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Why your corporate culture doesn’t foster productivity

Steven Karachinsky, CEO
December 3, 2020

For the first time in modern history, 2020 presented the world with the opportunity for humans to simultaneously live through the same experience.

Regardless of where you are, or what type of industry you are in—as a global society, we all had to shift to remote worker status in a matter of days.

It’s the shift to remote work that has presented both challenge and opportunity. The challenge is simple: how is a world that was once based on in-person, in-office face time able to adapt to a culture where people are left to their own devices (pardon the pun)?

More so, how do business leaders turn this past year’s experience into a more permanent strategy to boost employee productivity?

So here’s a statement that will send many executives reeling—a “how dare you” moment, but one that can be backed by solid data: Your corporate culture is not what drives productivity.

The idea that productivity is actually a byproduct of corporate culture can’t actually work. Why? Because the idea that steadfast productivity can somehow be demanded is ludicrous by nature.

(It’s okay. Take a moment to let your blood pressure drop; there is a good explanation.)

Research has proven that in the demand for productivity, it’s actually the tools and the associated ecosystem of connectivity—not corporate culture—that enable, manage and measure it. In fact, productive workforces have something in common: employees that are engaged and connected with their colleagues, customers, and thus their work.

In fact, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations where employees are connected through the right tools and unified communications (UC) infrastructure.

What does this truly mean? It means that, to create a culture of productivity, you need a UC ecosystem approach.

So, if productivity is a proven byproduct of UC connectedness and collaboration within the culture, how can organizations work to cultivate this kind of new environment? And what does this look like for businesses supporting highly distributed, remote employees?

Sure, it’s easy to look to technology as a panacea for productivity woes. But rapid uptake of fragmented communications tools in recent months hasn’t led to sustainable improvement. There’s a reason why many of us continue to feel like we’re working on remote islands, despite access to several communications apps across our devices.

To be clear, the problem is not that those communications tools don’t work: it’s that they don’t work well together. When faced with an overflowing home screen of apps, employees are bound to get overwhelmed, becoming more frustrated and disconnected.

The truth is businesses can’t just add more disjointed communications and collaboration tools and expect productivity to increase.

This is where the right foundation (i.e., UC platform) paired with the right UC solutions provider means everything: making it easy to connect with people, share ideas and collaborate through any desired method. And that immediately translates to measurable productivity.

But let’s not forget the human element. The choice of “channel” is paramount. However, with up to four generations of workers now making up the workforce, the concept of one mode of connectivity is downright laughable.

If your older employees gravitate towards phone and email, and younger employees gravitate towards text and video—it’s very likely that your customers think the same way. Again, by providing the right environment built on the right mix of technology that seamlessly delivers a variety of interconnected channels (all without the aforementioned desktop clutter), you can build the foundation for productivity to flourish—internally and externally. Employees have their choice of connectivity channels, as do your customers.

This is how you create a culture that drives productivity and transforms the concept of work-from-home to a successful operate-from-anywhere business model.

Work culture is never an absolute, nor should the demands placed on employees be absolute either. The right tools combined wit the right UC partner creates an environment of success. If done right, living in that environment becomes exceedingly rewarding.

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