Research finds that businesses are drained by wasted time

The Powering Productivity research shows that workplace inefficiency is a core management issue. The primary cause of wasted time during the workday is inefficient processes, with almost half of the businesses surveyed listing this as their main concern. 43 per cent listed an overload of paperwork as their main grievance, whereas 41 per cent found meeting were the biggest waste of time. Other day-to-day barriers that contribute to wasted time are poor communication and time spent travelling.

Business inefficiencies are more than a nuisance for management. The study shows that employees and customers are the most likely to suffer as a result of inefficiencies. The burden of inefficiency placed on employees and customers could lead to retention problems in the long term.

Technology is key to maximizing organizational performance. Almost all business leaders believe technology helps drive organizational efficiency. Having the right tools in place gives companies the confidence to achieve their productivity goals. That confidence is linked to the use of technology. According to the research, 53 per cent of those who regard their efficiency programs as ‘tech-driven’ are more likely to be ‘very confident’ of success than those who regard themselves as ‘tech-hesitant’.

The Powering Productivity research surveyed 515 business leaders and key decision makers, from senior management to CEOs, across the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and the Nordics. The purpose was to explore the attitudes, challenges and opportunities businesses face when improving productivity, investing in technology and minimizing waste.

Previous research has shown that time is being wasted regularly due to inefficient ways of working. If business leaders could claim back the wasted time, would they choose to recharge themselves or reinvest time in the business? Over half would be rechargers, choosing to invest the additional time in themselves. And just under half would reinvest the time by putting it back into their business.

When all respondents where asked how they would reinvested time in the business, staff development was more likely than typical business tasks. Over half would invest in their own personal development. Just under half would coach other employees if given the opportunity. In comparison, just a third would explore growth prospects or evaluate new products for the business.

Business leaders who are closely aligned with their IT department are better able to identify and judge ROI potential. Two-thirds of those with high levels of IT support claim it is easy to determine value for money both before and after making a technology investment. Less than a third of those with mid to low IT support believe the same.

“Productivity losses are not just a problem for the management team. Both employees and customers are likely to be the ones who suffer as a result of inefficient working methods,” says Maria Nordborg, Director of Projectplace Customer Experience at Planview. “We can see that efficiency and technological investment go hand in hand so business leaders need to define what efficiency means for their organization. If not, ROI measurement will be another unproductive process that leads to more wasted time further down the line.”

“Efficiency and productivity can be hard to both define and achieve, so defining the ROI of productivity technologies can naturally be hard to define too. The study shows that the IT team can help identify the ways to measure efficiency gains.”