Home » Future of work » Technology can boost post-pandemic productivity and employee experience

Darren Fields

Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland, Citrix

Remote working is now standard practice, meaning it’s never been more important to keep employees engaged and productive. Technology stands ready to deliver.

In just a few short months, COVID-19 has changed the world of work. If not forever, then at least for the foreseeable future.

The seismic shifts we have seen in working patterns are unlikely to go any time soon.

It’s not easy to keep staff productive and engaged in such circumstances, yet the continued success of organisations across the private and public sector depends on it.

Flexibility, engagement, and productivity

In the pre-pandemic world of February 2020, Citrix surveyed UK managers and employees across several sectors, in a bid to understand the relationship between the employee experience and output.

Flexibility and engagement, they agreed, were key to driving productivity in a world of remote working.

While most managers believed their organisation was operating at optimum productivity, just 24% of employees agreed.

Interestingly, 16% of employees doubted their company would ever be set up in a way that enabled maximum productivity.

We believe that employee engagement is vital to the quest for better productivity. Engaged employees tend to be happier, and are more likely to deliver a better customer experience.

The managers we surveyed agreed with us, particularly those in the insurance and retail sectors (88% and 85%, respectively).  But just 21% of the employees we spoke to said they felt fully engaged in their organisation’s future.

When asked what was holding them back, employees said inefficient, outdated technology directly impacted their output.

As one employee explained: “There is not enough technology for the workload to be completed”.

Organisations that want to enhance employee experience and maximise productivity as the world adapts to new ways of working must invest in technology.

Accelerating change

Our survey respondents highlighted the importance of flexibility, and pointed to projects and initiatives already underway to facilitate this.

Public sector managers who are used to some people working from home some of the time, must now accommodate remote working for all people all of the time. The NHS, focused on reducing risk and freeing up capacity in the face of COVID-19, has scaled up and rolled out remote consultations.

Government IT teams that have invested in systems that enable a minority of employees to work from home are quickly ramping them up, while ensuring they are agile enough to be sustainable.  

Across the board, organisations need to set up additional communication channels, like conference calls and video-based recruitment processes. They need guidance for how to share ideas and information, as well as training for people on how to use these tools. There’s a lot to be done.

Security challenges

The utilities and retail sectors, critical to keeping the country running in a time of crisis, face particular challenges.

Cybersecurity has always been a top priority in the highly regulated utilities space, but significantly higher levels of remote access to core systems magnifies vulnerability. Organisations need to close any possible security gaps by providing single sign-on to multiple apps, and automating simple tasks that do not require human interaction.

In retail, where 60% of managers already thought technology could drive efficiency, systems and human resources departments need to be dynamic enough to securely cope with the ebbs and flows of seasonal changes in demand and staffing.

Digital revolution

Across sectors, the digital revolution has been coming for some time. Luckily, as businesses and organisations move to adapt models, boost engagement and drive productivity, technology is making new adaptable models of work possible for a continuously changing world.


Our survey was conducted in February 2020. We spoke to 757 IT Decision Makers and HR DMs at organisations with 250-plus employees across retail, financial services/ banking, insurance, utilities, and the public sector.
Within the next month, we will publish a report based on new research following the outbreak of Covid-19, demonstrating how much employer and employee perceptions have shifted in their attitudes to productivity and the workplace.

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