A recent collaborative study of the work management platform Monday.com and independent research firm RepDate illuminates the importance of software and technology tools, and automation tools in particular, in increasing productivity for the evolving workforce. Findings from the Global Productivity Survey, which surveyed 4,000 workers across industries in three countries, reveal that most employees don’t believe their organizations provide processes, tools and workflows that are efficient enough for maximum productivity.
In other words, they perceive their companies as obstacles to their productivity.
According to the survey, only 26% of employees surveyed (28% in the US, 21% in Australia and 21% in the UK) believe they have the tools they need to streamline their work processes, despite using an average of 10.5 technology tools every month — with equal distribution between web-based (e.g. Gmail, Slack) and PC-based (e.g. Outlook, MS Office) tools.
Ninety-two percent of respondents recognize productivity as vital to business success in 2023, with 80% believing that collaboration and productivity automation tools improve employee engagement. However, only a quarter of employees fully endorse the effectiveness of their current tools for streamlining work processes.
Given today’s growing business pressures, monday.com advised organizations to prioritize addressing and eliminating the obstacles that hinder the productivity of their employees.
“The results confirmed what we suspected: Workers want to be productive by streamlining their work processes, but they don’t know exactly how to get there,” Hila Levy-Loya, vice president of strategy at monday.com, told VentureBeat. “Now more than ever, organizations need to be open to addressing employee needs as they pursue productivity, in a distributed workforce, in the way that makes the most sense for them.”
The survey also reveals that workers perceive the potential to save more than 10 hours a week through technology consolidation.
Furthermore, the majority of knowledge workers (78% globally, 82% in the US, 83% in Australia and 80% in the UK) expect a positive impact on their daily lives from workflow automation within next three years. Similarly, 76% of knowledge workers (79% in the US, 76% in Australia and 76% in the UK) say their organizations should prioritize workflow automation.
The essence of streamlining work through technology
Monday.com’s Levy-Loya said the company’s curiosity about employees’ day-to-day performance across different industries, their use of tools, and the evolving nature of their productivity interactions in the contemporary workscape led to the creation of the Global Productivity Survey.
As indicated by the survey data, he believes that one of the main barriers lies with the companies themselves and the lack of access to the right technology.
“Traditionally, companies ran their businesses with rigid, off-the-shelf software that didn’t meet the needs of their employees and couldn’t be used across the entire organization,” Levy-Loya told VentureBeat. “As a result, work has become isolated and organizations have been forced to run their businesses within the constraints of their chosen software rather than making the software work for them, limiting the ability to grow and allowing employees to approach work in the most efficient as possible. “
The report unveils findings that show employee sentiment about the importance of optimizing technology and work tools:
- A majority of knowledge workers (80%, including 87% in the US, 83% in Australia and 82% in the UK) believe that collaboration and productivity tools improve employee engagement.
- About three out of four workers agree that prioritizing the consolidation of their company’s toolset is critical. This sentiment is even more prevalent among employees at larger companies (79% vs. 72%) and those who perceive their company as adept at leveraging technology to streamline processes (83% vs. 72%).
Levy-Loya emphasized the importance of simplicity, adaptability and streamlining of employee tools and processes, even within complex business models that rely on complex information.
He pointed out that convoluted work processes can lead to information overload for employees. This stress, combined with an uncertain business environment and an excess of technological tools that contribute to complexity rather than clarity, can decrease worker motivation.
“Simply put, happy employees are productive, and when they’re productive, they’re happier. The survey revealed that 76% of workers believe that improving productivity helps prevent employee burnout and 92% of workers say productivity is the key to business success,” he said. “Companies should give the prioritize eliminating business monotony and creating an environment where leaders continually provide ways to improve access to new technologies and processes that can increase productivity.”
Workflow automation emerges as a top priority for employees
The findings reveal a strong consensus among employees that workflow automation, a process in which software performs tasks and activities without human intervention, can increase productivity (84% to 86% in the U.S. , 87% in Australia and 86% in the UK) and improve worker happiness and morale, despite the lack of clarity on its implementation.
Furthermore, only 26% of employees (28% in the US, 21% in Australia and 21% in the UK) strongly agree that their company has the necessary automation tools in place.
“We are still in the early stages of workflow automation; however, AI automation will likely play a significant role as this technology evolves. AI-powered tools are making waves across various industries, revolutionizing the way we operate in the workplace,” said Levy-Loya. “As leaders consider integrating AI tools into their operations and technology stacks, should think critically about the employee experience to ensure they deliver and implement processes that improve workforce adaptability, collaboration and productivity.”
Levy-Loya highlighted how automation can reduce the need for employees to perform repetitive tasks. Administrative responsibilities such as data entry or note-taking can be time-consuming and disengaging for employees. Automation can not only promote a healthier work-life balance, but also reduce stress levels.
Automation also streamlines enterprise-wide processes, improving communication and collaboration. Levy-Loya emphasized that employees can make better decisions and achieve greater productivity as tasks are completed more efficiently.
He believes that in the current climate, organizations must be receptive to re-evaluating their infrastructure, processes and operations to enable their employees to achieve success.
“As employees experience greater flexibility and autonomy, companies should meet them where they are and equip them with the right tools instead of holding on in the name of the status quo,” said Levy-Loya. “When streamlining work processes, companies should focus on what’s important and eliminate processes that cause clutter. Transparency and collaboration should be a priority; workflows should highlight flexibility and unnecessary information should be eliminated.