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Productivity and resource utilization: Forging a path to efficiency

Agile Working

Data Analytics

Future of Work

Feb 15 2021

In the first blog of our Future of Work Series, we examine one important factor gaining focus among legal, financial services, and professional services firms – tracking, measuring and analyzing performance data.

In a world where companies are always looking for the next way to improve their organization, cut costs and win new business, data is the next frontier.

After almost a full year of pandemic-forced remote working, one key issue continually raised by our clients is their workforce efficiency. Concerns around support staff productivity and utilization when working remotely seem to permeate the management zeitgeist: How do I know what people are doing when I can’t see them working? Can they be as diligent in their roles without the benefit of in-office technologies, support and collaboration? Can fewer employees do the work needed in the current climate?

When addressing these concerns, it’s important to understand two concepts:

  1. Utilization and productivity are not the same. Resource utilization measures the time a person is allocated to working on a task and productivity measures work that gets done within that allocated time.
  2. Neither will drive efficiency without performance metrics and data that’s properly captured and managed.

In roles that traditionally require in-office presence, such as secretarial or administrative roles, capturing and utilizing data will radically transform resource management. Proper data management can identify teams who are overworked and those that are underutilized. With this knowledge, companies can scale-up and scale-down accordingly or even upskill existing staff, so they have greater ability to support other teams. Subsequently, roles will evolve from static functions to become more versatile as workers in administrative and secretarial teams pivot their skillsets to meet the demands of their employer – creating a more dynamic and productive culture.

Therefore, by carefully harvesting, curating and disseminating data, companies will be able to:

  • Evidence their superiority (e.g. demonstrating speed-to-delivery and service to their clients)
  • Manage costs effectively (e.g. through predicting demand and scaling accordingly)
  • Enable experimentation (e.g. demonstrate that outsourcing provides benefits that outweigh risks)

The gatekeepers of data will be important for organizations in the future, and there is an opportunity for firms to be gatekeepers of their own data before someone else does it first. Leaders will become increasingly cognizant of the benefit that data can bring to their organization and will seek help from those already providing data services.

Careful and clever use of data unlocks a world of possibilities for companies to enhance their position in the marketplace. Organizations that use performance data effectively will be better placed than their peers to ensure business continuity during extreme events, evaluate the effect of strategy changes, and make better use of their staff.

That’s why businesses that utilize workflow and analytics tools, such as Williams Lea’s ENGAGE platform, are empowered to harness utilization and productivity, and foster a more skilled and engaged workforce, a vibrant culture, stronger partnerships with clients and greater profitability.

To find out more on how data can improve productivity and resource utilization, download our latest report on the future of work.

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