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Staff recognise productivity value of tech investments

Two surveys, one conducted before the UK coronavirus lockdown, one after, show a shift in attitudes among employees towards modern IT

A pair of surveys, conducted in February and May this year by Censuswide, has found that just 6% of organisations are set up to deliver maximum staff productivity.

The two identical surveys, of 1,000 employees and 750 IT and HR leaders in businesses with over 250 people, reported that two-thirds believe staff efficiency is restricted by IT system limitations, an 8% increase on pre-lockdown figures.

The poll, commissioned by Citrix, revealed that 42% of HR leaders and 59% of IT leaders now believe their organisation will never see an increase in productivity without investment in better IT systems and adapting organisational culture.

In the May survey, over half (56%) of employees surveyed agree that serious change still needs to happen for their employer to be set up in a way which allows them to be the most productive they possibly can be.

The May survey reported that two-fifths (42%) of staff believe better technology can make them more efficient and focus more time on higher value tasks. This represents an increase from 29% pre-lockdown.

According to Citrix’s research, although the employees who took part in the survey agree with IT and HR leaders on the role technology plays in boosting productivity, the polls suggest a disconnect with senior management. Over half (57%) of IT leaders believe senior management still view technology as a “keeping the lights on” function rather than a “productivity enabler” – an increase from the 51% of IT leaders who took this view in February, despite the pandemic putting the role of technology firmly in the spotlight.

The survey also found that the changes implemented during lockdown, such as greater use of remote working, has made them feel more engaged in their organisation’s future. The survey reported that a third (33%) say they are involved and engaged (an increase from 21% pre-lockdown), and a further 39% agree that they know what their role is or how they can contribute to the business-wide focus on increased productivity.

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Commenting on the findings, Darren Fields, regional director for UK and Ireland at Citrix, said: “Covid-19 has upended working culture. For many organisations, lockdown measures quickly forced them further up the tech adoption curve, triggering speedy digital transformation efforts in a bid to ensure staff could work remotely and maintain ‘business as usual’.

“Despite this, many businesses have further to go in their attempts to create working environments which enable staff to perform at their best, no matter what additional disruption lies ahead.” 

Fields urged HR and IT managers to consider the role both technology and working culture play to boost employee productivity.

“Implementing up-to-date, fast and performing technology must go hand-in-hand with adjusting workplace culture if businesses are to prioritise employee experience and maximise productivity,” he said. “The reality is that organisations must make employee experience a critical business priority if they are to successfully shift to a more flexible future of work while maintaining an engaged workforce.”

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