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Jabra reveals top workplace productivity trends globally



Jabra reveals top workplace productivity trends globally

~ working from home now considered the most productive option while noisy colleagues are biggest distraction to getting the job done ~

 LONDON– In line with World Productivity Day on June 20th, Jabra, the global leader in audio and communication technology, is revealing the top workplace productivity trends. These are based on a survey1 amongst business professionals in the US, UK, Germany and France.

Global trends summary:

  • Workspace: Home is where the productivity is: four times more employees in 2018 perceive working from home to be the most productive option for them, compared to 2015.
  • Hindering factors: Noise is still considered the number one deterrent to workplace productivity. The type of noise that annoys office workers most in all countries is colleagues talking to each other in their direct vicinity.
  • Mobility: The workforce has become more mobile between 2015 and 2018
  • Meetings: Office workers see lack of preparation (38%), decision-making (30%) and attendees coming in late for a meeting (30%) as the key obstacles to productive meetings.

Country specific key findings:

  • US: According to 50% of employees, discussions without a proper direction are the main obstacle to productive meetings.
  • UK: Half a working day (43%) is spent away from the desk at the office, be it walking around (13%) or driving to places (9%).
  • France: The majority (56%) of employees listen to music to focus or block out office noise.
  • Germany: Half of office workers (52%) are negatively affected by colleagues asking questions or dropping by for a chat.

Global business battle

Efforts to improve workplace productivity have long remained a constant battle for businesses globally. From the type of workplace to office dynamics, several factors play a critical role in influencing productivity levels at work. Recent data from The Conference Board2 shows a slight uptick in global productivity, but nowhere near a return to the pre-crisis growth rates – though continuing curiosity about how we organise work to improve productivity is key in keeping this momentum.

Research has shown that, on average, employees are distracted at work every three minutes3 and that it can take us as long as 25 minutes4 to refocus. In a world where businesses are striving for every possible efficiency and productivity gain, there is an imperative to resolve the age-old conflict between collaboration and concentration.

Work is an activity, not a place 

Home office has emerged as a clear winner when it comes to productivity, with four times more employees in 2018 perceiving working from home to be the most productive option for them, compared to 2015. Nearly one in three (28%) UK employees consider working from home to be the most productive – yet, interestingly, the majority (60%) are not allowed to. This highlights that UK businesses still have a long way to go in providing flexible working options for their employees.

While hot desking was the buzz word in the workplace just a few years ago, 2018 has certainly turned it cold: only 4% of companies offer this type of office environment.

What remained the same over the past three years is the fact that the ‘open office’ (30%) is the most widespread office design. This makes it of utmost importance to understand how to make optimal use of open office spaces while limiting the hindering factors.

Interestingly, temperature and amount of light were highly ranked in all markets as – when not at a comfortable level – negatively impacting productivity. Also cleanliness is considered an issue, though compared to the other markets, the French hardly (5%) find this of importance.

Hindering factors

Although noise is still considered the number one deterrent to workplace productivity, fewer office workers in the UK (38%) and US (35%) listed noise as an issue in 2018 compared to 2015. This is a major difference from mainland Europe though, where Germans (54%) and French (48%) rate this issue much higher. The type of noise that annoys office workers in all countries most is colleagues talking to each other in their direct vicinity. Nevertheless, it is a positive trend that in some countries people start to experience less noise disruption, proving that technology like Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) has had a significant impact on noise perception and increasing workplace productivity. The ongoing debate about how we organise work is making its mark.

Another way that business professionals choose to block out office noise is listening to music. Most employees listen to music at work to focus better. Music creates both a concentration zone and functions as a tool to relax and recharge. Employers must recognise that employees use music to lower their stress levels and work more productively. Interestingly, the survey highlighted that there are office workers in every country that are unsure if they are allowed to listen to music at work, suggesting that businesses should offer clear guidelines on multimedia consumption to avoid productivity being disrupted by uncertainty.

Greater mobility of staff

The research also shows that the workforce has become more mobile in the past three years. A higher number of people claim that more time is spent away from their primary workplace. In the UK, on average almost half a working day (43%) is spent away from the desk at the office, be it walking around (13%) or driving to places (9%). This data indicates not only a growing need to consult with colleagues to access expertise, but also a shift in the way we do business. In today’s digital age, the need for mobile interaction and information exchange is increasingly important.

Meeting challenges 

For most office workers meetings are considered an excellent platform to share knowledge between colleagues. Worryingly, in the past three years, we do not seem to have made much progress in making meetings more productive.

Office workers see lack of preparation (38%), decision making (30%) and attendees coming in late for a meeting (30%) as the key obstacles to productive meetings. One of the fastest growing annoyances is meetings not starting on time due to technical issues: the US saw a 100% increase and the UK a 111% increase in such occurrences in 2018 compared to 2015.

The Millennial workforce (18–35 years) in particular find discussions without direction (46%) to be the biggest cause of unproductive meetings, highlighting that businesses must look into ways to improve their internal meeting structures to ensure the most productive use of time.

Bjoern Ekner, Senior Director Product Marketing at Jabra said: “Monitoring the state of modern office work is a key initiative for us and I am pleased to once again share our insights. In order to understand the dynamics of knowledge work, we have to stay curious. We need to create the optimal environment for office workers to thrive and eliminate what gets in the way of their focus and the ability to collaborate. This year’s number one hurdle for productivity in the workplace, was once again noise. I hope managers and leaders will join Jabra in helping secure the ‘concentration zone’ for our employees.”

1 Source: Jabra & Kantar ‘Knowledge Worker Study 2018’, June 2018, 1,350 respondents



Plytas unveils slick tricks on snow and water in Greece



Plytas unveils slick tricks on snow and water in Greece 1

Waterskiing champion overcomes speed difficulty to conquer different terrains.

Greek waterskier Nikolas Plytas has made a name for himself with a series of challenging stunts such as conquering the famous shipwreck at Elefsina and his latest project saw him take to his board on snow as well as his beloved water. Here is all you need to know:

– The 25-year-old from Athens started out in 2006 with a bullish ambition to not only break his own personal records, but also smash longstanding records laid down by other athletes on the water.

– Aged 19, he conquered the famous shipwreck at Elefsina where he performed tricks over the rusty hull while he waterskis as much as possible at his ‘sporting homes’ – Lake Caiaphas in Zacharo and Aliartos Lake – where his coach George Hatzis has a waterski school.

– For his latest project, Plytas switched up from his usual habitat on the water to his hobby surface of snow to take the breath away with his insane skills in two of the most beautiful places in Greece.

– Plytas performed a unique trick show while being pulled by a jet ski along the icy waters of Lake Plastira and moved to Pertouliotika Livadia where – with the help of a portable electric winch – he snowboarded from the snowy areas into the streams, along bridges and over natural obstacles.

– He revealed: “I always wanted to combine watersports and snowboarding and – when I saw these two places – this idea came to me immediately! The issue of speed was a major obstacle. In water the winch goes slower than it goes in the snow, so I had to find a speed to do for both terrains. It took me a while to find the ideal speeds. This was an unprecedented experience, until the next one.”

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Stellantis aims to lift Fiat Chrysler margins towards PSA levels



Stellantis aims to lift Fiat Chrysler margins towards PSA levels 2

By Giulio Piovaccari

MILAN (Reuters) – Carmaker Stellantis, created by the merger of Peugeot-maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), aims to lift profit margins this year towards the levels attained by its Chief Executive Carlos Tavares at PSA.

With 14 brands under one roof, including Fiat, Peugeot, Opel, Jeep, Ram and Maserati, the world’s fourth largest carmaker was formed in January.

The group said on Wednesday it was targeting an adjusted operating profit margin of 5.5%-7.5% this year, assuming no further significant COVID-19 related lockdowns.

That compares with a 5.3% aggregated margin last year: 4.3% at FCA and 7.1% at PSA excluding a controlling stake in parts maker Faurecia, which is set to be spun-off from Stellantis shortly.

Tavares delivered an improvement in margins at PSA by cutting costs, simplifying its model range and delivering synergies on its purchase of Opel/Vauxhall.

Milan-listed shares in Stellantis rose as much as 3.3% at the open and were up 2.2% at 0800 GMT.

“Stellantis gets off to a flying start and is fully focused on achieving the full promised synergies,” Tavares said in a statement, announcing last year’s results for FCA and PSA, which the group described as “strong”.

Combined adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to 7.1 billion euros ($8.6 billion) last year.

A Milan-based trader said that was “well above” expectations.

Stellantis targets over 5 billion euros a year in savings from the merger, without closing any plants. Tavares has also pledged not to cut jobs.

The automaker proposed to distribute a 1 billion euro dividend to its shareholders.

A capital markets day for the group is planned for late 2021 or early 2022.

($1 = 0.8277 euros)

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari. Editing by Mark Potter)

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Cyber security group Avast boosted by work-from-home trend



Cyber security group Avast boosted by work-from-home trend 3

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – Cyber security company Avast said demand for its products surged in the second quarter of 2020 as people shifted to working from home in the pandemic, helping it to meet expectations for revenue and earnings growth.

The London-listed group reported revenue of $892.9 million for 2020, up 7.1% on an organic level, and core earnings of $495.5 million, up 2.6%, with both numbers coming in slightly ahead of analysts’ average forecasts.

Chief Executive Ondrej Vlcek said demand for the company’s security, protection and privacy software spiked in the second quarter of 2020 as people moved from offices to homes.

“We never expected that surge that happened in Q2 between March and say May to last for too long,” he said in an interview.

“It only lasted for one quarter and then it went back to normal, but it helped us to acquire new customers.”

He said Avast added almost 1 million new paying customers last year, a rise of 7.9% to 13.6 million.

The top line, however, was dampened in the second half by a deliberate shift to selling customers one-year licences rather than heavily discounted multi-year deals.

“In terms of the lifetime value, we will get better value by signing those annual licences instead of two year or three year licences,” he said.

The transition to one-year subscriptions would exert downward pressure on billings this year, the company said, particularly in the first half.

Organic billings growth would also be heavily weighted toward the second half, due in part to the comparison with the spike seen in the second quarter of last year, it said.

Overall Avast said it expected to deliver 2021 organic revenue growth in the range of 6% to 8%.

(Editing by James Davey and Jane Merriman)

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