In the drive to boost UK productivity, people-led technology is paramount

It is not news that the UK has a productivity problem. Whilst this trend has global relevance, the UK has arguably seen a greater deterioration in productivity growth rates than other leading economies.

Some have argued that the ‘rise of the robot’ has had negative implications for employment and this is part of the problem. But while the speed of technological change has clearly been disruptive, it is fundamentally altering the way we work and has the potential to positively impact our lives now and in the future.

Productivity growth UK workforce

Our Economy of People report, released earlier this year, found that if businesses were to implement bespoke workspace, process and technology solutions to create one cohesive and highly effective workstyle centred around people, then they could unlock £36.8bn in untapped GDP.

Within this approach, technology is considered a key pillar in driving workforce productivity, with both employees and employers agreeing that when implemented correctly, the technology significantly improves productivity, decision-making and working with external organisations.

That’s as far as they agree though. Employees are more concerned about core technologies, such as infrastructure and digitisation – hallmarks of successful digital transformation strategies. Whereas, executives are focused on facilities management, which employees rate as the least effective technology to improve productivity.

What is clear is that this misalignment is preventing progress towards an optimal office setting, especially when it comes to technology. Ultimately, this is holding the potential of businesses back and creating a ‘productivity ceiling’. But similar to culture, there is no one size fits all strategy for technology, and employees are clearly prioritising certain technologies based on the industry they work in.

The most effective strategies will take a holistic approach to workplace modernisation. A balance needs to be achieved between employees’ and executives’ decision-making and investment if the productivity ceiling is to be broken.

So, what are the important considerations when implementing workplace technology?

  • Focus on core technologies first: When asked to rate the effectiveness of technology infrastructure today, only 67% felt that it is effective. When looking ahead and asked to rate the potential impact of technology infrastructure, sentiment increases to 77%
  • Leadership teams should align before executing a strategy: The optimal office will depend on CEOs leading an effort to create a holistic approach to workplace transformation to ensure investment maps back to employee needs
  • Your path depends on your industry and sector: Different sectors have different priorities. For example, employees in financial services firms report significantly more opportunity to unlock productivity through the use of business applications and workplace productivity tools, whilst employees in business and professional services firms believe more highly in the need to digitise information and create digital workflows

Our research shows that there is still a lot of progress to be made towards moving to the optimal office, but what is clear is that each sector will need to find their own technology path and develop strategies with their employees top of mind.

To download a copy of our report, The Economy of People, fill in the form to the right (or below if you’re on mobile).

Chas Moloney

Marketing Director Ricoh UK

In memoriam of Chas Moloney, 1966 – 2022, our Marketing Director who, through his outstanding leadership, always supported and promoted inclusion for all. Full news release

A fund-raising page has been set up in memory of Chas, with all donations going to Longfield - a local hospice charity that offers care in the community.

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