New Work Foundation report 'Productivity, technology & working anywhere'


A new Work Foundation report examining the use of technology in the workplace demonstrates its potential for improving flexible working and productivity, but clearly shows a divide between employees and managers when it comes to how the technology is actually deployed, which risks undermining the true potential of what can be achieved.

The ‘Productivity, technology & working anywhere’ report, published today, highlights the complex and often strained relationship between productivity, technology and work. It reveals an undeniably positive link between correctly-implemented technology and workplace productivity but suggests progress can be marred by poor business planning, a lack of innovation, outdated IT and low uptake of flexible working cultures.

Supported by survey responses from 1,000 professional workers and 500 managers within medium and large organisations across the UK, the research, commissioned by Citrix, warns that flexible working cultures are stalling and calls for businesses to make best use of employees who can act as ‘intrapreneurs’ to embrace and test new innovations, not be afraid to fail and be flagbearers for the future of work.

Findings from respondents questioned in the report reveal:

  • 24% of UK managers believe their organisation is not technologically ‘forward thinking’
  • 80% of workers who see a link between technology and productivity acknowledge the positive effect access to technology can have on their productivity levels
  • Yet, 63% of workers believe they are no more productive today than they were three years ago. 17% claim to be less industrious
  • 61% of managers believe flexible working is actively encouraged whereas only 41 per cent of workers agree
  • 43 % of workers believe flexible working is only offered to certain roles – something only 24% of managers agreed with
  • Managers say restructuring within their organisations has supported further significant moves to flexible working such as hot desking (71%) and remote working (59%), but workers affected by such developments feel there have been less opportunities for these types of flexible working (hot desking 45% and remote working 24%)
  • More generally, 71% of workers claim they are still not given the opportunity to work remotely or away from their usual workplace. Only 8% believe remote and flexible working is ‘actively encouraged’ by their organisation while 32% claim their organisation still restricts flexible working to certain job roles and levels

Lesley Giles is the Director of the Work Foundation and one of the authors of the report. She said: “The UK’s productivity slowdown has been the largest in the G7 group of leading economies since the recession. We simply have to embrace the potential of digital technology – combined with the right training, culture and leadership to ensure it’s utilised to its full potential.

“Everyone should be able to benefit from developments in technology, working practices and feel supported and engaged to perform at their best. However employers need to be mindful about the ways in which they integrate technology into processes and the effects this has on individuals and their roles - it is not about removing low value jobs but low value tasks, to create more good jobs, which make the best use of people.

“This needs to be combined with strategies to allow employees space and time to experiment with new ways of doing things and to learn as much from making mistakes as from what goes well. As we’ve highlighted, there is no time to waste.”

The report can be accessed here

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