Remote Working: 3 Ways Technology Can Close The Productivity Gap

People in various remote working scenarios

Now, more than ever, we’re seeing a rapid change in the way the world does business, and where the world does business from, making technology more essential than ever. And when it comes to getting work done, 71% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use desktops as their primary computer, which can make working at home or remote working, a huge challenge for many and has greatly increased the demand for mobile, work-from-home devices.

If there’s one thing that current events have shown, it is that nothing will be the same again. In particular, the way we work. The new workforce, now spanning the different work styles of five generations, has already changed the way our businesses are organized.

Our workplaces have to be far more flexible.

Remote workplaces need to support the shiny, new technologies we’re increasingly used to as consumers, while delivering the superior performance and reliability that business demands. Work is no longer a designated space in the office but an activity that we do, when and where we choose, whether that’s a coffee shop or in a home office.

77 percent (%) of people believe remote working is here to stay

Even now, current events are changing the balance in our working lives. Remote working that was once a nice-to-have for employees is now a necessity. As the new norm, some 70% of companies either encourage or even require people to work remotely.
And it’s not just a short-term change. Now that move to remote working has been made there’s no going back. Most people (77%) believe it is here to stay.

Mind the productivity gap

Well, that’s not a bad thing, is it, if we’ve been working towards more flexible, remote working for a while? Indeed, much of the structure is in place. What has changed is the sheer speed with which we’ve moved from mainly office-based workers to remote workers. Events have meant that there was little notice for IT and no time to gear up preparations.

While this has been a test of the inventiveness and resourcefulness of companies and individuals, it’s main impact has been on productivity, a so-called productivity gap which is loosely defined as “…a sustained difference in measured output per worker…”.

3 steps to make remote working work for you

We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they’re at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”
– Sir Richard Branson

1. Get the right remote working technology

57% of companies offered additional tech or tools for remote working.
If you have you been holding back from investing in remote technologies to see if it’s just a temporary phase, don’t. Invest now or miss out. Any investment made today won’t be wasted. But be selective.

Investing in remote working doesn’t mean giving the same technology to all. Individual employees will benefit from different devices to help them work most productively, just as they do in the office. So, consider for different employees what is the technology that works best for them.

  • Should it be portable?

Even in the office, people like the flexibility to take their laptops into meetings and elsewhere. For those on the go, mobility is essential. But even those working remotely in one spot, such as the home office, might appreciate the flexibility of a mobile device that allows them to move from desk to kitchen table or elsewhere.

  • What will help their productivity?

Those who regularly work with large spreadsheets or big graphics will find their work hampered by switching to a small screen device. Make sure that they have access to a large second monitor.

  • Do they need extra power?

Engineers, designers and the like who need to work remotely must have access to mobile and desktop versions of the workstations they use in the office, so there’s no compromise on performance or productivity.

Without the familiarity of well-used systems and processes in place, it is simply taking more time to do less work.

In fact, our research shows that more than a third (37%) of employees believe they don’t work as productively when they are working remotely, as they do in the office.

Such a drop in productivity is a hard hit for any business. But it is possible to plug the gap by following these key steps to take advantage of the technology that makes remote working easier and more efficient.

2. Make it all about team-work

38% of companies introduced more team communications software for remote workers.

Although remote-working individuals may be physically separate, they are very much part of a virtual team that needs to be constantly in touch. So there is not surprisingly a much greater reliance on having powerful, easy-to-use communication and collaboration software, such as Microsoft Teams.

To get the most from it, you should consider:

  • Hard to beat hardware that is powerful and reliable enough to run conferencing software smoothly without constant refreshes and restarts. Simple plug-and-play conferencing, such as hot buttons to start and stop meetings, aids productivity by reducing time wasted.
  • Get everyone in the picture – make sure everyone has access to video conferencing to raise visibility and prevent the sense of isolation that can come with remote working. It doesn’t matter if there are various video-conferencing technologies in use across the enterprise. Simply decide on the one you want to use and stick with that.
  • Take sound advice – Pick accessories that make it easier to work efficiently, such as noise-cancelling headphones for better audio on calls and distraction-free working.

3. Train employees to be their own tech support

37% of companies supplied training materials on remote technologies.
No amount of tech is useful, if people find it too complicated to work or it’s unreliable. How much working time is lost by people hanging on the phone trying to get through to the IT help desk or once a problem is reported waiting for it to be sorted?

It’s never too late to prepare your people to work more productively by providing training on the technology–hardware and software–that they use. This not only includes advice on work devices, such as laptops or workstations, but also how to make the most of their remote setup, such as improving broadband signals.

The more you invest in sharing the wealth of technical knowledge in your enterprise, the more self-sufficient your users will be, which reduces help desk traffic and the burden on IT.

Ultimately, it also pays off, by making remote working employees feel more positive about their contribution to the success of the company.

For more information about remote working solutions, contact us today.

This article includes content provided by Lenovo. Tech Prognosis is a Lenovo Business Partner.