How to Increase Productivity by Managing Personal Use of Technology

Business thrives in environments when employees are engaged in the vision and mission of their company. While technology has delivered productivity tools to keep them on task, we have to be realistic in how employees are really spending their time. How can IT manage the influx of personal use on company technology?

The American Time Study in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Labor examined employee activity by hour, in and out of the workplace. The study found that the average employee spent 8.7 hours a day at the office with 80% being spent between the hours of 8am and 5pm. that’s over one-third of the day spent at work.

Personal use of technology at work can be a drain on resources, performance and motivation. Salary.com’s Time at Work Study in 2014 that employees are using company time and equipment for personal activities:

  • 89% of employees waste at least 30 minutes a day
  • 53% believed that time “wasted” promotes greater productivity
  • 27% of employers block non work-related websites

IT and department managers may be monitoring activities on company devices and application, but the number is decreasing. In addition, we have to explore the impact of personal devices, Shadow IT (cloud-based applications not implemented by IT) and remote activities with employees and partners.

Leaders are seeking opportunities to boost motivation and performance with flexibility, breaking down barriers. They’re also seeking to implement productivity tools, like Slack, Asana and Trello, to support team members and keep them on task. They are testing new communication methods from wireless presentations to enterprise social media. However, for IT, this could create chaos If not properly managed.

Here are 4 ways IT can work to rein in personal use at work:

  • Optimize your BYOD policy. Can bringing your own device help to reduce personal usage? Yes! By allowing employees to work on device with which they are comfortable can bolster work output. The policy also has to note compatibility and accessibility by device type and security parameters. By ensuring your BYOD policy is flexible with changing technology, it promote acceptance by employees
  • Strength enterprise security. Whether it’s BYOD or company-owned equipment, security is a concern for everyone with whom you work. Your business should ensure it’s ahead of the game when it comes to leading technology standards and best practices to protect your data, people and business. Security needs to be inclusive of your remote employees, third-party partners and external activities, as the way we work changes from the inside out
  • Conduct productivity reviews. Here’s an opportunity to work cross-functionally. By partnering with Human Resources and other departments, you can see the role of technology across your company. If technology is not being used as it should, you may uncover opportunities to have it work for your employees to grow your business
  • Bring people together. IT can work to bring people together. For example, unified communication systems help to contain access and flow, while being open to new ways we share information. If personal use is found to be a way to break up the monotony of work, maybe we can use unified communication tools to bring people together to get excited about work together

Personal use of technology will never go away, we cannot control what individuals do. However, by setting the parameters and being transparent with colleagues, IT has the ability to constructively limit personal use and increase productivity. Partnering with other teams can change how technology works and how employees perform, for the better of your company.

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