Here’s an Alternative to All Those Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are a popular choice for many corporate teams, and they can make life easier in some cases. They’re accessible and familiar. However, while spreadsheets work in some scenarios, they aren’t the best option for all purposes. In the wrong context, a spreadsheet can be slow, inefficient, and error-prone. Consider the advantages of using an alternative to spreadsheets: improved productivity and decreased the risk of errors. Why not opt for a tool that makes work more efficient and more enjoyable?

Does this sound familiar? Spreadsheet = Plan A

Modern office workers can’t avoid spreadsheets entirely.
Sales people use spreadsheets to keep track of leads and sales. The operations department uses them to manage projects and assign resources. Finance teams use spreadsheets to make invoices, track payments, and perform analyses. In marketing, teams use spreadsheets for content planning, campaign timelines, and product launches.

And how about line managers, team leaders and HR professionals? The default move is to use a spreadsheet for everything from candidate tracking to end-of-year reviews and staff scheduling.

It all adds up to to billions of columns, cells, filters and macros created, updated, and adjusted every single day.

Well, okay: Is there anything wrong with that?

Context switching = weakened focus + lost productivity

There are times when spreadsheets are the right tool to get a job done.

Spreadsheets are good at holding a lot of details in one place. What they’re less good at is offering context. It’s hard to see the bigger picture of a project. And the more data a spreadsheet holds, the more difficult it is to access the details you need. In short, spreadsheets can hold a lot of data, but they don’t make the data easy to use.

Here’s an example: a marketing team manages a complex multichannel campaign via spreadsheets. To do so, they shuffle between different documents: project timelines, freelancer management, ad placement and contractor quotes, etc. Some information is stored in different tabs, some in separate spreadsheets, some in other documents, and some in other apps entirely.

This setup requires constant context switching.

Context switching interrupts our mental flow and overloads our brains. It hinders creativity, blocks focus, and prevents us from doing deep work. A Teamup calendar in table view is great for viewing and sorting information in context. See more here:

How to Tag and Track Context

 

Constantly shifting focus in the jungle of apps

When we spend a lot of time on shallow work, we lose both productivity and creativity.

The constant pausing and switching to find relevant information inhibits focus. Fight this disruption by creating one central hub for all information related to a project or workflow. This will save you time and help you focus better.

Use a calendar as a hub of pointers to keep information in context. All the necessary documents can be linked in one place, accessible by the whole team for any purpose.

Managing Information Silos with a Centralized Hub

Many time, we use different tools in order to “see” data in different ways. With Teamup, you can switch between different calendar views to do the same thing. No need to jump into another app.

For example, instead of doing annual planning in one tool (like a shared calendar), then getting to the detailed execution in a spreadsheet, use Teamup for both. Start with long-term planning in the Year view, plan project phases in Timeline view, and assign tasks in Weekly or Daily view. And you can review and sort data for any project, date range, or department in Table view, a familiar, spreadsheet-like view with columns and rows.

Teamup makes it easy to capture information in context and use it in a familiar layout similar to a spreadsheet. Click To Tweet

Teamup’s versatile calendar views allow teams to visualize data in different ways. Do more effective work in the moment and gain additional insights to keep improving.

More data, more risk of error with spreadsheets

Another problem with using spreadsheets too much is that it’s easy to make mistakes. If you have a lot of information in the spreadsheet, it’s easy to accidentally change something or lose track of what you changed. Of course, this causes problems for other people who use the same spreadsheet.

Even a small mistake in an accounting spreadsheet can lead to inconvenient consequences. Preventing errors matters for good work. Setting up a visual system that’s effortless for the whole team improves the experience for the team and clients alike.

When spreadsheets grow very big, they become slow and hard to navigate. The risk of making mistakes or losing data by simple oversight grows. Think about this case in the UK: 16,000 covid cases got lost just because of an Excel sheet saved in the wrong format, a small error with big consequences!

Mobile productivity requires version control

If people download spreadsheets on their own and share them by email, or if they don’t sync them correctly, teams can’t be sure they’re working on the same version of the file. This causes problems when different people are trying to work on the same project.

Spreadsheets aren’t the best tool to use when you’re away from a computer. It’s a problem for knowledge workers who might want to quickly update a project report after a meeting, for example. But it’s an even bigger problem for ground workers who might not have a chance to sit at a computer and update different spreadsheets.

Typing data in small table cells on a mobile interface equals easy mistakes and growing frustration. A more user-friendly mobile system can help your team stay updated, even with complex and fast-changing project details. The right tool, used the right way, helps minimize stress and increase operational efficiency. If a room booking operation as dynamic and complex as the one at the World Economic Forum can replace spreadsheets with a calendar system, maybe your team can get inspired, too.

Choosing the right tool for the job

When managing complex projects over longer periods of time, there are more optimal solutions than error-prone and laborious spreadsheets.

A transition to another service might feel daunting at first. It can take time to get the team on board as well. But the investment will pay itself back over time in improved team productivity and operational excellence.

Check out Teamup’s live demos and explore a whole new dimension of possibilities!