By Rich Kenney, VP and Co Founder TechSolutions, Inc.
In education, there is a gap in academic achievement between kids ready to learn and those coming from homes that don’t do a great job encouraging education. COVID-19 has widened that education gap for a variety of reasons including access to proper technology. The consulting firm McKinsey is reporting a second kind of gap inspired by the pandemic – the Productivity Gap.
During the pandemic, productivity fell for the US by 3.5% when workers were forced to work from their kitchen tables, deal with children in the house, plan for uncertainty, and learn to adapt to new tools like Zoom and Teams. In some cases, however, being detached from the office hive has helped people’s productivity. Even with reduced productivity for some and increased output for others, a recent McKinsey study finds that companies might be entering a golden era for output and efficiency. It has taken a little time, but we feel like most remote and hybrid workers have settled into their new routines. The time for smarter and more efficient working is now!
The McKinsey report says there is potential to accelerate annual productivity growth in the US by huge amounts between now and 2024. Their predictions of how this growth will be calculated using the GDP index is impressive for sure, but it is not true for all companies.
The pandemic was like a wedge separating well-prepared companies and industries from the rest. Similar to the other report, a Harvard Business Review study found that companies that were adept at managing the time, talent, and energy of a limited workforce were 40% more productive than others, giving them a significant competitive advantage over the past year.
“The use of technologies such as digitization and automation appears to have accelerated in some companies during the pandemic,” McKinsey writes. “With the right conditions in place, this has the potential to raise productivity … or contribute to raising output per worker.”
The businesses that are prepared with the proper balance between technology and HR policies are benefiting by the events of the past year. Some items they take advantage of include:
- Flexible work schedules which allow staff members to be productive at times convenient for them.
- Elimination of commuting time to gain productivity time.
- Digitization of paperwork, signatures, and filing which is now fully accepted in most scenarios and saves countless amounts of time.
The pandemic showed that certain companies could pivot faster than they thought possible when facing impossible conditions. A study from last October found that businesses digitalized activities as much as 25 times faster than they believed they could, which also lead to a productivity surge.
At TechSolutions, we have noticed that some clients have embraced the opportunity, using it for a long-term productivity gain, while others are looking to re-establish work styles that were present in 2019. We are adapting to support you and your company’s preferences.
A new possibility for a highly productive workplace is one where a staff member can work at any given time with full capacity to perform his/her job duties with the greatest efficiency. TechSolutions has worked hard to rethink our capacity to support this new definition of productivity. We are proud to boast that we are well-positioned to support the post-pandemic, high-productivity firms by utilizing the following ideas:
- The adoption of a new service desk model designed to increase responsiveness and cost-effectiveness.
- The addition of new technical staff to support home workers and to operate the latest network management tools that are used to protect our clients.
- An increase in automation and artificial intelligence tools to prevent “bad things” from happening and to be notified quicker when they do.
- The implementation of new cybersecurity strategies, processes, and tools to protect the anytime, anywhere worker.
- Several changes to our processes for monitoring, maintenance, and management of the systems under our care to ensure security, connectivity, and faster issue resolution.
The ripple effects of workforce disruptions caused by the pandemic are still unfolding. However, the gap that was created between firms in leveraging what we have learned so as to increase productivity is real. TechSolutions is prepared to support the firms that are ready to increase productivity. We are encouraging everyone to stay vigilant with an eye towards cybersecurity as well as to focus on productivity gains while coming out of this time.
We believe that most companies will need to think creatively and “outside the box” to keep that flexibility edge. Firms large and small must embrace changes and pursue efficiencies presently, just as they did over the past year. To do this, they need to invest in their IT network by considering it one of the most critical tools staff members use to work efficiently and productively.
Let’s hope that the education gap closes for the students who are falling behind. And let’s make sure your company is not on the wrong side of the Productivity Gap. If you feel your company needs help taking advantage of today’s technology tools, please give us a call!