The right technology—a connected ecosystem of devices—can help us get the
most out of remote work. Here’s how.
For busy employees in a blended context, where some are remote and others are at the
office, there are as many obstacles to productivity as there are enablers. We want the best
of both worlds, in person and from home.
On the one hand, many studies suggest that working remotely makes employees happier.
According to one study from Oxford University, this level of satisfaction matters
commercially speaking, as happy employees are 13% more productive than unhappy ones.
Indeed, in this era of working from home and from the office in a flexible pattern, what we
at Samsung call ‘fluid working,’ multiple studies suggest that employees are happier and feel
more valued. But respondents in one survey also emphasised the importance of staying in
touch, and that staying in regular, engaged communication is more important than ever for
To stay in touch, we now often switch between multiple mediums and several devices
– going from direct messages to emails and then to a video call during which we share a
Google Doc. All this technology, from the devices to the platforms, has enabled a massive
shift towards working away from the office.
But, for all its advantages, working remotely is not without its challenges. Attention traps,
from video calls to direct messages, abound.
In 2019, before remote working became standard practice, 67% of office workers in one
survey said that meetings were often a hindrance to getting things done. Nearly half (49%)
of respondents said that meetings drained between 5-10 hours of productive time each
Now, in 2022, some studies suggest that the problem of unproductive meetings has been
magnified. 83% of employees in one survey said they spent up to a third of their
workweek in meetings, and 71% of professionals waste time every week due to unnecessary
or cancelled meetings. Each month, 31 hours were reported as spent on unproductive
meetings (nearly a full working week).
But there is a way to improve productivity without losing the benefit of video calls, group
chats, et al. Better tools for communication cut down on the frequency and maximise the
benefits. In fact, the right technology can help us make the most efficient use of
communication, whether remote or face-to-face, as not every message should be a
Better communication beyond video calls
Now that many meetings are video calls, new doors to distraction open up. But meeting
over video is also essential to remote work, and so it should be considered strategically,
with a clear approach to boost its usefulness.
According to an article from the BBC, too many video calls can have a negative impact on
your alertness. Speaking generally, a chat over video demands a lot of cognitive effort. Put
simply, we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues than when we are face-to-face.
Our brains are wired to socialise in person, and we wind up expending more energy reading
the room when we are remote.
Research has consistently shown that fewer team meetings may increase productivity. But
for some jobs, they are essential for culture and connection, allowing employees to
collaborate and conceptualise across teams.
There are some good examples on how to get the most out of meetings. In one experiment,
in which there was a deliberate effort to reduce the number of meetings, stress went down,
productivity went up, and communications outside of meetings were much more efficient.
Reducing the number of video calls meant that employees more often speak directly to each
other to solve problems and accomplish tasks.
Considering these findings, a clear picture begins to emerge: the technology we need for
work today should facilitate switching between these different mindsets. When employees
are equipped with devices and applications that are well connected and sit in an intuitive
ecosystem, these employees can switch between contexts more easily, and that helps them
to manage time more effectively.
The reality is that work is now so fluid that it is hard to fully predict how a workweek (or
even your afternoon) will unfold. But there are tools to help manage time well by giving you
an accurate view of how long you spend on different applications.
Opting for devices with built-in 4G LTE connectivity, like the Samsung Galaxy Book, can also
optimise your time by ensuring you stay online without interruption, wherever you find
Smarter multitasking with marginal gains
A study conducted by Microsoft found that, in long meetings with more people, many
employees will use the occasion to multitask. One answer to this problem is to have smaller meetings with focused discussions. But multitasking is also somewhat unavoidable when
you have many things you accomplish at once.
Purpose-built technology allows us to juggle multiple things at once more easily, and
empowers us to shut out the pings and focus attentively on one task. If you find that you are
getting distracted by calls or notifications, for example, you can shift a Samsung Galaxy Book
into Focus Mode, which filters all incoming notification and apps.
To manage your time at large, there are tools such as the Digital Wellbeing app, which is
available on any Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet. This feature displays an app
dashboard, so that it’s easy for employees to see how much time they’ve spent on any
application, including breakdowns by day, by hour and by app. This information makes it
easy to identify where time is being wasted – such as daily meeting that could be one
singular planning conversation.
To match the unpredictability of fluid working, adaptability to different situations is the best
way to evaluate technology to get the job done.
Imagine you’re in a meeting and you remember things better if you jot down notes by hand.
With the Samsung S-Pen, you can write things out using the stylus on your smartphone or
tablet. If you then needed to send around notes from the meeting, the Samsung Notes App
will convert your handwriting into text that you can copy and paste anywhere.
The time you save – from not having to rewrite your notes, finding a pen with viable ink,
putting your finger on a blank page – adds up. A well connected technology ecosystem has
all sorts of these ‘marginal gains’ built in.
But what are marginal gains?
In 2012, Sir David John Brailsford, a British cycling coach, broke down the concept for the
BBC, and argued for its application outside of riding a bike.
“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think
of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase
when you put them all together.”
According to the BBC, some of today’s most innovative companies apply a marginal gains
approach. Every year, for example, Google runs 12,000 data-driven experiments to discover
many tiny weaknesses and then make as many improvements as possible. The gains add up.
At Samsung, we think about working fluidly – switching between contexts and devices – in
the same way. We’ve paid close attention to unlocking many small efficiencies that
streamline working using technology.
Let’s say, you’ve made some amends to your presentation while you were out of the office
on your Galaxy Z Fold4 phone. Now that you’re back at the office, you want to open the
same presentation on your Samsung Galaxy Book. Just add a monitor
1 or use your Galaxy
Tab S8 as a second screen for an extended display. Or, using Samsung DeX, you could
present the entire thing from your Galaxy smartphone.
For those on tight deadlines who need to collaborate across teams, QuickShare allows you
to send files between your own devices and with other Galaxy users quickly without
compromising on quality.
By bringing your mobile apps to your Galaxy Book, Link To Windows makes these inter-device changes happen more swiftly, enabling a smoother transition between your
devices—and, with Recent Apps, saving your place where you left off to pick up on another
These small time-saving gains, when added together, allow Galaxy devices to work together
seamlessly, and employees to juggle different settings and ways of collaborating as
smoothly as possible, boosting overall productivity.