The implementation of new technologies is unavoidable for businesses looking to progress in the digital age. Companies are investing more in the latest IT software and intelligent devices designed to enhance productivity and performance in the workplace, with a global IT spend estimated at $3.7 trillion for 2018
However, despite the influx of technology in organisations in recent years the level of labour productivity (the efficiency output per worker) in the UK is remarkably low: there remains a 16 percent productivity gap between the UK and other nations in the G7 group.
This disparity between workplace productivity and technological advancement is not unique to British companies.
A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute analysed the “productivity puzzle” facing Western economies, finding that adoption issues and lag effects are preventing businesses from capitalising on technology. Indeed, a Gartner report has proclaimed that employees will require “extreme digital dexterity” to navigate new technology and work effectively in 2027.
Therefore, how can businesses combat dwindling productivity levels whilst maintaining the technology necessary to compete in today’s digital society?
Today there is a wealth of digital products available to support workforces and streamline tasks, yet inadequate training and an overloading of information and data can result in the opposite effect. Many employees will be familiar with the pitfalls of trying to locate information or resolve technical issues at work.
A recent study conducted by 3Gem, on behalf of Teleware, revealed that 36 percent of workers admitted to wasting their work time attempting to resolve an issue when they have forgotten valuable information. The study also highlighted how staff have missed crucial deadlines through being unable to access information properly (based on a survey of 2,000 UK employees).
With a multitude of software and solutions flooding the market, it is important that businesses ask precisely what technology they need and how this will best improve their workforce performance. For businesses whose staff are overwhelmed by information, looking at the company’s Unified Communications (UC) strategies may be helpful to simplify and organise work tasks. Technology has fuelled the multitasking capacity for workers and most will run various apps and work across projects simultaneously. Ensuring that your company has a smart solution for integrating email, video and messaging services will support employee communication and help staff make the most of their multitasking ability without feeling overloaded.
The above findings confirm that businesses should not only consider what technology they adopt, but how they embrace it with employees. Smart machines, collaborative tools and intuitive apps all have great potential to enhance employees’ work lives, and are particularly indispensable for agile working. Yet this technology demands appropriate end-user training and continued support if businesses hope to truly boost productivity.
Opportunities to Evolve
The constant changes in the realm of enterprise technology presents opportunities for companies to adapt and evolve, whilst also creating challenges for employees. The pressure for today’s workers to stay abreast of digital trends is clear; 95% of people believing they need new skills to stay relevant at work. If companies hope to see the maximum return from their digital investment they must equally ensure workforces understand these technology shifts and are equipped with the skills to use different applications.
Many organisations underestimate the value of office application training programs, such as Microsoft Office and Skype for Business, in elevating their employees’ digital capabilities. By focusing on the fundamental applications which employees use daily, business can see greater productivity as their staff learn how to properly harness the software. Individuals might also look at technical training courses such as Microsoft certifications, Cisco training and VMware courses to expand their comprehension of computer programs and grow their digital skills.
Technology has become a valuable feature of modern business and has certainly transformed work practices. In order for businesses to capitalise on their investment and see greater employee productivity, they must align their digital solutions with the needs and capabilities of their workforce.