time working and less time completing unnecessary tasks or waiting for technology to deliver. Lexmark printers can help companies to streamline their day-to-day activities, offering reliable, secure, user-friendly printing and sharing of information and documents at a speed that reduces down time and focuses staff on activity that adds value.