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Channel could plug 'digital dexterity' gap

On World Productivity Day Gartner has warned that any companies are not in a position to deliver the sort of flexibility that staff are looking for

Helping customers get into a position where they can help staff work flexibly is an area of opportunity that Gartner has identified is crying out for channel involvement.

The analyst house has found that only 7% to 18% of firms have the 'digital dexterity' to be able to adopt new ways iof working and as a result will have to turn to experts for assistance.

The pressure is on to increase collaboration and mobility and when Gartner looked at the UK it found that it lagged behind the US and Germany in being in a position to deliver digital dexterity. At the same time the analyst group found that workers here are demanding more flexibility than places like France and Japan.

"Solutions targeting new ways of work are tapping into a high-growth area, but finding the right organisations ready to exploit these technologies is challenging," said Craig Roth, research vice president at Gartner.

Gartner found that there were differences in the demand for flexible working conditions based on age and the size of organisation.

In terms of age the youngest members of staff were the most likely to want to use digital workplace products, followed by older workers. Those in the middle, between 35 and 44 were lagging behind. Gartner suggested that they were potentially fatigued with facing the routines of middle age and had become accustomed to routine.

Larger companies had better resources and were more likely to be able to deliver digital dexterity under their own steam but smaller firms would be looking for help getting the same results.

"Embracing dynamic work styles, devices, work locations and team structures can transform a business and its relationship to its staff. But digital dexterity doesn't come cheap," added Roth. "It takes investment in workplace design, mobile devices and software, and larger organizations find it easier to make this investment."

The Gartner discussion comes on World Productivity Day, which is a chance for firms to encourage customers to think about working smarter.

"The UK’s productivity problem is well-publicised. We’re used to hearing calls for government to fix the problem, but it’s not all up to Westminster. Companies need to take responsibility for their own productivity by ensuring their IT systems are helping their employees do their job well - not hindering them," said Stu Smith, head of innovation and development at KCOM.

“If you’re having a problem with productivity, start by reviewing your IT. A bad workman blames his tools, but if you’re trying to use a hammer to turn a screw, you’re not going to get far. Make sure your IT estate is as efficient as possible and your productivity levels will follow," he added.

Rufus Grig, CTO of Maintel, said that providing employees with more flexibility was one of the key steps in the move towards increasing productivity.

The firm has carried out research that found that employees had to provide staff with choices about working to ensure they were enyoing decent health and happiness.

“Flexible working is becoming recognised as an enabler of increased productivity and is steadily being implemented more successfully across UK business, as 73% believe their company has a good flexible working policy. As a result, 64% say they don’t feel micromanaged when working remotely. However as demonstrated by this survey, it’s important to note that one size does not fit all," he said.

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