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UK must use new technologies in the workplace to reverse productivity issues, say researchers

Researchers have called for the UK to utilise new technologies in the workplace to drive better productivity

The UK needs to embrace technology to address its productivity slowdown, according to Lancaster University researchers.

Lesley Giles, director at Lancaster University’s research and analysis firm, the Work Foundation, said the UK had the biggest productivity slowdown in the G7 group since the recession and must utilise new technologies to change this.

“We simply have to embrace the potential of digital technology, combined with the right training, culture and leadership to ensure it’s utilised to its full potential,” she said.

“However, employers need to be mindful about the ways in which they integrate technology into processes and the effects this has on individuals and their roles.”

She added that employees must be given adequate time to learn from their mistakes as new technologies enter the workplace.

This comes as part of a report from software firm, Citrix in partnership with the Work Foundation, which interviewed 1,000 workers and 500 mangers of medium and large UK enterprises.

The survey has found more than half of managers (54%) see their organisations as digitally forward thinking, this is despite the fact that the majority (62%) agree there is a correlation between technology and productivity.

More than two-thirds of the employees (69%) said they see a correlation between the two, and 80% thought technology has a positive influence at work.

Workers also see new technology as the biggest driver of better performance levels in the future (53%), ahead of changing ways of working (45%) and changing job roles (41%).

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The report also found that the majority of the employees (71%) are not allowed to work remotely, and 32% said their businesses restrict this to particular roles. However, from the managers who do offer remote working in their organisation, 23% said they thought it decreases productivity.

Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, area vice-president of Northern Europe at Citrix, said there has to be a change of mentality if the UK is to address its productivity issue.

“We have to tackle business culture once and for all, embracing the multitude of technologies available today to improve productivity,” she said.  

“We need to encourage collaboration, engage the workforce, finally clasp the working anywhere culture and, most of all, support internal innovation or ‘intrapreneurs’, who are brave enough to drive such change.”

Read more on IT technical skills

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