Technology trumps ‘more meeting rooms’ for workplace productivity boost

Employment & Skills | Surveys | Technology
Andrew Small, vice president, unified communications and contact centres, Global Services, BT

Nine out of ten executives and IT decision makers agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace.

Businesses that invest in digital technologies for their employees are being rewarded with a boost in productivity. That’s the key finding of a new report published today by BT, People, productivity and the digital workplace — 2018.

The report, based on a survey of 1,100 business executives and 600 IT decision makers in 11 global markets across the world, found 90% of respondents agree that mobile tools and collaboration services are improving productivity in the workplace — up from 60% in 2015.

Greater productivity is a goal for many digital transformation programmes and it has the support of employees.

However, the report found that only a quarter of executives would describe their current digital experience at work as ‘excellent’. 80% said that if they were CEO, boosting productivity would be their priority – up from just 57% in 2015.

The report suggests that there are five simple building blocks to better employee productivity – a more connected video-led workspace; easier working and collaboration away from the office; corporate apps; instant messaging services; and better devices.

When asked what would help employees work effectively at the office, 63% of executives said ‘better Wi-fi’ compared with just 28% who said “more meeting rooms”. 39% said ‘interactive smart collaboration screens’ and 32% said ‘video rooms’.

The report indicates that IT departments are keen to make the required improvements, but increasingly need help.

76% of IT decision makers said that ‘employees often don’t understand how difficult it is to make our IT work effectively’ – up from 67% in 2015.

They feel that delivering a more digital experience for employees is piling even more demands onto their already long ‘to do’ list.

For example, half of IT decision makers said that their video conferencing needs updating, up from 38% in 2015.

65% said they need to build mobile apps so employees can use internal business systems and processes wherever they are, compared to 41% in 2015. Converging voice and data systems — the technology buzz of a decade ago — is still not a reality.

60% IT decision makers said that they are still at the planning stage for ‘convergence’ — a first crucial first step in the digital transformation of their business.

IT decision makers are prioritising investments in cloud to support their collaboration and mobile services. Half already use cloud collaboration technology and 65% have plans to update their IM, video and audio conferencing services.

84% of IT decision makers agreed that ‘one day cloud will be the accepted way of delivering collaboration services’, compared with 54% in 2015.

Andrew Small, vice president, unified communications and contact centres, Global Services, BT, said: “Our research tells us that there’s a straightforward way to boost workplace productivity that doesn’t involve refitting offices. New, smart ways of working can be achieved through mobile and collaboration tools deployed as cloud-based services backed by wireless connectivity.

“Our teams of specialised professional consultants can help customers design and implement solutions that fit their needs. Digital transformation may sound daunting but ensuring employees get a great mobile and collaborative experience is a very good place to start.”

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