Remote Productivity, Corporate Expectations and the Evolving Workforce

by Jeff Wiener on December 9, 2014

As technology continues to break of the chains that once bound us all to our office desks the future of employee productivity looks completely different than it did only a mere decade ago. With the rise of remote workers, mobile technology, and on-the-go productivity tools, employees are increasingly demanding seamless access to work data from anywhere on any device so that they can stay productive, and businesses would be wise to supply it for them.

Such was the message from the Global Evolving Workforce Study conducted by Dell and Intel between July 11th and September 5th, surveying almost 5,000 employees of small, medium, and large organizations across 12 countries. Respondents came from all walks of the business world: finance, manufacturing, retail, education, healthcare, media, entertainment and even government and everything in between located in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Turkey, UAE, and South Africa.

The results of the study were telling in regards to the expectations of the burgeoning mobile work force, providing six key points that businesses should use to “better attract, retain, support and motivate the global workforce.”

First, technology isn’t one-size-fits-all. Companies need to recognize that today’s remote worker does business on a variety of platforms, from smartphones, to tablets, to hybrids, to laptops. Successful businesses who encourage remote working to increase productivity need to find out what tools will help their employees be successful, noting that the study found that performance was the top priority for employees to have in their work device.

Second, the office remains the centrepiece of productivity. Sure remote working is quickly gaining traction, but the office is still the primary place to get stuff done, with 97 percent of respondents noting they spend a portion of their work week at their employer’s office. But as all of us surely know, offices can get crazy, so it’s best to not be overbearing on your expectations for actual office work. You pay for productivity, not for attendance.

Third, while companies (and countries) continue to debate the productivity levels between office workers and remote workers one thing is clear: more and more workers in the Western world believe remote workers can be just as productive, and thus are calling for less restrictive office policies. Of course not everyone believes that remote workers are as productive, with forty percent of respondents from the Middle Eastern and Asian countries surveyed noting that remote workers are inherently less productive.

Fourth, gone are the days when work meant everything. People today are seeking balance, and that balance comes in the form of a work life and a personal life. Allow for people to get work done from home and not only will you gain productivity, but you’ll have happier employees as well.

Fifth, technology plays a huge role in retention. One of four employees surveyed worldwide noted that they would be tempted to take another job if the technology provided was better and helped them be more productive. If you want to retain your employees and help them be productive, don’t skimp on the tools.

Finally, regardless of technological advances the global workplace still needs a global workforce. Don’t let advances in technology blur the fact that companies still need people, and people need to feel like part of the team. While technology can help your business, don’t forget that technology is just a tool in the hands of your greatest resource: your employees.

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