How to increase productivity in a digital workplace

Trying to find out how to increase productivity in the digital workplace? It doesn’t matter if your organization is hybrid, fully remote or 100% in-office, this guide is for you.

 

All workplaces are digital. It doesn’t matter if your employees are 100% in the office, working hybrid or fully remote. The way they work still has to be digital.

It might be because of meetings with clients, collaboration across departments or communicating with partners, but there’s no escaping the digital.

In this article, we’ll give you five tips on how to increase productivity in a digital workspace, but first, let’s talk about how being in a remote or hybrid workplace will affect your productivity.

Because (let’s face it) most modern offices are either hybrid or fully remote at this point.

 

Does remote and hybrid work affect productivity?

Does remote work affect productivity? This is the question that no one seems to be able to agree on an answer to.

Some say that remote and hybrid work doesn’t affect productivity or even that it improves productivity. In a survey by Owl Labs, 32% of managers said that their teams are more productive when working hybrid. [1]

At the same time, there are those who say that while remote work increases short-term productivity it will reduce productivity in the long term. [2]

So, what’s the right answer?

It’s probably somewhere in between. For some industries, some organizations, some teams or some employees, productivity is heightened with remote and hybrid work, and for others, it is decreased.

In the end, making hybrid or remote work positively impacts productivity will come down to two things. First, it’s about individual preference some employees are more or less productive working remote because they prefer it that way. And secondly, it’s about making sure employees have the tools and opportunities they need, to become more productive in a digital setting.

So, let’s take a look at how we can make sure we are equipped to work in a digital setting.

 

5 ways to boost digital workplace productivity

How to improve productivity in a digital workplace will depend on your specific organization. If your organization is 100% remote some things on this list may be more important than if your organization is hybrid or fully in-office.

But no matter what, the following five tips should be considered for any modern workplace.

  1. Share knowledge like your business depended on it (because it does)
  2. Encourage disagreement (even if you don’t disagree)
  3. Engaged employees are productive employees
  4. Facilitate innovation by creating space for innovation (duh)
  5. Focusing on problem-solving will solve all your problems (surprise!)

1. Share knowledge

It doesn’t matter if your organization is hybrid, remote or fully in-office, the ability to share knowledge across teams is going to be one of the biggest contributors to productivity in any organization. It can be project-specific knowledge or insights into the overall strategy of your business. Whatever it is, it needs to be shared.

While most organizations have already implemented things like Google Drive for storing information in a shared location and some may even provide opportunities for teams to share experiences around their daily work, creating a culture focused on shared knowledge requires a move away from personalized communication like email and private messages wherever possible.

And why is that?

Simply put, it’s because any piece of information which is sent via email or a private message can only be accessed by the sender and the recipient.

But if you change communication channels to a more open system, such as open channels or forums, then that same information becomes accessible to anyone who needs it.

This will reduce time spent hunting down information that is stored in a private channel. And furthermore, that same information will continue to be available even after the employee who sent it leaves the company.

All it takes is for employees to start being intentional about their choice of communication channel. If it’s not a private matter, it doesn’t necessarily belong in a private channel.

 

2. Encourage disagreement

As humans working together towards a common goal we are rarely told to disagree with each other, and for employees who may never sit face to face the chances of it happening is often even less likely. But we need to disagree on subjects, as it forces us to consider new angles and new solutions.

And the easiest way to ensure disagreement is to turn it into policy.

For instance, you could make a rule that if 9 people in a group of 10 agree on a solution to a problem, it is the duty of the 10th person to present an alternative solution.

Additionally, knowing beforehand that this is what’s going to happen will help make the disagreement less stressful. Everyone knows it's not personal, it's just a part of how you do things.

 

3. Engage employees

Remote and hybrid work is often accused of reducing employee engagement.

And this would be very problematic if it was true because surveys show that engaged teams have fewer absences, lower turnover, and increased productivity. [3]

But hybrid and remote teams don’t become any less engaged than teams who work from the same office. And there’s almost no difference in what you need to do, to improve the engagement of a remote team versus a team that works from the same physical location.

Encourage health and wellness, host social meetings and casual hangouts, make sure employees feel heard and valued, foster personal connections, and keep the lines of communication open; a good company culture is made up of the same parts whether your organization is 100% remote or 100% in the office.

As a digital workplace, all you need to do is make sure that employees are provided with platforms to do these things. Digital pub quizzes and weekly team meetings focused on catching up on each other’s lives can go a long way to foster personal connections, for instance.

 

4. Facilitate innovation

Organizations rarely try to combat innovation, but the number of organizations that inadvertently halt innovation is another story.

This is not because they don’t want employees to innovate, but because they simply aren’t creating platforms where it will happen. And it is especially important to create opportunities to network and innovate in a digital workplace where employees aren’t necessarily working from the same office locations.

Innovations aren’t developed in a vacuum, and because of that, you can’t simply set up a meeting with the title “innovating processes” and then expect the meeting participants to come up with something useful.

Innovation requires active networking and communication between departments. In short, you need to facilitate an exchange of ideas across all levels of your organization.

 

5. Focus on problem-solving

According to a report by McKinsey, companies that engage employees in problem-solving activities as part of their daily work will end up with employees who feel more motivated to do their jobs, and in turn, the organization’s performance will improve. [4]

Because of that, establishing a culture of problem-solving should be the first step toward improving your digital productivity.

If you have employees identify which issues impact their productivity when working remote or hybrid, you are essentially being handed a cheat sheet on how your organization can improve its digital productivity and you are helping your employees become more engaged and more invested in their workplace.

 

 

References

[1] https://owllabs.eu/state-of-hybrid-work-emea/2022

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/01/14/the-impact-of-remote-work-on-productivity-and-creativity/

[3] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/285674/improve-employee-engagement-workplace.aspx

[4] https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/business%20functions/operations/
our%20insights/the%20lean%20management%20enterprise/building%20a%20problem%
20solving%20culture%20that%20lasts.pdf

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