3 Ways Data Improves Productivity In The Workplace

3 essential productivity factors that come from data


Today, businesses use big data in many ways. It garners new and vital information that can guide our interactions with customers. When applied correctly, data will bump sales and streamline the supply chain.

But it can also have a major impact on productivity within your office, which is a huge cost to consider. Every year, billions are lost due to productivity issues, but the information and accessibility that data can provide will solve this problem.

According to research from Workforce, more than $576 billion is lost annually to US companies due to productivity loss. Worker's compensation, disability, group health program expenses, employee sick days, and inefficient operations in the workplace all contribute to a significant problem for workforces who need to make ends meet.

The ability to measure productivity and understand where costs are rising is key in reducing lost productivity costs. 'It all boils down to the bottom line,' Kimberly Mashburn-Lee, an executive of Pacific Resources Benefits Advisors L.L.C. told Workforce.

'If your employees are not at work and they are not productive, the bottom line is going to be affected dramatically.' To handle the higher bottom line that Mashburn-Lee identifies, data can help you diagnose key problems and develop solutions.

As you seek these solutions, it can be helpful to look at some of the top ways that data can improve productivity in the workplace.

1. The Connection Between Health and Productivity

As identified in the Workforce study, health is a chief factor in productivity losses. When employees are sick or otherwise disabled, costs increase.

Data provides valuable information about what a healthy workplace atmosphere looks like. For example, the Workforce study shows that 39%, or $227 billion, is lost each year due to poor employee health.

Further data trends from the American Heart Association reveal some causes, and most point towards the negative effects of sitting, even for those who exercise regularly. We know that bad posture contributes to back pain, neck pain, and illnesses like cardiovascular disease that can get worse later in life.

Understanding the impact of health on productivity through data shows the way to solutions for poor employee health. It encourages the use of healthy initiatives and more ergonomic designs.

Steadily, the business world is catching on to the importance of improved health in the workplace, and firms are changing the design of their office spaces to compensate.

2. A More Mobile Workplace

Telecommuting is now an option in many workplaces. Research shows that more than 3.7 million employees work from home at least half the time, or 2.8% of the global workforce. In the U.S. alone, 37% of workers have telecommuted for work in the past, and the market is growing.

Through data, we've grasped the benefits of telecommuting, particularly when it comes to job satisfaction and overall productivity. Approximately 73% of employees who telecommute are more satisfied with their working conditions and say they’re able to get more done at home than at work.

In one of many studies, the Harvard Business Review showed the productivity differences between those who worked from home and those who worked in the office of a Chinese travel site called Ctrip. Those with the option to work from home knocked it out of the park.

'We found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did - meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them,' the study authors reported. 'They also quit at half the rate of people in the office - way beyond what we anticipated.'

These results have been repeated in multiple studies showing that understanding the benefits of a more mobile workplace can enable companies to cut costs and boost production considerably.

3. Tracking Employee Interactions

Through productivity software and workplace analytics, organizations can see and understand the way their employees interact with one another and with customers. Technology can track everything from time tracking to socialization, offering mounds of data.

When it sought to raise productivity among call center workers, for example, Bank of America monitored the productivity of employees through motion-sensing badges. The resulting data showed that employees who worked closely with teams and had frequent social interactions were more productive.

Using this data, branches scheduled more group breaks and team-building exercises to promote socialization. Productivity took a 10% jump.

If properly accessed and applied, data can show firms the road to increased productivity in the workplace. Tools and resources are available in larger quantities than any company could ever hope to employ, so there’s no excuse for leaving data out of your processes.

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