Is poor collaboration the ‘blue screen of death’ for the digital worker?

Your employees are going to use their own tech if it’s easier for them to work, so you may as well get on board and make it work for them, says Stephen Nunn.

We’ve all been there – laptops that like to turn themselves off, unhelpful IT support, and collaboration technology that’s just plain difficult to use. Although this feels like a common gripe, it’s not one that should be overlooked as the consequences can be dire. Businesses tend to fall into two camps – leaders or laggards. Those that lead in workplace technology and those that lag behind.

Are you a leader or laggard?

A recent study surveyed 12,000 workers’ attitudes on how the technology used in the workplace impacts their day-to-day lives.

The survey categorised leader and laggard organisations based on respondents qualifying their employer as either ahead of or behind on technology when compared to the competition, and the results really highlighted how technology impacts employee attrition.

Among the laggard companies, a staggering 70% of UK workers said they feel negatively towards their employer, (against just 58% globally) with 56% saying they’re frustrated and 14% so disengaged that they’re ready to leave the company.

Businesses that keep up with technology survive. 

Contrast that with the leader companies, where 87% feel positive and 32% say the technology they use at work actually makes them proud of their employer. Just 1% of laggards can say the same. The picture painted here is clear. The key to keeping today’s digital worker loyal, productive and positive about their job is to arm them with the most updated technology possible.

Workers are looking for agile, modern solutions that support their need to work in different locations or when on the move. Failure to provide mobility-fuelled productivity has big consequences for employee satisfaction and motivation – which are driving factors in productivity.

A collaboration culture

The data shows a clear new paradigm in today’s digital workplace: more than half of those people who work for technology laggards are frustrated with their employer, and more than half cite devices as the primary source of frustration and those people have one eye on the door.

Their frustration is very real and has a tangible emotional impact – but when you boil it down, it’s really about access. Workers want to be able to do their job, anywhere, and do it easily, without having to jump through hoops.

The device itself is not going to make a difference unless it’s equipped with the right applications and the right productivity and collaboration tools, which is critically important to access and engagement.

To accomplish this transition, it’s imperative to give your digital workers access to services in the cloud, empower them to find answers via social media and use analytics and automation to free them from tedious tasks.

The workplace today can be anywhere from a remote office to a transatlantic plane.

Doing so not only increases an organisation’s speed and ability to deliver better digital solutions, faster, but it also establishes the foundation needed for your workers to help your customers adopt.

Keeping it secure

The ‘Bring Your Own Device’ to work movement has brought about substantial security risks – particularly in the UK.

The survey showed that 57% of respondents downloaded apps and software not supported by their organisation’s IT group because they are ‘better than what my company provided’ or ‘my company did not provide an alternative’, compared to the global average of 63%. 

More concerning however, 58% admit to having used workarounds – bypassing security protocols – to be more productive.

The average cost of a data breach last year was over $3m per incident; so there’s no denying the importance of security – but it can’t come at the expense of access, because the results showed that workers at laggard organisations were 600% more likely to want to leave to work elsewhere – which paints a very stark picture.

The trick is being able to provide a built-in approach to security, leveraging technologies like microsegmentation and encryption, which establish that critical element of digital trust by offering protection across multiple devices, services, network and with identity authentication – regardless of whether it’s at an airport kiosk or using a work laptop at home – without compromising data.

The workplace today can be anywhere from a remote office to a transatlantic plane. Workers now expect the same tools, access and connectivity wherever they are. The result is that technology inspires some and disrupts others. Businesses that keep up with technology survive.

Businesses that define the future with proactive investment thrive. That is the eventual outcome of the leader vs. laggard dichotomy. It means that the right investment in technology today is essential to keeping workers happy and ensuring that businesses retain the right skills, knowledge and experience they need to succeed.


About the author

Stephen Nunn is global VP of Unisys.




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