Guest Column | June 23, 2021

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Tech Industry Experts Reflect On World Productivity Day For All Year Round

By Terry Storrar, Leaseweb U.K.


World Productivity Day, which just passed on Sunday, June 20 provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and reevaluate what is important and effective within teams and for customers. At my company, Leaseweb, productivity is at the core of everything we do; a motto we subscribe to is simply ‘get things done'.

This has been particularly essential for us as a company, and for the broader technology sector as a whole, during the past year with the challenges created by social distancing, furlough, and remote work. 

In honor of World Productivity Day, the below technology industry experts and I have shared some insights on productivity and how they help their team achieve work-life balance. 

Debbie Millin, COO, Globalization Partners:

“The world of work has drastically changed since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Research from Gartner found that 82% of companies plan to offer remote working options to employees, and 47% plan to allow employees to work remotely full time. With employees now accustomed to no commute times and better work-life balance, the move to a new hybrid work-from-anywhere model looks set to stay.

Our team at Globalization Partners is a big supporter of remote and hybrid working options because you get more out of your employees when companies work flexibly. This isn’t just anecdotal either; research shows that remote working will boost productivity across the country and leave a lasting, positive impact on the economy. 

Flexible working enables employees to establish their own peak performance times, scheduling timely breaks to optimize their efficiency. Additionally, by trusting employees to manage their own time–and balance work with home responsibilities–employees will feel more incentivized to work efficiently. As the world recovers post-pandemic, companies now have the opportunity to make temporary fixes into permanent benefits. Implementing flexible work structures can be instrumental in boosting productivity and engagement, making for a happier and more efficient team.”

Brooke Candelore, Product Manager, BrightGauge Software, a ConnectWise solution

“While everyone’s goal for each workday is to work to the best of their ability, many are finding it harder and harder to stay productive as we approach the halfway mark of the year. This past year, productivity levels were disrupted like never before when working from home became the overnight norm. For business owners who feel like productivity levels haven’t yet returned to normal, what is the best approach?

KPIs and metrics are one way to do that. Why? Because by tracking KPIs and metrics, you can drive action and provide clarity in your business. Over time, these actionable data points affect your bottom line. I’m often asked what type of metrics should be tracked regularly. The kind of metrics you track depends on several factors, but often boil down to what type of data is going to move the needle for your business.

World Productivity Day is a great reminder of the importance of KPIs, and the value of having everyone in an organization responsible for specific metrics. That’s because an accountable metric drives action. Measuring those metrics should be done regularly, and if possible, that should be done in the broader context of the business’ KPIs. A great way to do that is through data dashboards. Doing this will lead to greater productivity and improvement throughout your organization.”

Gina O’Reilly, COO, Nitro

“Working remotely over the past 16 months has certainly not been without its challenges. We conducted a survey last year and found that only 20% of workers felt extremely productive while working from home, and 40% felt very productive. The stress of the pandemic, including the “juggle struggle” between work and home life, and a lack of face-to-face interactions certainly has had an impact, but productivity issues also can largely be attributed to inefficient workflows.

Surprisingly, many companies still heavily rely on paper-based processes, even with most people not physically in offices. According to our recent research, around 30% of employees and decision makers are still using physical documents in the same way as pre-COVID times. How is anyone expected to be productive when you have to spend hours printing, signing, and scanning documents every week? 

New digital tools are required to keep teams productive in today’s remote-first world. In fact, 3 in 4 employees and decision makers think that their productivity would increase with a standardized PDF editing and/or eSigning solution in place for their teams. Working from anywhere is the new norm, and if companies want to stay ahead, it’s time to say goodbye to paper, and ultimately, unleash productivity for employees who can then focus on what matters most – driving business performance and key deliverables. 

Terry Storrar, managing director, Leaseweb UK 

Encouraging the right mindsets and implementing simple yet effective methods, such as the 80/20 rule, can provide immense value. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of a business's income comes from 20% of its projects. It’s a tool used to highlight the importance of identifying the highest priority work, ensuring that the available manpower is being spent on the most valuable projects instead of being wasted on unimportant details. 

In crises, such as the events of 2020, it is invaluable to break tasks down into priority groups and work to achieve the most essential goals first. For example, this time last year when everyone left the office, the first and most important problem to tackle was providing the necessary equipment to create a work environment at home. Now, as we transition back into the office, many businesses will be looking to implement a hybrid framework that assures that all staff is connected, regardless of location. During this big change, it will be important to once again reflect on productivity models such as the 80/20 rule - reminding employers and employees alike what are the most essential tasks to complete to ensure business continues to run as efficiently as possible.”