What could possibly be worth a twenty percent gain in productivity?

Given all that is going on with digital, we know that business must move faster. It is critical to understand that salvation is not found through technology, and while digital transformation is real and happening, it is through achieving a culture of collaboration that digital transformation is facilitated, not the other way around. This is why HR needs to drive the agenda for a culture of collaboration.

So what can you do, starting today, to better understand the business case for new ways of working?

Time for some context:

1. “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.” Paul Krugman, 1994.

2. Great Britain is behind 16 other OECD countries with regards to labour utilisation vs productivity.

3. Last year the CIPD surveyed private sector organisations on the ways they expected to grow in the year ahead:

  • 55% stated “Same number of staff working more efficiently”
  • 21% indicated “Greater investment in training”

So there you have it. People of Britain, work more efficiently. Or, using more divisive language, the French take more holidays because they can afford to.

Take a moment to think about your work week and that of your teams. I’m confident in saying that you are working hard. Days are long. Schedules are full for weeks ahead. Plates are full. Lunches are rushed. Intentions are golden, but it is well understood by the scientific community that overloading schedules and living in a constant state of ‘frazzle’ leads to less output, despite the longer hours and more ‘effort’.

Now ask yourself:

  1. What percentage of your week is spent in meetings?
  2. How many of those hours were you a ‘critical contributor’
  3. How many of those hours are robbing you of productivity?

Take 5 minutes to find opportunities to reduce your ‘overworkload’, to take back time and, most importantly, protect it. Throw out the illusion that busy and overloaded is the status quo. This can be done using a very simple exercise as a starting point.

Print the weekly view of your calendar for next week.

For each meeting, write down the following:

  1. What can you, and you alone, contribute to this meeting. For example, you may have budget reporting to share, or have a key customer insight, or a critical development that needs to be communicated
  2. What would happen if you sent your apology and requested a summary instead?
  3. What would happen if you submitted your input in writing in lieu of attending?
  4. How much of the time in a meeting is spent updating others?

Now you will have a range of views on your week ahead, and you should have clarity on where you might best carve out some time back for yourself.

Be brave. Start by eliminating the least consequential time burdens and redeploy yourself to achieve more on the things that matter most for your remit within the organisation.

When you’ve proven that the world won’t stop if you replace a meeting with written input and an update, you can begin to imagine (and demand!) a workplace that leverages collaboration tools to replace everyday status and update meetings with value meetings. A contemporary intranet solution provides ways to support these needs out of the box, with team updates, progress tracking and sharing and collaborating par for the course. A good intranet solution wins you back hours in the day and is the beating heart of your business.

Time together is so precious; why should it continue to be wasted on updates and informing of decisions the leader has taken since the last meeting? Time together (should be) reserved for celebration, for debate, for bonding, for challenge, and for finding an accelerated path to resolutions.

Not for updates. This is plainly obvious for those who value their time and their peers’ ideas as their two most precious resources.

It’s not rude to demand a more effective workplace. Start with your current intranet and see where it can take you.