Supporting SMEs

by Adrienne Gormley, Vice President of Global Customer Experience and Head of EMEA, Dropbox

Industry View from

How can we focus on the work that matters?

We are inundated with an array of technologies in the workplace, all competing for our time and attention. We can communicate, act, create and consume work whenever and wherever. We’ve become attuned to constantly checking our phones.


The proliferation of technology over the past 15 years has revolutionised our lives, but many feel that its promise of enabling us to work smarter, not harder, has not yet materialised. In the mid-1980s, approximately 61 per cent of workers told pollsters they were satisfied with their jobs. Since then, that number has continued to decline. Today, only around 50 per cent of employees share the same sentiment, according to data from The Conference Board.


 Fragmented technologies in the work place are compounding the issue. A recent study by Pegasystems found that employees juggle between up to 35 job-critical applications nearly once a minute – that’s more than 1,100 times every day. We use email, a host of different file types, various communication tools and project management systems. Not only were these technologies not necessarily designed to work together, but we are still learning how to process all this information and move fluidly between all the different tools in the workplace.


To regain some semblance of personal satisfaction and control, and use the time we have in the working day more effectively to focus on the things that really matter, we need to rethink how we work, collaborate and get things done. It’s time we make a change. Recent technological advances can still be used for good, but we have to be more thoughtful, more intentional. A more enlightened way of working is to harness the power of technology to align our disparate work functions, so we no longer have to waste time on fragmented and siloed ways of working. We need an intelligent, digital working environment built for how we work today – one that can effortlessly connect all our platforms and conversations, and harnesses the power of machine intelligence. In a world of technology that erodes workers’ focus, the aim would be to give that focus back.


Getting this right is not only important for employee engagement, but also the bottom line. A recent employee engagement study by AON showed that a 5 per cent increase in employee engagement is directly linked to a 3 per cent increase in company revenue.


What was once was a relentless cycle can become a more tranquil, focused and happier way of working if we use technology correctly. Technology has unlimited potential, but we’ve seen how it can have a negative impact on people’s daily work. It’s time to build a more enlightened way of working.

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