Increased family time correlates with increased productivity, study finds

A new study explores success factors for remote working in South Africa.

At the time when remote working became mandatory, only about a third of organisations in South Africa had rolled out a digital transformation strategy. This is according to Remote Working in South Africa 2020 - a study based on telephonic interviews with 400 South African enterprises conducted by World Wide Worx on behalf of Cisco Systems - which also found that the shift to remote working had led to improved productivity for 29 percent of organisations. Among companies that had already rolled out digital transformation strategies prior to the pandemic, that figure leapt to a massive 70 percent. 

The study found that, while only 37 percent of companies had rolled out their digital transformation strategies prior to the pandemic, 56 percent stated that their digital strategy was underway, but not yet advanced, and 95 percent confirmed that digital transformation was very important for their organisations. 

For the purpose of this study, digital transformation was defined as “the digital enablement of all processes within an organisation.”

The single most significant success factor underpinning continued productivity was having tasks spelt out digitally, allowing for better delegation of tasks – cited by a near-unanimous 96 percent of respondents. This went hand in hand with good connectivity, reported by 93 percent of decision-makers as a key success factor.

“As it turns out, many companies had the ability to work from home, but the Covid-19 crisis ultimately gave them that push to make digital transformation happen,” says Garsen Naidu, Cisco South Africa country manager. 

Interestingly, the research also revealed that being allowed to spend time with children during the day was a major success factor for remote working. 

According to the study, more than nine out of ten (94 percent) decision-makers said they regarded allowing parents more time with their children as being essential. 

“It stands to reason, but it’s not what employers think of first,“ says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx and lead analyst on the project. “But the finding is clear: the digitalisation of the home office must take into account the personal circumstances of the employee."