Could Harmony Outside of Work be Key to Productivity in the Office?

by Mark Greenaway

posted on 04-11-2017

Norway is the happiest place on earth according to the recently published World Happiness Report. While the report looks at a range of factors, including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), life expectancy and freedom of choice, this year’s report has a particular focus on happiness in the workplace. It showed that money is only one predictive measure of happiness with work-life balance and job variety being other significant drivers.

This idea of work-life harmony remains the name of the game for progressive companies to succeed and get the most out of employees. In one of our Think Tanks last year “The Future of Work is Bright” an idea widely accepted was that organisations need to look at what they offer employees: Rather than monetary incentives, progressive employers will be looking at lifestyle as a form of currency.

Shifting to a greater focus on lifestyle and making sure employees aren’t over-worked can mean implementing a number of changes to improve efficiencies. Without taking action, administrative tasks sap productivity, meaning less work gets done – and there’s less time for play, too.

This isn’t just speculation: Our survey of 7,000 European office employees found that professionals across Europe are spending almost one day a week (a staggering 6.8 hours) on office administration. This includes filling out forms, printing documents, and chasing signatures—it’s draining productivity. Almost half of European employees (48%) reported that they had even lost a contract (actual company revenue) due to simple office tasks going wrong, and some 33% had been forced to cancel a project entirely due to the same problem—jeopardizing revenue, reputation, productivity and likely even more.

The resulting “document drain” meant that many workers also wound up feeling tied to the office, with two thirds (64%) working late or on weekends (49%), due to office admin not going to plan. However, our survey found that employees in Nordic countries were the least likely to work late due to office-admin gone wrong and in turn, interestingly, we see that all Nordic countries have topped the list of “happiest places on Earth” in the recent World Happiness Report. Coincidence?

While Adobe’s “Document Drain” survey made abundantly clear that technology plays a key role in simplifying office processes, there remains a huge opportunity for businesses to transform their “back-office”, and curb much of the employee frustration across companies today.

Working smarter to save time

Looking further at this back-office transformation, our survey pointed to electronic signatures being one of the keys to quickening office processes with 74% of employees seeing them as a valuable innovation in the workplace.

With an electronic signature, in a matter of clicks, the entire process of printing, preparing, signing and receiving documents is reduced significantly while remaining legally binding across Europe, giving back valuable time to both employees and businesses.

The survey found that mobile apps were also recognised as an important innovation. Almost half of employees across France (49%), UK (45%) and Germany (44%) said mobile apps would also be critical to solving admin problems at work, highlighting yet another opportunity to implement smarter document technology and more efficient, digital solutions.

These findings should be a big wake-up call for businesses. Re-imagining administrative processes through apps, digital documents, and other technologies provides the opportunity for companies to save employee time.

The World Happiness Report is a great reminder that the quality of our day to day work can cause major variations in employee happiness—so by giving employees the tools to reduce the time spent on admin tasks not only saves time, but it also makes our workforce much happier!

Find out how you can fight Document Drain here.

Topics: Future of Work