Article

Are status reports curbing your career?

by Staff Writer

Business effectiveness, not to mention your career success, hinges upon accurate, up-to-date knowledge of what’s happening within an organization. Whether it’s progress on a current initiative, the latest performance indicators for your department, or other critical data, you can’t make the right call if you don’t know where things stand right now. And if your ability to make fast, informed decisions is hampered, then so is your ability to effectively identify and correct problems, to jump on opportunities or respond to market forces, or to take other actions that directly have an impact on business performance – and the bottom line.

Workers spend 8.6 hours a week on status meetings

The irony is that all the time it takes to pull and compile that information about the work you’re doing, or to get status updates from others on your team, eats up time that could be spent moving your initiatives forward. According to a Harris poll on the state of status meetings, the average worker spends more than a full day each week (8.6 hours) preparing for and attending status meetings.

Know what’s even worse than all that time spent thinking about or talking about the status of work rather than moving key projects forward? Many of those hours are typically dedicated to superficial tasks that make your report look good – but that don’t necessarily improve on the depth or quality of the data it contains. Case in point: an estimated 87 percent of the time spent working on building presentation decks is focused on design – not content.

87% of our time spent building slide decks is spent on design

How to gain real-time visibility – without the ongoing time investment

Access to the most current performance data is a must for peak operational effectiveness. How then can workers efficiently access and compile real-time data to provide visibility and transparency into critical data needed to make business decisions?

The answer is dashboards.

Customized, automated dashboards pull real-time data into meaningful formats that provide actionable information at a glance. This saves time for everyone: automated dashboards reduce the work of compiling need-to-know information, and improve the ease with which recipients can interpret the data they’re looking at and determine the best next step.

To truly realize the time savings of real-time, visualized data, the work of configuring dashboards must be accessible to business users. Look for a platform that makes creating dashboards simple with pre-built widgets and blocks that let you identify the information you want to track and set up reports on your own, without IT intervention.

For maximum visibility, the optimal solution should distill your data into highly-visual formats, such as pie charts and graphs, so that you can easily spot trends and other insights without spending hours pouring over spreadsheet columns full of numbers. As an added bonus, this can transform status meetings (not just the act of preparing for said meetings) because you can shift from communicating updates and instead focus on tangible steps to take going forward that will deliver the best results.

Want to learn what other necessary workday evils can be streamlined – or even eliminated altogether – to help everyone do their best and most efficient work? Read our latest Smartsheet report: 6 Reasons Your Work Is So Dysfunctional – and What You Can Do About It.