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Blog · 21 Mar 2018

Five ways to make your people more productive

Over a third of employees aren't as productive as they could be. How can organisations use technology to make their people more productive?

Low productivity’s long been a problem for government and business

According to the United Nations Development Policy & Analysis Division slowdown in productivity growth is one of the most prominent features of the world economy in recent years. And over a third of employees admit they’re not working as efficiently as they could be.

It makes for stark reading. But as they say in the movies, it doesn’t have to be this way. In our latest research, we spoke to over 1,100 end users and 600 IT decision makers to understand what they’re putting at the top of their to-do list. Here, we explore five ways you can use technology to make your people more productive.

1. Understand what’s best for your business

Making your teams more efficient doesn’t mean pulling all your systems apart, ripping them out and getting in new kit. Instead, it’s about looking at what you already have, and seeing how you can use it to work smarter, not harder.

When your employees are all over the world, keeping them connected is a top priority. Sixty three per cent of employees want better wi-fi in the office, and 62 per cent want their CEOs to invest in the technology they use when they’re on the move. In contrast, of the people working flexible hours and in different locations, only 28 per cent are asking for more meeting rooms.

Others say that instant messaging and screen sharing are bridging the international gaps in their business, letting people bounce ideas around and work together in real-time.

By understanding how your people like to collaborate, you can give them the right tools for the job.

2. Make the most of the cloud

Cloud-based services make it easier to set up new users, circulate policies and keep software up to date. 1 in 2 IT decision makers are already using it for their cloud collaboration technology, and 8 in 10 recognise it will be the accepted way of delivering collaboration services.

Collaborating through the cloud takes the pressure off your internal systems. By opening up out-of-the-office access to things like remote video conferencing, you’ll relieve the bandwidth bottlenecks it can cause on your in-house networks. And when your servers are less stressed, your teams are too.

Our cloud collaboration portfolio is now being used by more than one million employees of global organisations and we’ve been named a Leader (for the second year running) by Gartner Inc. in their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Worldwide .

3. Train your teams to use the tools they already have

People are more productive when they feel confident in what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it. Half the people we spoke to told us they don’t know how to use their organisation’s collaboration apps properly, and it’s holding them back. So an easy win is to make sure every person on your team can host a web conference, share their screen or log in to their desktop from home.

It doesn’t have to be a long slog, either. With a proper plan in place, it can take as little as three months to get everyone up to speed. With our approach we’ve seen the numbers of people using their collaboration tech jump from 30 per cent to 80 per cent.

4. Get better business apps

A lot of the people we asked told us it’s hard for them to work on the go. They want to be more efficient, but there aren’t the processes in place to let them update their data and documents when they’re out of the office. And right now, only 4 in 10 can do simple things like claim expenses on their mobile.

There’s also a huge increase in people using instant messaging. Rather than emailing, people are using messaging apps to chat and collaborate. They just make it easier to talk. What’s more 62 per cent said it’s easier to approach their CEOs and senior directors.

So bring the personal to the professional. Find apps like Skype and Spark that work for your business, just like at home.

5. Make sure your devices are up to scratch

Nothing beats a face to face meeting. But for global organisations, getting people together in the same room is practically impossible. It’s why video conferencing is so successful at helping people be more productive. But the quality is only as good as the equipment you’re using.

7 out of 10 people we spoke to said their personal smartphone’s better than the one their IT teams gives them. And they told us they’d like smarter, more interactive smart collaboration screens, so they can swipe and transfer a document from the small screen of their mobile to a larger one across the room. (That way, they can share it with their team.)

It’s touch-and-feel tools like this that are making investing in newer phones, tablets and smartscreens, or even some simple upgrades, one of the top priorities for IT decision makers.

Unified communications make it easier for you to work together and simpler for you to stay up to date. They bring your tools under one manageable umbrella, help your IT teams keep everything running as normal, and give them the breathing room to upgrade to the latest technology.