As in other sectors, public service employees are continually being asked to do more with less each day. A need to manage costs, combined with the rapid advancement of technologies that increase citizens’ service expectations, is pushing workers to put in longer hours to produce better outcomes. Yet this hasn’t led to a magical uptick in performance. In fact, recent research from Deloitte found that 80 per cent of organisations believe their employees are overwhelmed with information and activity at work, and this can potentially lead to disengaged employees. Conversely, inspired people are 125 per cent more productive than merely satisfied employees, according to Bain & Company.
There’s clearly an opportunity to have highly engaged employees. However, with reports of public sector productivity being down last year, something needs to be done to ensure employees remain engaged and motivated to deliver the high level of services and overall experience that UK citizens expect.
Home tech vs. office tech
Today’s employees often have access to much more powerful and engaging technologies at home than at work, and their level of understanding and expectations have increased in tandem. Advances in technology have provided them with flexibility and agility in every aspect of their personal lives; they can shop, absorb media and entertainment from anywhere at any time. What’s needed is to find a way of implementing that sort of experience in the workplace, not only to provide an improved work-life balance, but also to manage costs and ensure systems and devices remain secure and compliant.
The cloud as enabler
Rather than being a barrier, cloud computing is freeing workforces to focus on delivering engaging services and better outcomes for the people and communities they serve.
As discussed in our new report, ‘Better, Faster & More Innovative Public Services’ (available from civica.com/cloud), by using cloud-based technologies and services, housing providers can enable mobile, remote and flexible working, support employees’ own devices and even speed up the on-boarding process. It also allows for the centralised management of access to systems and files, securing sensitive data without hampering ways of working.
Cardiff & Vale University Health Board
It was this opportunity that led Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) to deploy a cloud platform with Civica to support the roll out of mobile technology to its staff. In doing so, teams at CVUHB can now handle 1.75 million case notes every year and deliver integrated community and mental health care based on a single electronic patient record. This ultimately means patients are less likely to need hospital admissions and can more easily access the service that’s right for them. This is a great example of technology being deployed as an enabler to support public services employees to do their day-to-day jobs more effectively.
It’s only through using cloud computing that public sector employers can empower workers in such a way. If they can deploy more intuitive and automated services, employees will be able to work more effectively, in turn being better able to meet the increasing demands of UK citizens.
Steve Thorn is an executive director of Civica.