08/06/2016 - 11:12

Website bans to boost productivity

08/06/2016 - 11:12

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Blocking employee access to social media and streaming content websites is a common method small and medium-sized businesses are using to improve productivity in the workplace.

Website bans to boost productivity

Blocking employee access to social media and streaming content websites is a common method small and medium-sized businesses are using to improve productivity in the workplace.

In a bid to improve productivity, over half of SMEs in Australia are blocking, or intend to block, access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, eBay and other social websites, a survey by Bankwest has revealed.

The report found that while the measures are being imposed on staff, nearly a quarter of the SMEs surveyed exclude management from the restrictions.

Bankwest executive general manager of business banking, Sinead Taylor, said productivity could be reduced significantly if employees were distracted by activity on certain websites, potentially leading to errors and adversely affecting customer service.

“These days, many sites required active engagement – much more so than in the past when people simply surfed the net,” she said.

“However, in introducing restrictions you need to ensure they don’t backfire by sending a signal that you don’t trust your people.”

The report found that the approach was most prevalent amongst SME construction businesses, with more than 70 per cent either employing, or intending to employ, the restrictions.

Other tactics SMEs are undertaking to boost productivity in the workplace include investing in new IT, providing education and training, allowing staff to work remotely, and providing fruit or meals in the office.

Others plan to rearrange seating in the office, provide gym access, or subsidise gym memberships.

“Sometimes simple changes like rearranging seating in the office can enhance the way staff work together to get things done,” Ms Taylor said.

The report found that three quarters of SMEs are incorporating at least one emerging technology into the business to improve productivity.

“Medium-sized businesses are more likely than small businesses to place importance on emerging technologies,” Ms Taylor said.

“Construction businesses are most likely to see predictive analytics as the way of the future and manufacturing businesses are most likely to view robotics or 3D printing as key.”

Along with restricting online access and making simple changes around the office, SMEs said they plan to increase spending on productivity by over 70 per cent on average, with the investment average estimated to top $600,000.

That figure was largely driven by medium-sized businesses that plan to spend more than $1 million on productivity initiatives over the next year, on average.

“The increasing productivity spend in this sector may suggest these businesses are taking proactive steps to ensure they prevail despite the challenging conditions,” Ms Taylor said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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