The thorny issue of productivity and efficiency

T he economy is under pressure, so companies are having to work harder than ever to stay relevant – and this means that every employee must be performing to the very best of his/her ability. But in the changing workplace environment, managers are realising that work doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity or efficiency, and are having to come up with new ways of making sure employees are making the most of each day. The simple truth – hard as it is to come to grips with – is that people are just not as productive as they imagine they are. “Whenever we start measuring productivity, people are always surprised to see how poorly they measure,” says Graham Fry, founder of local software development company Saucecode.


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How to bridge the disconnect between work and productivity

The challenge of measuring productivity has taken on a new twist in the digital age. One company has tackled the challenge and come up with new ways of solving an ongoing problem. Kathy Gibson found out more

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution becomes a reality, the nature of work – and the workplace itself – is changing.

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Why track productiviy

The bottom line of productivity

The changed work landscape of the information age has resulted in a dramatically changed work profile for very many employees in most spheres of business furthermore expanding a larger growing segment of their workforce outside of the central office than it had been in the past.

Applications and Internet connectivity have become the core tools that drive most businesses, but equally their efficient or inefficient usage as well as the distractions they offer users has multi- folded. It has even necessitated IT policy usage documentation as standard practice.

However, even within policy frameworks are you getting the best out of your employees. Are they both efficient and productive to the business? If the case do you have proof of that, if not, do you know why not? Where the productivity or efficiency is fractured? It is likely a combination of a number of probabilities native to this new paradigm.

The computer based worker spends a large part of their work related time on their computer. This work invariably entails the use of applications and the internet. From an application perspective the individual needs to be knowledgeable and proficient in the application to be efficient in it. Can you monitor this and establish whether training is required to improve efficiency. Are the applications being used the right applications. Is the individuals use of applications efficient and delivering productively? Is the user launching applications and automated tasks and watching the device do the work without being productive themselves, or allowing the device to do a days work while they get on with other work related tasks or are they using the time for non work related activities?

Email is an integral part of business communication but equally can be a source of significant extra curricular time consumption. The same goes for the Internet. People keep in touch with business colleagues using the internet, equally so family and friends, businesses engage in social media – Twitter, Face Book, research and seeking solutions is enabled for business, Keeping abreast of competitors and Industry news and events. Banking online is the norm. applications are Internet enabled and cloud based. However all mentioned also has a personal profile. A non work related profile. What is the balance between work related internet usage and personal internet usage? Is there a balance, or is it skewed not favouring the business and thereby impacting efficiency and productivity?

Do you as a business have a view of application usage? Of Internet usage, the balance between work and personal Internet or even application usage or in fact PC based activities. Word may be a business tool but 10 hours working actively on a file titled My daughters Wedding might not be work productive for someone working as a debtors and creditors clerk.

Are employees productively busy or merely looking busy and possibly engaged with non work related activities on their computers. Can you measure people against their potential in terms of productivity or efficiency, can you observe and assist in developing individuals towards their potential? Do you know when an employee is possibly over working? In danger of possible burnout? Putting in too many hours? and why? Do they have too much on their plate? Are they merely in need of training, or routine? Are they distracted during core hours and having to put in hours to catch up?

Would you like to have a view of efficiencies across different divisions, branches, across same positions and levels, between different job classifications. You may know that your production line is efficient as it is delivering the automated output of 10 tons of electrical cable per day, but is your R&D department equally efficient in their area and requirements? Your accounts Department? Your Sales department? The over all business efficiency and productivity rely on each element to be delivering at appropriate levels for the business to best succeed.

These are all questions and events that have a direct relation to outcome. Businesses and business managers all have a desire to achieve the best outcome which means understanding and being able to manage and leverage productivity and efficiency, while at the same time being able to have employees work within an environment that is not restrictive or encouraging of exploitation. You most certainly do not and cannot stand over each shoulder viewing what is or isn’t going on.

Another growing trend is that of employees that work off site, from home, from remote offices, or at client sites. You have an almost zero view into their working day aside of output which may or may not be the most efficient and productive output from these employees or contractors. All the above ‘in-office’ issues apply equally with the additional that you have a very limited view.

These insights should one be able to measure PC based activity in terms of what, how, when, length of time, and efficiency of use among others bring you a lot closer to being able to effectively manage these business critical needs. Insights that enable better, more qualified decision making. Tistro is uniquely developed to give you these insights. Tistro has incorporated algorithms and checks and balances developed that allow for via a granular management of work profiles, to collect encrypted data and produce visual and graphical outputs of information that reflects these views.

If you have ever wondered
Is my business running as productively and efficiently as it can be?
Are all my departments running at optimum efficiency and productivity?
Are my individual employees managing their work tasks efficiently and productively?
Are my off site employees being productive and efficient in their work days?
Are too many core working hours being utilised for personal use?
Is the use of Internet access during core hours being skewed towards personal use, social media and the like
Are my machines doing the work and my employees watching them work or socialising around the coffee tables?
Are any employees over burdened or struggling resulting in long work days and the risk of burnout as a result?
What applications are being used in my organization, by how many of my staff, for how long? Do I need as many licenses as I am paying for?
Is my productivity stable, increasing, or declining? How is it affected seasonally? Or compared to last quarter, year? Did the new application result in an increase in productivity and efficiency? Which are my high productivity areas and which are my low ones? Which individuals are more or less productive than others and possible reasons why?

Then Tistro may be able to give you answers, and much more; Insite, and the ability to make more qualified decisions.

Try it, contact us and arrange for a Demonstration or an evaluation and see what Tistro can do to increase your insight into your business and increase and manage your productivity.

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Working from home increases productivity

There are many reasons working from home is becoming the norm, the least of which is regaining time lost as a result of massive increases in travel time to and from work.  As management the obvious challenge here is knowing what these staff members are doing, are they engaged with business related work , but drilling further down are they productive and most of all are they efficient? Is the business getting value for its investment in the individual?


It must be stated from the start that not all jobs cater for being able to work from home, and not all jobs are computer-based, but for those that can work from home and are computer-based, managers can both take advantage of this growing trend and sleep at night knowing that the business and its needs are being met in this new paradigm.

Saucecode has been able to let people work from home with a 30 to 40 % increase in efficiency and productivity, using TISTRO we collect the data to analyse and prove it. It takes some getting used to and the method of communication must move into the new age. Individuals need to be mature about how they communicate but as this quite quickly becomes the norm, every company will develop their own processes.

Saucecode has an online meeting every morning where the individuals can discuss their previous days work and what they are going to do today, often sharing their screen enabling everyone to see the progress of the user. Management can compare this to the results seen in the TISTRO system and the outcomes of the work, leaving them with the confidence that work is progressing as planned or expected.

As a company there has been a noticeable decrease in the absenteeism rate and a marked improvement in the number of productive hours and output has noticeably inceased.

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Productivity Tracking

Tistro is a smart productivity tracking tool that was built to address the needs of business to truly understand the productivity and behaviour within their organisation,automating time management,and the ability to optimise these critical business areas


Tistro is an application that functions on a supervisor-agent premise in so far as fulfilling the function of a time capturing utility.It monitors user activity and saves this activity to a database for effortless productivity analysis.

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