New research released today by Ricoh Europe reveals that employers are failing to invest in technology to maintain productivity across their remote workforce, despite concerns about their output.
More than 18 months since the Coronavirus pandemic took hold across Europe, forcing businesses to adopt remote working practices, just over a third (36%) of employers say their organisation has provided the tools and technology to maintain employee productivity while working from any location. Despite the failure to implement new solutions, the majority of employers (53%) acknowledge that investing in AI and automation boosts productivity across a hybrid workforce. These findings come off the back of research released by Ricoh Europe last month, which found that two thirds (65%) of employers don’t fully trust their employees to work remotely.
The research conducted by Opinion Matters, on behalf of Ricoh Europe, polled 1,500 decision makers across the continent. The findings suggest that employers fail to understand the barriers to productivity amongst their workforce.
Employers seem to vastly over-estimate the amount of time employees spend on tasks that deliver real value to customers, while employees say they are bogged down in less impactful work. Most employers (69%) believe their staff spend up to 180 minutes each a day on high value activity, compared to the 73 minutes that employees estimated when asked a similar question in March this year.
The lack of investment in technology to enable people to work productively from any location suggests that employers are underprepared for the realities of hybrid work. Over half (54%) of European business decision makers believe that in-office collaboration is vital to the future success of their organisation. Despite this desire, only 27% believe their company will return to a five-day office-based week in the next 12 months – further questioning their lack of investment in hybrid working tools.
David Mills, CEO, Ricoh Europe, says: “Employers clearly value in-person collaboration – but they must strike a delicate balance between safeguarding culture and a sense of team, often best experienced though office-based working, with the virtues of hybrid working. It is important to remember that technology that aids productivity for hybrid work will benefit people while they are in the office, too. This is particularly true for automation and AI based tools, which employees increasingly crave, because it frees them from repetitive, low value work, to focus on more rewarding tasks.”
Nicola Downing, COO, Ricoh Europe, adds: “Businesses have weathered more than their fair share of disruption over the past 18 months. While they have shown incredible resilience, they risk losing the talent that has stayed with them for the duration of the pandemic if they fail to invest in the technology that will boost productivity for the hybrid work era and beyond. Employers should remember that establishing hybrid working practices, which put employee needs at the heart of decision making, demonstrates commitment and understanding of the challenges these workers have faced, increases productivity and fosters loyalty.”
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