Most UK businesses still not providing the right collaboration tools – report

UK businesses are hindering employee morale and productivity by failing to provide the right work-place technology, according to the 'Digital Collaboration: delivering innovation, productivity and happiness' report by Deloitte, commissioned by Google.

The report, based on a survey of 3,600 employees from across Europe, reveals that workers are demanding access to tools that allow them to work more collaboratively and are 20% more satisfied with their workplace culture when they have access to these tools. However, their demands are not being met by employers across Europe.

Whilst 54% of those surveyed in the UK believe that access to better collaboration tools, such as shared documents, videoconferencing or instant chat, would improve productivity only 18% of UK employees are satisfied with the devices their organisation provides. Only 5% are satisfied with the digital collaboration tools provided at work.

Exposure to a decade of rich, engaging collaboration tools in their personal lives has opened the eyes of the European workforce to their potential in the workplace. The research found that employees were 17% more satisfied with their workplace culture when they had access to effective digital collaboration tools and 22% more likely to believe their employer cared about their morale.

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Yet, generally speaking, use of the second generation of collaboration tools such as social media, video conferencing, and online collaborative editing tools are the exception rather than the rule in the UK.

For example, only 36% of UK employees had access to video conferencing facilities and only 32% had access to online collaborative editing tools in their workplace.

Managers who think that by denying requests for third party collaboration tools they are preventing their use may be surprised. Half of those surveyed who had requests denied have started using the tools anyway.

In the UK, 46% of workers who use collaboration tools not supplied by their employer do so because they perform better than those provided by their organisation. Another 38% believe their chosen tools have a wider range of functionality than those provided by their organisation.

A lack of access to collaboration tools is also affecting innovation, with the findings showing a clear link between employees’ ability to collaborate and their subsequent ability to innovate.The report found that 65% of UK employees feel like they work in a low innovation, low collaboration environment.

'This research highlights the potential for technology to transform businesses,' said Roger De'Ath, Google enterprise manager UK.

'People can  share documents, instant message, or videoconference in their personal life and it has opened their eyes to their potential in the workplace. This report clearly shows the positive impact that technology has on employee morale, innovation and productivity.

Technology is not just about saving costs but about transforming the workplace, he added, advising that businesses that want to realise the full potential of their employees look at the benefits that technology can bring to collaboration and innovation.

> See also: Schneider Electric deploys Box for seamless global collaboration

'Over 60% of people in the UK use digital collaboration tools in their personal lives, so it’s unsurprising they want to make use of them to improve productivity and happiness at work,' commented Will Gosling, Deloitte Human Capital partner.

'What is surprising is how few British organisations are providing those tools or creating a workplace culture that promotes collaboration and innovation. Even in Sweden with the most progressive employers, half the people work in a low innovation, low collaboration environment.'

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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