As we battled through the pandemic much of the conversation around productivity focused on the essential sectors. But now, we’ve settled into a new way of working and businesses have the time and resources to look inwards at how to improve productivity and employee wellbeing in the new hybrid workplace.
So what does it mean to be productive in 2022?
When thinking in terms of productivity, most companies will first begin to focus on specifics such as internal processes, measurable outputs, and resources. But, companies should be wary of focusing on the technical aspects of productivity at the expense of the human element. There is ample evidence to suggest that one of the most effective ways to improve productivity is simply to keep your employees happy. Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners explains, “recent research from PowWowNow found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK employees feel that they would be more productive if they could spend time working flexibly, with 40% of decision-makers agreeing that the biggest benefit experienced during lockdown was being more productive due to the absence of their commutes.
“Flexible working enables workers to establish their own peak performance times, scheduling timely breaks to optimise their efficiency. Furthermore, by trusting employees to manage their own time – and balance work with home responsibilities such as the school-run – employees will feel more incentivised to work efficiently”.
“Ultimately, workers who have the flexibility they desire are going to be happier at work, reducing their stress levels and improving their productivity overall – it’s a win-win scenario”, summarises Steve Turner, Chief Operating Officer at Totalmobile.
“In an ideal world, many of us would love the ability to operate at 100 per cent capacity all of the time”, details Terry Storrar, Managing Director UK at Leaseweb. “The reality of everyday life, however, is that staying productive can be a serious challenge. It often requires copious amounts of energy and focus that we don’t always have and can make maintaining a healthy work/life balance feel impossible. It’s important to remember that being productive shouldn’t mean doing more than you’re capable of, or working to the point of burnout. True productivity is about being efficient, streamlining processes, and prioritising what really matters”.
One of the best things an organisation can do to increase productivity is to work from the top down. When it comes to the board, “having the right people around the table is paramount”, says Markeith Allen, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Mission Driven Organisations at Diligent. “Board composition must reflect the organisation’s diversity needs in terms of skill sets, perspective, experience, and demographics (including ethnicity, race, level of experience, gender, geography, and more). Board composition also should represent constituent voices and align with strategic goals”.
With the IDC reporting approximately 50% of organisations suffered an unrecoverable data loss, it’s not hard to see 2022 as the golden age of cybercrime. And this can seriously impact a company’s profitability and productivity. Christopher Rogers, Technology Evangelist at Zerto a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company states, “the process of protecting your data by creating an extra copy is one thing, but organisations need a disaster recovery plan that focuses on limiting downtime and restoring operations in minutes or seconds, not days or weeks. Companies should consider supplementing legacy data protection and moving to continuous data protection (CDP). It’s also good practice to centre a recovery plan around the applications, not simply the data that make up an application.
“Businesses must pre-emptively not only expect an attack, but bolster their ability to recover quickly and minimise disruption and data loss. Protection alone is not enough, A recovery plan is critical for every cyber strategy. Productivity may be the key to success, but IT resilience could be the key to productivity”.
“Empowering employees with security tools and resources can help boost analyst team productivity, rewarding them with better management software and visibility into all of the alerts, and channel focus on specific types of alerts that demand time and expertise”, explains Samantha Humphries, Head of Security Strategy EMEA, Exabeam.
“To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, ‘all alerts are equal, but some are more equal than others’… investing in the right technology can help reduce the risk of burnout, improve productivity, and ultimately help security professionals spend time on the alerts that really matter”.
Just as important as providing teams with the right security tools, utilising simple technology that is easy for employees to use is key to boosting productivity.
Neil Jones, Director of CyberSecurity Evangelism at Egnyte gives the example of a cloud-based data governance solution. “Through [its] deployment, users can collaborate securely on sensitive data in the cloud. Their content can still be accessed from anywhere via their preferred devices. Freely managing and editing documents and contracts is not infringed upon, which enables business continuity. Integrating collaborative business apps like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and DocuSign helps to build productivity”.
2022 is continuing to see the rise of automation, which is a vital tool for productivity. Gregg Lalle, SVP International Sales and Strategy at ConnectWise elaborates: “automation software is crucial for organisations that want to rise to the occasion while keeping their internal operations running smoothly. When looking to minimise chaos and drive efficiency, many MSPs are turning to professional services automation (PSA) software to serve as a single source of truth across all integrated apps. Using a PSA solution to automate workflows not only improves staff productivity, it also enhances the customer experience by clarifying accountability and giving clients a more effective way to communicate with your teams”.
Although automation is undoubtedly a crucial tool, Russell Gammon, Chief Solutions Officer at Tax Systems also reminds us that “the increasing adoption of technology has undoubtedly opened doors for more opportunities, but it’s crucial that junior members of the team don’t miss out on essential training exercises that build the foundations of their expertise. Can they really understand a Corporation Tax return if they have never manually put one together?
“Automation is not always synonymous with productivity and not everyone considers it a benefit. This World Productivity Day, we encourage business leaders to evaluate what productivity means to them and how to best encourage it amongst the workforce – whatever form this may take”.