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Old technology and death-by-meetings: Why the Australian workforce is losing the productivity battle

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Organisations of all sizes, from large multinationals to burgeoning startups, are spending boatloads of cash on solutions aimed at simplifying collaboration and streamlining workflows.

With all these tools in place, you would expect these companies to have no room for improvement but that’s clearly not the case, and here’s why.

In Nitro’s latest Productivity Report, Filling Generational Gaps with Next-Gen Tech, we surveyed over 1,000 Australian knowledge workers, everyone from entry-level workers to senior management in large public and private sector organisations with 500+ employees, to understand the productivity challenges costing employees valuable time, and employer’s valuable money.

What does the report reveal about productivity?

According to those surveyed, the most significant productivity pain points included outdated processes, policies and workflows (59 per cent), poor management or leadership (56 per cent), negative workplace culture (54 per cent), outdated tools or technology (48 per cent) and insufficient training (38 per cent).

43 per cent of employees additionally noted that they wished they could reduce the number of meetings in their calendars, and more than a quarter of employees said they were most productive outside of standard office hours.

When delving further into office tech, 21 per cent of those surveyed said that being unable to read a poorly scanned or photocopied document was a daily time drainer.

38 per cent of employees said they felt as though they had insufficient training to do their jobs well, with a whopping 70 per cent of all workers saying that a lack of proper training across the board was responsible for much of the loss in productivity.

Our research also found Gen X and Boomer employees are twice as likely to think they are neglected by their employers when it comes to training or investment in the latest technologies when compared to 18-25-year-olds.

This points to a work environment where employers are increasingly catering to younger digital natives and leaving older workers untrained and ill-equipped to cope with rapidly changing technologies.

Ways to boost productivity in the workplace

Now that we have established what the productivity problems are, this enables us to look at ways to boost productivity in your office – exploring the three critical areas that employees have told us would make their productivity skyrocket.

Standardising digital tools

Your team’s skills are essential to business performance, but the tools they use in their work also play a huge role.

Important considerations when deciding on what tools to use include standardisation, commitment to training employees for optimum usage (is it easy to use?) and cost.

Explore productivity software that can provide simple solutions to ordinary day to day office gripes (e.g. unable to edit a document as it is in a different format or request an e-signature) such as Nitro’s Productivity Suite.

Reducing the frequency of meetings

43 per cent of workers survey said that reducing the number of meetings in their calendar would make the most significant difference to their productivity.

This should be the most natural change to implement, try always to set out a clear agenda and outline the things you want to achieve in the meeting.

You can ask everyone to prep before the meeting so you can kick-off right away.

Expanding training and certification programs

This is a long-term goal and an investment in your team, but if 36 per cent of employees have said that insufficient training was a top productivity pain point, it’s worth taking the time.

Start by sitting down with your employees and set a growth plan in motion. You can work together to identify areas where they can level up.

Stick to the plan, and this could also double as an opportunity to open communication lines with your team and build trust.


Michael Helder is the Vice President of Nitro APAC.

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