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Technology 'geeks' the most productive employees, says research

Employees who push back the boundaries of technology at work are likely to be the most productive and effective workers in any organisation.

Productive employees do what it takes to get the job done, even if it means bending the rules by downloading the latest applications or using their own devices at work, research by the Corporate Executive Board reveals.

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“In the past, people thought of early adopters as power users and technology geeks. What we saw was that most early adopters were not technology obsessives, but people who felt they could be even more productive by using new technology,” said Mark Tonsetic, senior research director in the CEB IT technology practice .

But employers can capitalise on the early adopters by watching how they use technology and extending those devices across the organisation.

Companies such as Ford and pharmaceuticals firm Novartis have created early adopter groups to pilot new technologies that could bring wider benefits to the business.

One insurance company, for example, allowed a cross-section of employees to choose their own IT, after discovering they were among the most productive in the organisation.

It was able to pay for the project after discovering it could cut back on the IT provided to half of the workforce that were under-using their workplace computers.

“The new model we are dancing towards is a managed free market, in which they channel resources to groups that have the greatest  need. They subsidise that by taking away from the segment where a laptop and a desktop are frankly too much,” said Tonsetic.

But the most important concern for employees was not whether they were allowed to bring in their own devices, but whether the technology they use at work is simple to use, the research revealed.

“It did not matter if the device was provided by the company that was fine, as long as it was easy to use,” he said.


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