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Use digital technology to enhance own efficiency

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft‘ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to critically evaluate the application of different types of technology which can enhance your efficiency at work. A selection of these technologies are discussed below:

Email

Email allows us to communicate and share information with others cheaply, quickly and efficiently.

However, email can be seen as impersonal and we must be careful of how the tone of an email may be perceived by others. Secure, encrypted email must be used to ensure confidentiality and there are other security issues, such as malware, hacking and viruses that must be considered as part of your organisation’s IT policy. A double-edged sword of email is that communications can be sent at any time. Whilst this can mean that tasks can be performed at any time, it can blur the lines between our personal and professional lives, especially if our phone is constantly ‘pinging’ with new emails messages. You may wish to implement a policy of only sending/receiving emails at certain times.

Electronic reporting systems

Electronic reporting systems can be used to quickly generate up-to-date information and statistics about your organisation. For example, your system may allow you to see at a glance how many incidents/accidents have occurred in your organisation over the past week, month etc.

However, the report will only be useful if the data is recorded consistently and accurately. Therefore, you will require policies, procedures and training so that team members understand how to use the systems correctly. Electronic reporting systems may also be subject to technical issues.

Specialist software for care plans/auditing

Your organisation may use proprietary software for various business functions, including care planning and auditing. These systems can make business processes quicker and easier as well as have options for management to generate reports (see above).

However, they may be subject to technical issues. For example, if care plan software is accessed via the mobile network and a service user lives in an area that doesn’t have good reception, the system may be inaccessible.

E-learning software

E-learning software can increase efficiency because it allows training to be completed at a time and place that is convenient to the learner. This also reduces the costs associated with travel and venue as well as the cost of the trainer. It was also a useful method of delivering training during the Covid-19 pandemic because it meant that learners were able to avoid close proximity to one another.

However, this type of training is only useful for knowledge-based learning. Practical skills cannot be assessed be this way and subjective topics cannot be discussed. There is also a question of the authenticity of assessment using this method. There is no way to be sure that the learning is completed by the person it was intended for or if they even read/listened to/watched the learning materials.

Social media systems/platforms

Social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, can be great channels to communicate with your audience. This could include marketing within your community or private work-related discussions. For example, you may use private groups on these platforms to have discussions with colleagues or partners.

However, these systems may blur the lines between an individual’s professional and personal lives and could lead to relationships becoming more informal and professional practice not being observed. It may also lead to team members discussing work-related subjects in their personal time, which can affect their work-life balance.

Electronic conferencing/webinars

Although electronic conferencing and webinar software, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom can be a little less impersonal than face-to-face communications, it does allow meetings to be carried out quickly, cheaply and easily. It can be particularly useful if delegates are widely spread geographically. Technical issues can be a barrier to using this technology, however, software has become more robust and reliable in recent years.

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