Phil Jones, MBE, Managing Director of Brother UK, picks the work tools he uses every day and couldn’t do his job without
1 Multiple screens
I have two 24-inch monitors attached to my laptop. So essentially, I have three screens running concurrently at any one time. That makes it very easy for me to multitask; for example, I can have my emails sitting on one screen and two spreadsheets on the others. It’s a very efficient way for me to work, especially when I’m dealing with lots of complex information. When I’m working away and I only have access to the laptop, I don’t feel as productive – I’m so used to constantly alt-tabbing between screens!
Interestingly, almost everyone in the Brother office has two screens on their desk. Having benefitted from an extended desktop myself, a few years ago, I gave everyone the option of having a second screen – and take up has been huge. The general consensus is that it helps enormously in terms of productivity.
2 WeSwap card
Whilst this isn’t necessarily a workplace tool, for me, a WeSwap card is a business essential as I travel a lot. It’s basically a multiple currency debit card – I can load it up with Japanese Yen, Euros or Sterling and wherever I am I can access funds from one card that sits in my wallet. There’s also an app.
It’s an incredibly handy way to hold multiple currencies. I often load it up with, say, Euros when the rate is strong, especially if I have a trip planned. And it really does take all the hassle out of going to an exchange; you can just pop to a cash machine in any country instead.
3 A3 printer
As I work for Brother, you would expect me to say that! But the reality is that every day I deal with spreadsheets and they seem to keep getting bigger. That, coupled with the fact my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, makes the ability to print out information on an A3 sheet of paper a must-have business tool.
I have my multiple screens, but often when I have to correlate multiple pieces of information at the same time, having that data on a printed page makes it much easier to consume. Even if I didn’t work at Brother, I’d still buy an A3 printer.
I use the Prezi presentation tool a lot. I much prefer it to PowerPoint. It’s a cloudbased platform, and the benefit of that is that I can write things very dynamically, across different devices and so on. I can stand on a stage and send a link to everyone; as I press a button on the stage, everyone’s screens change on their phones. It’s a very clever presentation tool.
Also, when I am away I can work on a presentation right up to the wire, then simply send the link to the conference organiser to download the latest version. That makes life much easier for them – there’s nothing worse than a keynote speaker handing in a USB stick five minutes before they are due to present!
5 Social media
Last but not least, I’d have to say social media. I firmly believe it’s important for a business to be digitally relevant in today’s modern world.
In terms of the ability to connect with people, distribute information, learn from customers, suppliers and colleagues, and generally engage with the market in realtime, social media is unparalleled. Tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn are incredibly convenient for many different reasons and have become very useful to me as well as the business, especially as they’re very accessible from multiple devices.
Internally, we also use a social media tool called Yammer that our people use to connect and engage across the company. We can post updates, manage documents, share content and notes etc. It actively encourages collaboration, which is key.