Low productivity at the office can significantly affect the performance of an
organization. The employees are not motivated towards success. As a consequence,
the organization experiences inefficiencies that may eventually affect customer
service. The U.S Labour of Statistics reports that there has been a considerable
decline in productivity since 2007. How can this be so in light of innovative
technologies such as smartphones?
Low levels of productivity at the workplace are majorly the outcome of internal
issues. It is not a matter of eliminating technology in the mix. There are employers
who feel that eliminating technology can boost productivity. Conversely, the reality is
more complicated than that. The issue is not using or using technology. Rather, the
question is, are you using the right technology.
Workplace structures such as the use of office cubes that isolate employees, or the
existence of disconnected departments that have a silo mentality are all factors that
can work against you. It up to the employer to identify the internal issues that affect
productivity and work towards developing a structure and culture that promotes
Technology can be a friend in the battle against low productivity. It can be used to
connect employees, enhance workplace experience and achieve efficiency in terms
of operation. If you seek to transform your employees to an agile workforce, then
technology is the sure way to go.
How technology boosts Productivity
Technology is integral in the development of a flexible working environment. Soft
wares that allow online document sharing as well as web and video conferencing,
and instant messaging enhance flexibility in the workplace. Such technologies
eliminate the need for a daily 9 to 5 schedule. Employees get to work from home
which may be more convenient for them. Similarly, the company gets to cut on
overhead costs as the employees are equipped with technology that allows them to
In a two year study by Stanford University conducted by Stanford professor Nicholas
Bloom in partnership with China’s largest travel agency, Ctrip, the researchers
proved that the working from home option can boost productivity. When Ctrip
adopted technologies that help its employees to work remotely, the company
recorded a 50% decline in employee attrition in a span of nine months. Ctrip
experienced a 13% boost in productivity within the same period as well as 22%
reduction in overhead costs. There were fewer breaks and sick days as work
Technology transforms your employees to an agile workforce that is geared towards
success. This is because technology allows for automation of processes such as
billing, scheduling, and management of contacts. Through the use of the right
technology, a firm ensures efficiency in terms of workflow. Applications such as
Slack, or Flock offer handy solutions that allow team collaboration. Slack, for
example, allows employees to engage in direct messaging and form group channels.
This technology allows employees to collaborate on team projects and in project
management more efficiently via the online platform. There are many more task-
management soft wares and cloud-based solutions catered to meet your needs.
Therefore, the task is up to you to identify which areas in your operations require a
boost in productivity. For every area that you identify, you can rest assured that there
is a technological solution to meet that need.
Technology and Agile Working to Boost Productivity
Currently, modern organizations are seeking to incorporate agile working practices in
a bid to cut costs and boost productivity. Agile working refers to the prioritization of
performance rather than mere presenteeism. The agile organization works towards
developing trust-based relationships and innovative practices instead of holding on
to bureaucracies or hierarchies. Making this transformation involves the use of
technology in a manner that empowers employees.
In 2013, the Chief Executive of CIPD, Peter Cheese stated that agile working leads
to higher levels of employee engagement and wellbeing, which in turn has a positive
impact on workplace productivity. Agile working requires careful planning. This
entails having a clear understanding of the firm’s culture and developing a clear
vision of where the organization wants to be through moving to agile working. The
culture change starts from the leaders. The organization’s leaders need to be
informed of how the transformation to an agile workplace positively contributes to
productivity. The archaic thoughts that flexibility is only reserved for top officials
should be discounted. More and more employees are demanding for flexibility in the
workplace. Making the change not only contributes to work satisfaction but also
attracts talented employees who can contribute towards the growth of the firm.
Flexibility through the use of IT is the ‘new normal’ in the modern business
environment. Therefore, management has the task of evaluating whether the firm is
ready to embrace this new normal by determining whether they have the necessary
IT capabilities to support an agile workforce. Management needs to:
Conduct an audit of the firm’s current working practices
Conduct staff surveys to determine the employees perceptions and the overall
Determine the firm’s priorities and whether they are suitable for the agile
Develop an agile working policy
Engage in agile training to prepare the staff for an agile working environment
that harnesses the benefits of IT.
Identify HR and legal implications associated with agile working options.
Identify communications and culture change strategies that will help the
organization maximize their use of IT and adoption of agile working practices.
The best way to boost productivity in the workplace is to seek efficiency. Consider
how the firm is operating and be open to the possibility and potential of changing the
way you operate. There is a considerable hype on the shift from 9 to 5 to an agile
working organization. This hype is not in vain as entrepreneurial giants and research
cite agile working practices as effective solutions towards enhancing performance.
An agile workplace requires an effective use technology. This includes identifying
areas that are inefficient in your operations and incorporating technologies that will
enhance efficiency. Have a clear goal of what you would like to see in the
organization and make technology your ally towards achieving this change.