By rethinking business productivity in a Cloud ecosystem
you’ll discover the agility to adapt and transform
how you work.
Adapt and transform your business productivity and processes.
We are in a busyness crisis. Freneticism is taking over our offices, giving way to overworked and under-effective employees. Over the years, a business culture of ‘doing more with less’ and seeing multi-tasking as a great talent has become admirable. In attempts to save time and money, UK companies are putting excessive pressure onto themselves, pressure that in many instances does not actually increase effectiveness. Despite what many may assume, multi-tasking has been found to significantly reduce productivity - meaning we are over-working ourselves and realising no actual benefit.
It is time to see things from a new perspective!
How are businesses expected to consider business-wide change if they are so consumed by everyday tasks? Many leaders, and their employees, spend so much time immersed in the business that they have little time to think about the development of the business itself.
How often do you feel under pressure at work?
time I never feel under pressure Some of the time Most of the time Not very
Learn to recognise stress
Leaders cope with high pressure in different ways so find a stress reliever that works for you (and stick to it). Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts, while symptoms include a drop in work performance, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties. It’s therefore important for SME leaders to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue and take steps to reduce it.
We surveyed 500 UK business owners and senior decision makers to gauge workplace pressures and how often they are felt.
The results show us that one in five have admitted to feeling under pressure all the time and that 54% of business leaders feel under pressure most or all the time while at work. These staggering figures display concerning trends within organisations that staff are feeling frequent pressure to complete tasks and manage an excessive workload.
Is now the time to rethink your approach?
Alleviating stress and pressure within the workplace is complex and requires a deviation from the norm. Many businesses, under pressure to grow or, do more with less, continue to operate at a hundred miles an hour, reacting to the next challenge in the way they have approached each previous one. Einstein is credited with the fabled phrase 'insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results', perhaps now is the time to rethink the way your business approaches change.
The UK has in the past been criticised for its long hours work culture1, and the risk of a ‘Burnout Britain’ is still true today. Ultimately, owners and senior decision makers need to take time out to rethink the way they are doing things.
Taking a step back from traditional working values and understanding the true strategies behind reducing employee pressure from a new perspective is key in order to increase productivity and job satisfaction.
Below are three top tips to help guide you towards a rethink of your business culture.
- 1Consider how your approach to working cascades down the organisation
- 2Empower your employees to work smarter, not harder
- 3Take time to understand the role technology can play in supporting your future goals
It starts with you
Management styles have such a large impact on a workforce. The way in which you deal with your workload can affect how your employees see their own. If you begin to rethink your working style, your employees may follow suit.
While technology has the ability to transform an organisation, there are many instances across the workplace in which technology can be seen to negatively impact productivity.
A study conducted by Deloitte showed that 38%2 of people believe they are using their smartphones too much. How much is too much? Typically, more than five hours on their smartphone daily (with one in four spending more than seven hours every day).
Many senior business leaders are glued to their phones in hopes of increased connectivity and effective multitasking. However, if used incorrectly these devices may be causing more harm than good to business productivity and your sense of workplace pressure.
How easy is it for you to turn off
Mobile devices, while a great asset to everyday working for many sectors, can become a hindrance, not allowing you to focus or ‘switch off’ at the end of the workday. With emails and updates so easily accessible, many managers feel an obligation to continue working outside of traditional work hours. Studies have shown that workplace email is a significant source of stress. With employees receiving on average 121 work emails a day3, it is easy to see how staff can feel overwhelmed. If staff and management alike are answering emails at home as well as at work, this stressor is likely to have significant implications on employee wellbeing. Business professors from Stanford University have estimated that workplace stress has added between $125 and $190 billion per year to US healthcare costs4. As we know, workplace stress results in sick leave, high staff turnover and absenteeism, thereby reducing productivity and increasing cost through hiring and sick cover.
of our time at work
is spent delivering
of the results
This is further demonstrated by the 12.5 million working days across the UK lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Some business leaders are taking action against this workplace epidemic by reducing time spent on mobiles, particularly outside of work hours.
Previous generations have been working in a state of ‘do more with less’ where multitasking has been seen as a talent employees should possess in order to succeed within their careers and become more attractive to recruiters. However, in recent years research has shown that this is no longer the case. Not only has multitasking been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, a study at the University of London5 showed subjects who multitasked experienced significant IQ drops. This study is striking and suggests that while people may feel they are achieving more in less time by multitasking, these tasks are completed to a sub-standard.
For many managers with a constant influx of work, the question then becomes, if multitasking isn’t the right solution, what is? The key to being productive is being able to cut through all of the noise and focus on the tasks that truly matter. The Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule as it is better known) shows that 80% of our time at work is delivering 20% of results. This, in part, is due to not being able to effectively ignore or reject tasks that are irrelevant to the grand plan of progressing an organisation, thereby highlighting the importance of selective working. Businesses need to begin to work smarter, rather than harder.
If managers begin to implement these new strategies for their own working, the rest of the organisation will follow. Showing staff the importance of smarter working above faster working can alleviate many workplace stressors and significantly increase productivity.
Another key driver in producing a productive workforce is ensuring mutual respect and employee satisfaction. It is important to make sure your employees feel as though they are making a difference without feeling forced to work harder. Happy employees have been found to be 12% more productive at work6, highlighting the benefits that a positive workforce can bring forth. Many businesses are increasing their benefit options and investments into staff in attempts to improve job satisfaction.
A strong work-life balance can also be a contributing factor to employee productivity through an increase in happiness and overall wellbeing. In France, employees are able to ignore work-related emails after 6pm. Although this may sound trivial, giving staff this time back and making it explicit to them that their evenings are designed for non-work related activities may result in an energised workforce by morning. This is supported as the French have hourly productivity rates that rival many7.
Your workforce needs to see that their employer is investing in them and making their jobs easier. For many organisations, this involves showing staff their worth by taking manual tasks away from them, allowing them to focus on more value-add activities.
67% business are using Cloud-based technology
Technology as an enabler
“Admittedly, our ways of working were becoming outdated and in several areas were struggling to keep pace with rapid growth of the company. A number of our business processes were not fully integrated with each other, requiring the support of manual procedures, making it more difficult for us to monitor and report on production, sales and finance in the timely manner that a growing business requires. We recognised a change was needed if we were to succeed in the ‘new’ digital era, but we knew little about which technologies could help us reimagine our business. The Cloud ERP solution was recommended to us and, when seeing it in action, we were impressed by the features as well as the affordability and customer service that came with them. Moving to the Cloud needn’t have been so daunting after all, and we are confident it will give us a fully integrated system fit for the future.”
Anne German, System Manager, JS Bailey
Making the right technology decisions can create a business platform that embraces an uncertain world and gives organisations choices and new ways of doing business, as well as numerous benefits such as significantly lowering the cost base. Innovations such as the Cloud are offering workforces a more efficient way of working. As technology progresses, there will be no place in competitive business for those that are not adopting newer technologies to support their organisations. Moving to and integrating a connected Cloud strategy is fast becoming the first choice for positive digital disruption. Thousands of British organisations of all sizes (especially small and medium sized businesses) have dared to rethink their business and are fast realising the benefits of the Cloud.
Once the capabilities of the Cloud are realised, there must be someone to drive business change within an organisation in order to implement technology. Our recent Cloud survey showed that 30% of people say that no one is driving Cloud adoption within their workplace. Moreover, when asked who should be driving Cloud adoption, most stated the MD or CEO of a business should take this responsibility.