How businesses can avoid the ‘digital deadlock’, drive productivity and engage workforces

- Posted in: Business
How businesses can avoid the ‘digital deadlock’, drive productivity and engage workforces

With working environments constantly adapting to maximise the benefits of new technologies, more and more organisations are in the process of digital transformation (DX).

In fact, according to recent research from IDC Executive Brief ‘The Right Tools for the Job’ – sponsored by Targus – 95 per cent of UK firms are either planning or engaging in the application of digital technologies to create new business models, develop enhanced experiences and improve financial performance.

With this change comes a fundamental shift in the way organisations behave and operate – from the way they create new products and services, to how they engage employees and stakeholders. Failure to manage this change has resulted in many businesses facing the ‘digital deadlock’ – a term coined by IDC that describes the barriers to achieving true digital transformation.

However, with the right approach and accessories in place, there is no reason transformation projects have to stall, and every reason that they can reach their full potential, going on to drive greater employee productivity, collaboration and engagement.

Uncovering the power of accessories on productivity

The UK is still playing catch-up with the rest of the G7 in terms of productivity, with figures from the Office for National Statistics highlighting the recent decline in output per capita.

With organisations very aware of this dip, it’s unsurprising that productivity is a key consideration and driver for businesses when making changes to the working environment, with 60 per cent citing this as a central theme.

Often overlooked, workplace accessories – such as privacy screens, cable locks and universal docking stations – are not top of the business agenda, or are yet to be taken seriously in some quarters, with over half of respondents in a recent survey stating that accessories were not needed, or that they did not see the benefit of them.

What many organisations may not be aware of, however, is that failure to provide employees with the right tools for the job can lead to a significant productivity dip, with significant numbers of helpdesk inquiries and complaints showing logs relating to power requirements, peripherals and missing accessories cited in the Targus and IDC study.

However, while four in five (77 per cent) IT managers admitted to receiving complaints relating to missing or unavailable accessories, what makes an interesting observation is that fewer issues are reported to IT than to line managers. These findings suggest IT departments, which could be responsible for accessory deployments, may be in some way detached from the real-life experiences of those using them.

Utilising environments for greater collaboration

One way to drive productivity amongst employees is to change the physical aspects of a working environment, understanding that not all employees work in the same way. Recognising this, 79 per cent of digitally advanced organisations claimed to know the productivity value of collaborative working and hot-desking accessories.

To facilitate greater collaboration, three in five (61 per cent) firms recently admitted to making changes to the accessories they offer, with more than half (59 per cent) doing so to adapt to new changes to technology.

As an increasing number of employees are now required to work remotely – three in five (61 per cent) claimed their staff have roles that involve some form of travel, and around a quarter (23 per cent) managing more flexible, non-deskbound roles – mobility has changed the way staff achieve results. 

With many individuals now relying on accessories to create the same working experience they would get when working from the office – when working remotely or from home – it is essential employers are providing the right tools and technologies to make this possible.

Another key driver behind changing working environments will be the continued development of augmented reality (AR), and how the technology will be used to create virtual workspaces and offices, for employees that chose to work remotely. Not only does this give all members of staff the same sense of community, which may be lost when colleagues are not physically in the same office, it will also enable improved levels of collaboration, an essential driver to employee productivity.

Choosing the right tools to attract the best talent

With technology transcending geographical locations, there have never been more opportunities for talented workers to jump ship and move onto alternative employers.

Understanding the importance of keeping hold of valuable members of staff, a third  (33 per cent) of organisations are changing their working environments to retain talent, while the same number of respondents see the benefits of mobile working environments for talent retention. Now, with just 6 per cent of people in the UK working a typical 9-5 job, flexibility is one of the most desirable workplace benefits an employer can offer.

In order to prepare for tomorrow, leaders need to focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent, looking after both new and existing employees. This is enhanced by providing them with the right tools and technologies to perform, as well as the right environments in which to share knowledge, collaborate and engage customers.

Enterprises of today are constantly being challenged to create new products quicker and improve the services they offer, all while maintaining a presence in the fast-moving realm of emerging technologies.

However, this is where we often go wrong – assuming that digital transformation is all about deploying new or cutting-edge technology, when it is just as much about people. For organisations that have been successful in their digital transformation efforts, employee engagement and organisational culture is not an after-thought, but part of a holistic approach.

As working environments continue to adapt to maximise the benefits of new technologies and digital capabilities, projects will not go as planned without the buy-in, engagement and support of employees and the way they work.

Whether being used to enable flexible/remote working, drive digital transformation, introduce data-driven work environments or encourage heightened productivity, technology will be at the heart of businesses and the future of work for many years to come. However, it’s just as important that organisations do not forget about the people along the way.

Marcus Harvey, Regional Director of Commercial Business EMEA, Targus.