C-Suite and employees divided over the most productive working environment and whether technology is enhancing productivity, or hindering it

LOWELL, Mass., May 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from Jabra, the leading provider of UC sound solutions, reveals fresh insights into assessing workplace productivity and the vast disparities at the C-suite and executive level around its accountability and success.

The Productivity Paradox

Jabra conducted in-depth interviews with 688 CEOs and C-suite executives in the US, UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. The subsequent report, The Technology Paradox: C-suite perspectives on the productivity puzzle, reveals deep divisions among CEOs and C-suite executives over who in the organization is ultimately responsible for productivity.

While a third (31 percent) of CEOs said it was the board’s responsibility, over half (52 percent) of C-suite executives said that the CEO should take ownership. Further adding to the confusion, seven in ten businesses (71 percent) say that measuring productivity is important but more than half of C-suite respondents (56 percent) believe that it is difficult to measure.

Commenting on the research, Holger Reisinger, SVP for Enterprise Solutions at Jabra, said: «Optimizing productivity is one of the biggest challenges facing advanced economies across the world today, but our research shows that businesses are no closer to taking a strategic approach to solving the problem. This is an issue that demands real leadership, yet senior leaders cannot decide who’s responsible. This is clearly the first step towards improving productivity, but it must be followed by real engagement with employees about their preferred ways of working.»

Where are workers most productive?

The report also reveals a deep disconnect between C-suite executives and their employees over the most productive working environment. Around two-thirds of C-suite executives (61 percent) say that working in the office achieves higher productivity.

Previous Jabra research into knowledge workers’ attitudes on productivity found that the open office – the most common type of office environment in every country except for the US – is one of the least productive places to work.

Knowledge workers overwhelmingly say that they are most productive in single or private offices, with almost half (44 percent) picking this among their top two choices for working environments. By contrast, only 17 percent identified open offices among their top choices.

Noise, technology & colleagues drive distraction

Jabra’s knowledge worker research revealed the productivity obstacles of working in the open office that the C-suite seems not to appreciate. These include interruptions from colleagues (cited by 56 percent), colleagues talking around me (55 percent) and noise levels (45 percent).

The research also suggests that technology is contributing to the productivity problem. More than one in ten (11 percent) of knowledge workers said that interruptions from digital devices affect their productivity, while the proportion of those saying they are distracted by multiple messages coming through to their softphones and audio devices rose from six to eight percent since 2015. This contrasts with the fact that two-thirds (62 percent) of C-suite respondents believe that encouraging the use of multiple communications platforms aids productivity. 

«Business leaders admit that evaluating productivity is difficult, and our research reveals that different countries take different approaches to measuring it,» added Holger Reisinger. «Surely one of the most effective ways of improving knowledge workers’ productivity is actually to listen to their concerns about distractions and to take account of their preferred working environment. Yet the figures show that there is a chasm between workers and the C-suite – for example, over the preferences for open offices and the benefits of using multiple communications technologies.»

«The C-suite seems wedded to the idea that more technology must result in improved productivity. While this may be the case for some workers, it may have the opposite effect on others. The only way to make workers more productive – and, indeed, happier – in their jobs is to engage with them. But for that to happen, every organization first needs to be clear about who owns the issue of productivity,» he concluded.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About Jabra
Jabra is a leader in engineering communications and sound solutions – innovating to empower both consumers and businesses. Proudly part of the GN Group, we are committed to letting people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. Through sound, we help transform lives. Jabra engineering excellence leads the way, building on 150 years of pioneering work. This allows us to create integrated headsets and communications tools that help professionals work more productively; and wireless headphones and earbuds that let consumers better enjoy calls, music, and media. Jabra employs approx. 1,100 people worldwide, and reported annual revenue of DKK 4,7bn in 2018. The GN Group, founded in 1869, operates in 100 countries and delivers innovation, reliability, and ease of use. Today, GN employs 6000 people, and is Nasdaq Copenhagen listed. GN makes life sound better. www.jabra.com  

© 2019 GN Audio A/S. All rights reserved. Jabra® is a registered trademark of GN Audio A/S. All other trademarks included herein are the property of their respective owners (design and specifications are subject to change without notice).

Jabra. (PRNewsFoto/Jabra)

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SOURCE Jabra