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No more dead time – Making the commute more productive

Mick Wayman

From tube, train, bus to walking and cycling, the majority of the UK’s workforce is well accustomed to commuting. In fact, a Vodafone commissioned study of more than 3,000 workers across the nation found that eight-in-ten people commute to work each day. Contributor, Mick Wayman, Head of Major Business at Vodafone UK.

Yet the continued rise in digital technologies over the past 10 years has transformed the way work gets done. For instance, 43 percent of employees now work from a customer or project site to some extent, while more than half still spend the majority of their time in their company’s office or building.

Whichever case it might be – on any given day – it’s important that businesses maintain their employees’ ability to work effectively and stay connected to each other and their customers from wherever they are. And, today’s workers expect nothing less.

With two-thirds of employees spending thirty minutes or more travelling to work each day, over half said their journey allows them to fit more work into their day – helping to increase their daily output. Thanks to technology.

Indeed, nearly half pointed to the devices they use as the key contributors to enabling them to work during their commute. Technology’s impact on employees can, however, be much broader than this. In general, those who have the right technology to do their job effectively are more satisfied with their job than those who don’t.

How do we foster a more productive workforce? Whilst technology helps employees be productive while they commute, the first real step to boosting productivity across the business is exploring how and where people need and want to work, and how the commute fits in to this.

Every business is different, but there is a need to allow for the movement of people as it fits within their roles, the objectives of the business and the needs of customers. It is equally important to keep in mind the positive impact a reduced commuting time can have on a business.  With 60 percent of those surveyed saying they would be encouraged to leave their employer for either a shorter commute or to commute less often, businesses should evaluate whether the commute works for everyone.

Creating a way of working that best serves the business and its staff can be achieved by making sure employees have the tools they need to work effectively from either on or offsite and optimising the working environment with technology.

Connecting employees through technology
Creating a digital workplace through technology -connecting people, processes and information – is key to boosting more continuous productivity as it allows employees to work and collaborate as effectively in the office as they do out. By doing so, organisations will ultimately create a more productive, agile and responsive workforce.

Video conferencing, the cloud and collaboration applications are just some of the technologies that can help remove the barriers that stand in the way of the UK’s workforce from working better and being more efficient with their time each work day.

For example, the cloud means documents and materials can be made accessible from anywhere, meaning employees don’t need to be physically in the office to access the documents they need to get their work done. What’s more, apps such as Slack and Office 365 can streamline processes, facilitate real-time communication and enable easier collaboration. According to a recent PwC report, these are the type of factors that form the foundation for creating innovation pockets within organisations.

With this in mind, one thing is clear – technology makes it possible to bring people together virtually, so now is the perfect opportunity for businesses to rethink how we harness talent wherever people may be working.

Driving productivity through an organisation because mobility is so integral to the way we work now, technology has become vital to keeping employees connected to customers, colleagues and the information they need to do their job. In fact, research commissioned by Vodafone and conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) revealed that organisations can see an uplift in productivity of up to 20 percent by simultaneously looking at management practices, technology and smarter ways of working in tandem.

One thing is clear. In order to help more of the UK’s workforce make better use of their time, whether on their commute, or in the office, tackling the challenge of productivity requires more than just technology. Businesses need to be thinking about the teams people operate in, the culture in the workplace and where people feel they need to be to do their very best work.

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