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.
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% 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. McKinsey Global Institute analysed the “productivity puzzle” facing Western economies, finding that adoption issues and lag effects are preventing businesses from capitalising on technology.
A Gartner report proclaimed that employees will require “extreme digital dexterity” to navigate new technology and work effectively in 2027.
So how can businesses combat dwindling productivity levels whilst maintaining the technology necessary to compete?
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. Employees will be familiar with the pitfalls of trying to locate information or resolve technical issues at work.
A 3Gem study, on behalf of Teleware, revealed 36% of workers were wasting their time attempting to resolve an issue when they have forgotten valuable information. The study also highlighted how staff missed crucial deadlines through being unable to access information properly.
With a multitude of software and solutions flooding the market, it is important that businesses ask what technology is needed and how this will best improve 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 your company has a smart solution for integrating email, video and messaging services will support employee communication and help staff make the most of multitasking ability without feeling overloaded.
The above findings confirm businesses should not only consider what technology is adopted, but how employees embrace it. 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.
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 believe they need new skills to stay relevant at work. If bosses hope to see the maximum return from digital investment they must ensure workforces understand these technology shifts.
Many organisations underestimate the value of office application training programs, such as Microsoft Office and Skype for Business, in elevating employees’ digital capabilities. By focusing on the fundamental applications which employees use daily, business can see greater productivity as staff learn how to properly harness the software. Individuals might also look at technical training courses to expand 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.
John Brett is technical operations manager of Nexus Open Systems
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