Digital Workplaces Improve Productivity

Digital Workplaces

Based on a detailed study of 20,000 employees working in European medium-to-large size organisations across different industries, recent research by Microsoft, in association with London Business School, identified three major benefits of digital workplaces defined as organisations making full use of modern technologies combined with strong digital leadership and digital cultures.

  • Higher productivity - in digital workplaces, employees become more productive, working smarter, not necessarily harder. Quality, efficiency and competitiveness increase.
  • Creativity and collaboration - with employees working in more creative and collaborative ways, the digital organisation becomes more responsive to the dynamic changes taking place in the external business environment. Digital workplaces, therefore, help to future-proof the business.
  • Talent recruitment and retention - individuals working in organisations with a strong digital culture are much more likely to feel engaged and empowered. This helps the business to cultivate and attract the best talent.

In the section below, we present the report’s findings on digital workplaces and productivity. Follow-up posts will present findings in the other two areas listed above.

Digital Workplaces and Productivity

With the UK continuing to suffer from a low productivity problem compared to many of our overseas competitors, one of the main conclusions of the report is that many previous attempts to boost productivity have been ill-conceived, asking people to work longer hours and harder.

“Our research found that employee productivity doesn’t hinge on how long or hard people work. In fact, it comes down to the conditions in which they are able to get work done, using technology as effectively as possible”.

As shown in Figure 1 below, digital culture is the key to higher productivity.

In organisations with a weak digital culture, just 12% of all employees feel highly productive. This increases to 22% of all employees in organisations with a strong digital culture. This is a considerable increase although still with scope for improvement. In strong digital culture organisations, the number of employees who don’t feel very productive drops from over 20 per cent to just 8 per cent.

The report argues that the increase in productivity in strong digital culture organisations is due to factors such as access to technology support, training, and information; managerial promotion of technology; and a clear understanding of how and why technology is a business priority. Strong digital leadership is required to provide a crystal-clear vision for how technology is used within the organisations. Without this, you cannot expect employees to embrace technology's full potential.

The report traces the boost in productivity back to digital culture’s impact on employee engagement.

When employees are able to work with total focus and passion being applied to the task at hand, they deliver a better end-result with much less effort. This is difficult to achieve in our current workplaces. In non-digital workplaces, only 20 per cent of employees feel highly engaged at work. This increases dramatically in strong digital culture organisations with four times as many employees saying they felt engaged.

Figure 1: The Correlation between Digital Workplaces and Productivity

Digital Workplaces

Figure 2: The Correlation between Digital Workplaces and Employee Engagement

Digital Workplaces 

The full Microsoft Report can be found here - Digital Culture.

Please see here for previous blog posts on Digital Workplaces.