Technology continues to transform the office, a new study finds, in areas ranging from automation to systems that allow for a more flexible workforce.
Employers who embrace newer technologies and methods often see more engaged and active workers, according to new research from Workfront, a company that develops web-based work management and project management software.
The company’s annual State of Enterprise Work Report emphasizes the affect that many traditional office practices have on the amount of work employees can get done in a day.
For example, “wasteful” meetings (57%) and excessive emails (53%, up from 43% last year) were among the biggest distractions reported by employees as getting in the way of work.
“On average, it takes 15 minutes to get back into your flow when you have been interrupted,” says Laura Butler, SVP of people and culture at Workfront. “Allow your employees to schedule blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on the tasks they need to work through. Having a ‘no-meetings Wednesday’ type of mandate, or allowing workers to work remotely for a day a week can be helpful,” she adds.
Butler adds that although the trend calls for employers to tear down walls to create an open space work environment, many workers still feel that working in a quiet space improves their productivity. Offering noise-canceling earphones, she says, can be helpful in enabling focus.
The study also finds an increases in teleworking options. According to the report, the average worker works from home about eight hours per week.
“Technology has connected us in a way that workers have the flexibility to set up and work from anywhere,” Butler says. “That being said, in order for a manager to succeed with flexibility, you need to have trust and accountability across your team.
“As a benefits manager, technology that enables flexible work arrangements is a benefit in itself,” she continues. “Depending on the organization, this can even be a reason individuals decide to work for or stay at the company. “Through the integration of new technology, employees can reduce time spent using outdated strategies such as email to communicate and spreadsheets to document their work. Technology can
mate workflows and make it easier to find information and collaborate more efficiently — especially when they are working remotely.”
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