The Real Productivity Killers and How to Combat Them

Women sitting in front of her laptop and alongside co-workers.

6 strategies for maximizing workplace efficiency and effectiveness and unlocking the full productive potential of your workforce

With World Productivity Day fast approaching on June 20, we want to recognize the importance of creating an environment that supports workplace productivity.

If you Google “Top Productivity Killers,” you’ll get a series of expected answers: cell phones, internet browsing, conversations with colleagues, etc. But what’s notably missing are the digital disruptions that impact an employee’s ability to do their job.

In May, we conducted a weekly LinkedIn poll not necessarily to challenge Google’s findings but for us to better understand employee productivity in the workplace and what they consider to be their “productivity killers.”

The results reveal that more than 30% of respondents face weekly disruptions due to tech-related problems. Respondents cited random software updates (41%), network challenges (40%), and a slow-running computer (40%) as their top productivity killers and frustrations.

While these interruptions kill productivity and increase frustration among a company’s workforce, they can also impact employee retention. In spring 2022, we partnered with an external research firm to better understand the impact that a digital environment can have on employee productivity and engagement. The results were staggering. Of the 600 respondents from around the globe, 36% shared they’ve considered leaving a job due to a poor tech experience, and 14% said they had actually left because of it.

So what can companies do to improve productivity, profitability, and engagement? Invest in your tech stack. Don’t assume that workplace tech stress and angst are irrelevant factors in your company’s overall performance; it’s just the opposite. Your technology is the foundation for your company’s success.

Here are six strategies to ensure your tech stack isn’t adding to the problem and instead creates a more productive and happier workplace.

1. Visibility: Arm Your IT Team with Data

The more visibility an IT team has into an organization’s endpoints, the more effective they can be in resolving, or even preventing, digital friction. How many of us submit an IT ticket for those top productivity killers we identified through our LinkedIn polls? Instead of reporting each time an app crashes or the network is slow, we suffer in silence or try to fix it on our own. If the IT team has complete visibility into the health and performance of every desktop, laptop, and mobile device across the enterprise, down to 15 second increments, they can fix issues before a ticket is every submitted.

“Companies must anticipate and mediate technology issues before they reach the end user, whether that user is an employee in the office or a customer whose experience is affected by an outage,” said Elise Carmichael, Lakeside Software CTO, in a recent Forbes article, “Data is the Key to a Proactive IT Strategy.”

2. Digital Experience: Give Employees the Consumer Experience

We are all accustomed to a smooth, personalized digital experience when we’re outside of work. Imagine if you were browsing Amazon or Netflix, and you couldn’t find what you were looking for. Would you ever have to submit a ticket, wait for a call back, and then have to replicate the challenge you had? Of course not. Now, employees are bringing this consumer mindset to work and expect a seamless, self-service experience with their workplace technologies. Organizations need to offer intelligent self-help capabilities so employees can easily resolve their own issues through self-heal technologies, automations, or chat bots. Remove the barriers to fix tech issues so that you can also remove the frustration and impacts to productivity.

3. Right-Sized Tools: Empowering Individuals for Success

Employees often spend hours each day on their tech devices for work. Ensuring they have the right tools for their specific job duties can go a long way in preventing frustration and improving productivity. Carmichael offers an example in a recent HR Director article, “… knowing that a certain user frequently switches between browser windows could suggest that they’d be more productive with a second or third monitor in their home office. Proactively giving them that additional monitor before they need to ask for it could make them immensely more productive as well as more satisfied.” Organizations that have visibility into endpoint data can more strategically determine what devices, and what software, each employee needs to be most effective. Plus, right-sizing can also help companies avoid overspending on unused or unnecessary hardware and software.

4. Collaboration: Enabling Seamless Communication and Real-Time Cooperation

Technological advancements have revolutionized how teams collaborate and communicate, regardless of their physical location. Cloud-based platforms, project management tools, video conferencing software, and instant messaging applications facilitate seamless communication and real-time collaboration. These tools empower teams to work together more efficiently, effortlessly share information, and effectively coordinate their efforts. However, these tools can contribute to frustrations and loss in productivity if they aren’t available 24/7. Have you had to reschedule a critical meeting because of an issue with Microsoft Teams or Google Meet? Or maybe it was actually an individual’s limited Wi-Fi bandwidth, but you blame the communication tool? For these tools to truly be effective, you need a holistic view into how they are working in the overall IT estate.By decreasing downtime of these collaboration tools, organizations can break down communication barriers to enhance productivity, foster innovation, and nurture a cohesive work environment where ideas flourish and collaboration thrives.

5. Remote Work: Embracing Flexibility and Achieving Work-Life Balance

The advent of remote and flexible work arrangements has transformed the modern workplace landscape. Cloud-based tools, virtual private networks (VPNs), video conferencing software, and collaboration platforms facilitate remote communication, project management, and document sharing. This flexibility allows employees to work from anywhere, eliminating commuting time and promoting work-life balance. Embracing remote work not only enhances employee satisfaction and well-being but also attracts top talent. By leveraging these technological solutions, organizations can unlock the potential of a remote workforce and enhance productivity on a global scale.

6. Analytics: Harnessing Data Insights for Performance Optimization

Data analytics has become a powerful tool for gaining insights into employee performance, operational efficiency, and overall productivity. More specifically, gaining visibility the health, usage, and performance of the full IT environment offers CIOs, CTOs, and other IT leaders the data they need to make the most strategic, informed decisions on how technology is impacting productivity. With a comprehensive data set collected from every endpoint every few seconds, organizations can identify trends, measure key performance indicators (KPIs), and make data-driven decisions. This data-driven approach helps optimize workflows, identify areas for improvement, and align resources effectively, resulting in enhanced productivity. However, if there are gaps in the data, this can result in blind spots when making decisions. Only the most accurate, real-time data will allow organizations to uncover valuable insights that drive efficiency and productivity gains.

On this World Productivity Day, Lakeside Software emphasizes the significance of leveraging technology to improve workplace productivity and alleviate tech-related frustrations. By embracing these innovative solutions and a commitment to fostering a tech-empowered work culture, organizations can drive productivity, boost employee satisfaction, and pave the way for success in the digital age. Together, we can create a work environment where productivity soars, challenges are overcome, and success becomes the hallmark of our endeavors. Happy World Productivity Day!

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