Effectively monitoring flexible working can improve productivity, says Graham Twaddle, chief technology officer at Corporate Modelling, the workforce management technology provider.
The release of the latest GDP growth figures shows UK labour productivity decreased by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2013. While it is encouraging to see that the UK economy and labour market are growing, but the bigger picture is more complex. This shows that although the economy is generating more jobs, productivity is still falling behind.
Greater innovation can help to join this disconnect. The vibrant technology industry is creating new jobs in the UK and is also developing ways to help our workers produce more. Workforce management software is already helping businesses to make better and more effective use of their time by allocating specific tasks to those with the relevant skills. Managers can have a clear view of their staff’s workloads from any place in the world in order to keep track of day-to-day task progress remotely. As a result, tasks are completed more quickly and to a higher standard, employees are happier and more motivated, and workers are given the chance to focus and develop in the areas where they excel, creating broader flexibility in the workplace.
Business bird’s eye view
Many process-centric organisations have a multi-skilled workforce, however it is very difficult to accurately track what everyone is doing at a level of detail that allows an effective level of control and management. It is also often the case that non-value add activities, for example comfort breaks, smoking breaks, surfing the web and social media, are difficult to monitor – especially if the workforce is dispersed across numerous locations or working from home. Workforce management software can easily identify how individuals are spending their time so that a balance is met. If a company can deliver the correct piece of work to the correctly skilled individual, workers are able to complete tasks they are best at and organisations needn’t employ a workforce that consists of only the most highly skilled individuals.
As staff numbers grow, it is harder to see what is going on and where resources are being allocated. Workforce management systems can identify any issues in real time and pinpoint over or under capacity across teams. This allows managers to have a bird’s eye view of their team members so that they can move them around effectively to fill in any gaps.
Management information creates flexibility
Companies can use workforce management software to gain a competitive advantage. It has the power, both as a business intelligence tool, and as an operational tool for more efficient processing, to improve productivity and spark a real cultural change in all types of organisations.
Having greater governance not only provides companies with real-time information about their business, but enables a more cohesive linear handling of work allocation across different geographies, which will ultimately result in better ROI and provide better products and services to the customers they serve.
Workforce management technology is particularly effective when it is embraced by an organisation that encourages its workforce through effective management and training. Ultimately, no software is going to cure Britain’s economic hangover overnight, but technology will certainly have a key role to play in future proofing our workers and businesses for the years to come.
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