Maxine Park, solicitor and co-founder of digital dictation and transcription service provider DictateNow, argues that businesses of every size can increase productivity, efficiency and profitability by talking more and
Organisations seeking to improve staff productivity often overlook time spent typing. Executives hired for their ability to sell, solve problems, create solutions, train, explain, present, negotiate and care for customers continue to treat typing as a core skill. It makes no sense for valuable assets to waste time typing reports, presentations, documents, letters, even long emails, when they could be doing what they were hired to do.
Everyone thinks they are quicker, but in reality the composition typing speed is about 15 words per minute (wpm) for the average amateur typist. However, that same individual can dictate at more than 100 wpm, producing a 3,000 word report in 30 minutes compared to more than three hours if typing.
Talking instead of typing allows employees to utilise the skills for which they were originally employed and helps the business grow. It can be no surprise that the biggest users of digital dictation are the legal and healthcare sectors, where managers have long recognised the value of keeping skilled people away from the keyboard – often a good place to hide and take it easy.
Thanks to mobile technology, dictation is available to everyone, anywhere, with secure applications for smartphones, iPad, iTouch and BlackBerry allowing onetouch recording. Importantly, users don’t have to worry about getting it right first time, they can return to any point within a dictation and re-record passages or insert new sections.
Digital sound files need transcribing, but once recorded, users can prioritise their recordings and specify a time for the transcription to be completed. Notes on formatting, pronunciation and spelling can be added to ensure the finished transcription requires little amendment on its return.
If a business has the necessary internal resources, the dictation can be routed direct to them for transcription, or it can be outsourced to an external transcription service provider, ideally based in the UK.
Although the transcription process is completely confidential, it’s important to consider whether anyone can overhear or record the dictation, to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of redundancies, shop closures, product launches etc..
Typists can be granted remote access to client systems, ensuring sensitive data never leaves the client’s servers and removing doubts over potential security breaches. Businesses outsourcing sensitive work should seek service providers that are ISO 27001:2013 certified – the international standard for information security management.
Work being outsourced is likely to include data covered by the Data Protection Act. Any breach is the responsibility of the business that outsourced the work, so it’s essential that businesses check the level of security provided, looking at the encryption used for sending and receiving work, the storage of finished documents, the location of the typists etc..
Despite the hype, for most users, voice recognition software remains okay for basic note taking and has a part to play, but will never replace the latest transcription services available via handheld devices, backed by experienced, qualified secretaries.
Regional accents, background noise and pronunciation often lead to problems, to say nothing of the obvious words that cause trouble for even the best transcription typists: council and counsel; affect and effect; Walsall and Warsaw even. And of course, unlike an experienced secretary, voice recognition software does not format the document according to a user’s specific requirements.
If more UK businesses used dictation like the legal and healthcare sectors, supported by transcription service providers charging by the minute, based on dictation length, with no contracts, on a pay-as-you-go basis, they would increase productivity and achieve greater efficiency.
The flexibility the process offers should appeal to any proactive UK business, allowing executives to make better use of their time in the office and utilise time wasted in the car, on the train and commuting to and from work.
It’s time to work smarter not harder, and talking more and typing less is a simple step every business can and should take in what remains a challenging economy.
DictateNow provides fast, reliable and confidential digital dictation and transcription services. With a large pool of experienced typists, all based in the UK, it serves a wide variety of sectors, including legal services, accountancy, medical, property and the public sector.