From “Help Me” to Engaged Productivity

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This is Chapter 3 of 90 Days Later, an ISG e-book.

In the last 12 months, we have seen the largest population movement ever in the history of the world. Through a historical drive for efficiency, hundreds of millions of new offices have been created almost overnight, leading to workers sitting at home. This led to a near-1000% increase in demand for video conferencing and collaboration tools with little improvement in technology.

The new work-from-home model has created new paradoxes where previously perceived benefits such as work/life balance has been severely tested and, in many cases, where implemented poorly, has seen dramatic shifts in the wrong direction. Understanding how people work is as important as understanding what they do.

The Role of Technology in Productivity Rates

The majority of workers now want to remain working at home for at least 50 percent of their time. This means corporations have to adapt how they enable, manage and support their employees. Home-based employees are working up to 40 percent longer with no correlated increase in productivity. This, in itself, has created negative effects after the initial work-at-home honeymoon period has abruptly ended. One reason for this is that the technology deployed is reported to be unsatisfactory, and issues take longer to solve. People are becoming more stressed out, and their personal time has taken a hit. Previously, it seems it was easier to delineate work and personal time. Now, this line has become blurred. 

These issues can result in a positive or negative productivity spiral that businesses need to understand and be aware of. Management has conflicting and contrasting demands. They are faced with questions about how to deploy remote performance management, how to ensure staff feel part of the team and how to build new people-management cultures. On top of this, the technology of the pre-pandemic world has only advanced slightly, which has resulted in many people working harder to bridge the organizational shortfalls, provision technology tools, resolve IT problems and measure KPIs. 

Priorities of the Future-of-Work Marketplace

ISG has used its independent status to assess the future-of-work marketplace. Companies must rethink how they manage productivity and connectivity in the future workplace.  Service providers are using automation and proactive technology to boost health and happiness. This is what we explore in the third chapter of ISG’s 90 Days Later e-book. As the title says, welcome to the new future.

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About the author

Iain Fisher is a Director within the Northern European Digital Strategy and Solutions Practice.  He is responsible for ISG’s Digital Agility and Future of Work strategies.  An expert in Operational Excellence, Iain’s key focus is on end to end value chain analysis where redesign of the Operating Model along with Organizational Change can be delivered through digital transformation and leads to improved ways of working and an enhanced customer experience

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