Research shows that there is a significant gap between how leaders and employees view productivity within their companies. 

New research from Citrix, a software provider that offers digital workspace technology, shows a disparity between the perceived productivity levels of employees and employers at organisations.

Whilst almost three-quarters of employees (73 per cent) believe that “serious change” must occur to allow them to be at their most productive, over three in five HR and IT leaders (62 per cent) believe their organisation is already working at its most productive level.

Prior to lockdown, the number of IT and HR leaders who felt their company was working at its optimal level in regards to productivity was only 48 per cent. This ultimately shows that leaders believe that their companies have become more productive over lockdown, despite the rise of remote working.

Over one in three (34 per cent) of staff, when asked how they could become more productive within their roles, stated that flexible technology would be key. Before lockdown, this figure only stood at 25 per cent, suggesting that this has become more important to employees especially now most workers are no longer in the office.

The call for flexible technology, from employees, to make them more productive was greater than the number of employees who believed financial reward is imperative to improving productivity (only 23 per cent).

Conversely, almost half of HR and IT leaders (44 per cent) believe that technology which enables greater employee flexibility would boost workplace efficiency. Research shows that this number has decreased from previous figures, before lockdown, of 59 per cent.

The report states that these results may show “decision makers might be unsure they made the right technology investments pre-lockdown with confidence in the selected technology’s ability to deliver seeming to fail.”

A similar number of employees (28 per cent) and HR and IT leaders (26 per cent) felt that outdated technology was holding their companies back from being as productive as possible.

However, this is clearly a priority for HR leaders with over three in five (64 per cent) stating they intend to implement a plan to improve technology. The research suggests that organisations will spend an average of £6.9 million over the next five years to increase productivity, up from £3.5 million before lockdown.

Darren Fields, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland at Citrix, said:

The abrupt shift to home working, enforced by COVID-19 restrictions, has put the digital employee experience front of mind – for both workers and leaders. These findings indicate a clear divide between leaders and staff, with technology seemingly not being deployed in the right way to deliver the required productivity gains.

With so much uncertainty around the future of work, IT must ensure digital workspaces are providing a user-friendly, efficient and productive employee experience – delivering better value for money for the taxpayer. From making sure the right devices are provided to investing in software that offers secure and seamless experiences, CIOs are now central to the next phase of their organisation’s success.

While most private sector organisations moved employees home immediately, some public sector staff – including many in the DWP and HMRC – were still forced to go into their workplaces during the pandemic. Given this might have left employees feeling aggrieved, the right investment and support to prioritise the employee experience will be vital in terms of damage control and boosting staff retention in the long-term.


*To obtain these results, Citrix worked with Censuswide to run two identical surveys, one with 1,000 employees and 750 IT and HR leaders from across large organisations (employing at least 250 people) in the UK’s retail, financial services/banking, insurance, utilities and public sectors. The first survey took place from 3rd-18th February 2020, with the same research repeated post-lockdown from 15th-22nd May 2020.






Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.