Digitally empowered employees can help boost UK productivity

New VMware research has claimed that the digital workspace revolution is employee-driven, and that this will be fundamental in boosting the UK’s lagging productivity levels.

The impact that digital workplaces – and the technologies behind them – have on business productivity levels is significant.

This is exemplified in VMware’s latest research, which revealed that in the UK, 77% of empowered employees report gains in their productivity and spending 18% less time on manual processes.

The research, of 2,158 CIOs and end-users of businesses across 16 countries around the world, highlights how CIOs are recognising the performance power of digital technologies and applications in the hands of their employees.

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These empowered employees in the UK specifically, said they are more than twice as likely to say applications are very important in accelerating decision making compared to traditional* employees (85% to 35%).

This empowerment, according to the findings, has a direct influence on the performance of the business; with the majority of all CIOs in EMEA (89%) believing that revenue can increase by 5% over three years when employees are empowered.

It is also enabling employees in the UK to increase collaboration across the workforce (an increase by 18% against traditional employees) and, in a clear sign that they are at the heart of this app-centric digital revolution, are procuring their own applications to use at work – in EMEA, one in five business apps being brought to the company by the employee themselves.

“One of the most profound shifts in business has been the migration of powerful technologies into the hands of the employee, with applications becoming a critical part of an employee’s workday and their ability to perform their roles smartly,” comments Duncan Greenwood, vice president, End-User Computing, VMware EMEA.

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“As organisations race to carve out a competitive edge through technology, the ability to provide employees with the information at the point of need, driven by the demand in applications, coupled with a culture centred on trust, accessibility and collaboration will be imperative to having their employees be engaged and productive as possible.”

Cabin staff of Lufthansa Cargo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and international air cargo company, use an electronic flight bag (EFB) system when on board planes, giving them fast and easy access to aeronautical charts, airport information, route information, weather reports, and much more. “The mobile devices enable us to quickly provide employees with updates, new apps and new approaches, saving the company money,” said Sven Gartz, Captain and Head of Flight Ops IT. at Lufthansa Cargo.

Cultural change required

Giving employees access to highly accessible employee-centric applications, used for knowledge sharing, collaborating with colleagues, or project management is essential to effective and successful digital transformation. Only with this powerful combination of employee initiative and management trust, will organisations be able to create a culture where digital transformation starts to have a real impact on the business.

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In the UK, empowered employees are more likely to rate their employers as leaders in digital transformation compared to other employees (31% vs. 23%), and 62% reported that their company has been made a more desirable place to work.

Greenwood concludes that “Business applications and productivity solutions are driving employees to achieve more than they ever have and take decisions based on the great information and apps they have at their fingertips. Making apps highly accessible from any device powers a real difference in performance. While we’ve been used to ‘enterprise-grade apps’ being the de-facto standard within the workforce, businesses need to consider what the ‘workforce-grade’ app looks like – that help drive a fundamental transformation in an individual’s workday.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.