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Public sector leaders and staff clash over perceived productivity levels

There is a disagreement among HR departments and staff within public sector organisations regarding how productive remote workers are.

New research from Citrix revealed almost three in four (73%) staff members reportedly believe “serious change” needs to happen to allow them to be at their most productive. This is an increase of 10% on pre-lockdown findings.

Yet three in five (62%) HR and IT leaders claim their organisation is working at optimum productivity, suggesting a disconnect between different tiers of management.

This is up on the 48% who took this view pre-lockdown, implying leaders feel those working from home may have increased output levels.

Nearly half (44%) of public sector HR and IT leaders surveyed said that efficiency can be improved by using technology that enables greater flexibility, for example, by being equally as productive on a work device whether in the workplace, on the move or working remotely.

Jane Christopher, senior HR business partner Northern Europe at Citrix told HR magazine that businesses now have the opportunity to “reinvent the space where work gets done” to improve productivity.

She said: “Within this context HR has a key role to play, and greater collaboration with IT teams can help deliver a wide range of benefits for employees.

“By working closely together, HR and IT can help ensure that workers have the digital tools they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible outside the traditional office environment and that a healthy work/life balance is struck.”

Further reading:

Why technology is critical to a better employee experience

How businesses are harnessing technology during the switch to flexible working

Leaders failing to train employees on new tech developments

One in three (34%) staff members said that technology which encourages them to work in their preferred style would increase their productivity.

Two-thirds of IT and HR leaders said their organisations plan to increase spending on technology to boost productivity, with respondents stating their organisation will spend an average of £6.9m over the next five years.

Darren Fields, regional vice president, UK & Ireland, Citrix, said: “The abrupt shift to home working, enforced by COVID-19 restrictions, has put the digital employee experience front of mind – for both workers and leaders.

“These findings indicate a clear divide between leaders and staff, with technology seemingly not being deployed in the right way to deliver the required productivity gains.”

The survey was commissioned by Citrix and carried out by Censuswide. It questioned 200 employees and 150 IT and HR leaders from across large UK public sector organisations (employing at least 250 people) – both before and during the government-imposed lockdown due to COVID-19.