Productivity in a world of assumptions & distractions – what’s your experience?

Productivity: “A measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, system, factory etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs”* it’s all very factory, manufacturing, creating a thing related isn’t it? Producing more outputs per hour, by the same number of people (or less) = better productivity. Right?

It doesn’t apply in other settings, like in an office…..well not really – does it?

That word …….”productivity” …….does it make you shudder sometimes? – because everyone knows they could be more productive if they were a little less distracted or if they knew a little more, or knew what people assumed they know.  So why aren’t we more productive?

Let’s just roll back a little and I’ll tell you what got me thinking about this. Recently I’ve seen a few articles, studies and other blogs about the need for productivity increases, Digital IT skills shortages and that there is a growing skills gap between what people know and can prove and what employers need.

A lot of these studies were talking about the higher end skills gap – things like coding and programming, so I’d often not given them much consideration as that is not an area I have much knowledge about. Based on my experiences from working in both the public and private sectors I was often struck by how many people, me included (just don’t tell the boss!), had a  lack of skills on basic IT products, think MS Office products and the like.

So one report that really struck a chord with me was “Wake up to the digital skills gap!”**

Who’d have thought that the following would be true:

“Only 53% of the labour force said they are confident that their level of computer and/or internet skills are sufficient.”

“38% of respondents rely on their colleagues to learn how to use their computer or solve IT problems.”

“On average, the total amount of productive time lost due to the lack of digital skills is more than 16 minutes a day for every employee, of which: 35% due to inadequate computer skills, 28% due to inadequate internet skills, 16% due to problems using tablets and smartphones, and 21% as a result of helping colleagues.”

Now that kind of data sounds like a world of work that I know, and have seen way too often in both private and public sector settings  – but for some reason (don’t tell the boss!) lots of us also do this:

“60% of respondents had not attended IT training because they felt they didn’t need it!”

I think that’s because we assume and other people assume (and yes this time it really does make an ass out of ‘u’ and me) that everyone else has these skills and knows how to use that particular piece of software, if you are that 35 year old+ person you’ve been working way long enough that you know this stuff and if you are the 20year old + person you’ve been born with this stuff so you just know it too!

The report also identifies that over half of respondents who had not received any IT training in the past three years acknowledged that they needed training to improve their skills, but simply had doubts about the training methods currently available to them.

To be honest then it kind of looks like a big bunch of us are, maybe, tech & mobile savvy but we are actually just muddling through, with our minimal training, self-taught and ask a colleague knowledge when it comes to even the most common pieces of daily use software. Interestingly this is also backed up by some feedback to a previous survey and Blog that we did at Commelius where in response to a number of questions we found that 74% of people are looking to enhance their desktop skills.

The other thing I know is that when you’re asked to do a task that assumes you have a certain amount of skills, with say Excel,  is that some other work  task, or even (really don’t tell the boss!) YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook or even the BBC news site suddenly become really appealing or important!

So you see I think that, and for once I can say it’s backed up by studies!, there is a lot of productivity gains to be had by doing some really simple things – at an individual level stop assuming and start asking, go on that IT training even if it’s for stuff that you think you should already know! at a company level – provide access to good quality suitable training that’s going to fill the need that people have.

Does any of that sound familiar to you and where you work? I’d really like to hear what you think and if you’ve had similar thoughts & experience?

Andrew (off to practice macros) Kenny.

Commelius Solutions.



**Wake up to the digital skills gap! / © Vodeclic, A Skillsoft Company

Learning at Work – the New Skillset


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Welcome to the conversation

Whether or not you participated in our Learning at Work Week survey earlier this year, you can now be privy to the findings.

DOWNLOAD the report here.

The expected and the unexpected

We asked hundreds of L&D professionals to identify three main pain-points in the workplace – three areas where staff most need a boost in skills. This was at a time when thousands of L&D professionals were taking part in Learning at Work Week, hoping to increase employees’ understanding of the opportunities for learning and development and what those opportunities can deliver for the business and the individual. Continue reading

11 phenomenal quotes that will change your view on training your staff


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Blog photo

Have you ever come across a quote from someone famous or someone you remember from your history or literature class that struck a chord with you? What do you do with quotes like that?

I tend to keep them, or I share them with others especially if a quote inspires me or opens my mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. It does not necessarily have to be a quote from someone in the past, or someone everybody knows. Some fantastic quotes come from people we know such as our colleagues or friends. Continue reading

‘You lead when you create a future which does not yet exist’- Ken Ideus


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Leadership, e-learning, courses

When you think of a leader, do you think of a conqueror? A General? A politician? A CEO? Someone who takes charge during an emergency? Someone who motivates and enables people?

Leadership means different things to different people, and yet this is the most popular category for development according to our recent Learning at Work Week survey. In this short article, our guest writer, Alison Winter, explores what leadership is and the different components that make up a leader.

Leadership at work  Continue reading

Online learning experiences: can we log them with the Experience/TinCan API?


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ShareWith Learning at Work Week just around the corner and with its timely theme ‘connect’, more people are becoming interested in taking part in the debate on social learning and social media. So today I wanted to share with you a blog from our learning technology expert – Andrew Brown – who wrote about his recent exploration of TinCan/Experience API on social media.

What’s the learning tech like at the dawn of the 21st century? Continue reading

Twitter: speed dating for learners and coaches


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LearnI hope you’re as excited about the forthcoming Learning at Work Week as I am. Its ‘connect’ theme presents a perfect opportunity to write about some of my favourite topics and my recent ventures into social learning and social media.

Connect and share: the value of social networks for learning

When I think of the words ‘connect’ and ‘learn’ I can’t help but also think of social media. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve been using a little bit more of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for learning purposes. I’ve also discovered a few new (at least to me) useful networking tools or features I’ll go into another time.

Some of you might be surprised or sceptical to the fact that a person can learn something useful from social media, but Continue reading

L&D, what you’re missing if you don’t connect, if you don’t tweet…


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Learning at Work Week – perfect opportunity to connect and debate


Learning at Work Week – the week in May when we as learners and learning professionals are reminded that learning can be fun and rewarding, and when we’re very much encouraged to grasp new knowledge and learn new skills.

This year’s event has an exciting theme – ‘connect’! This is perfect because such topics as social media and social learning, often considered essence of connecting and sharing, are buzzing on and off line, and many of us can relate to it. It’s also a great opportunity to start and engage in interesting debates and perhaps answer a few questions social media and social learning raise among the Learning and Development and HR community. Continue reading

How fully understanding meaning of words keeps you engaged


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How to keep healthy attitude to learning, part 2

Ethusiastic student

Last time I shared with you four (out of five) mind-sets that can help you stay positive and motivated when it comes to learning. These were:

  1. Seeing your ability and willingness to learn as a measure of your potential to survive
  2. Realising learning is a tool that allows you to be in control of your environment
  3. Knowing that you don’t know everything
  4. Be sure that you’re going to use what you learn

I saved the fifth for last because I wanted to elaborate on it in a bit more detail, and writing about it in a separate article seemed like a good idea. It might actually be the key to effective learning. So here it comes… Continue reading

Merry Christmas everyone!


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… and a Happy New Year 


I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas, I love everything (well, almost everything) about it, and especially preparations leading to the festive season. The planning, the shopping, the cooking, the hunt for special gifts for friends and family. And here comes my favourite thing about it – we tend to think a lot about other people during this time of year which, I believe, brings out the best in us and people that surround us.

For example, at Commelius everyone gets extra creative during that period. It brings out a fantastic team spirit in everyone and this reflects in the work of our ‘e-learning squad’. This year they used their creativity and team spirit to make something special for you and share our festive cheer. We hope you’ll like it.

So get ready to have a bit of fun. Your knowledge about the Holiday season is about to get tested, and you’ll find out if you’re naughty or nice on Santa’s list.

CLICK HERE to play our festive game, and don’t forget to use the social media stamps at the end of the  quiz to share it with friends and colleagues.

Happy Holidays from all at Commelius!

Live online learning is the perfect solution for women returning to work


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Mum on computer and a baby

In the fast paced world, where businesses operate 24/7 and their changes are driven by continuously evolving technology, constant transformation and evolution of work environment is prevalent. Even a short break from work can bring changes a person might find difficult to catch up with and adjust to; and especially when it comes to changes in technology they were used to and knew well.

So we’ve decided to dedicate our next article to parents (mums) returning to work after taking a break to raise their family. We hope you’ll find it informative and useful.

The article comes from a guest writer – Gemma Thomas. Continue reading

How to keep healthy attitude to learning


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5 mind-sets that can make all the difference for learners and learning professionals

Ideas, thinking, cogs

It’s not really a choice we make – to learn or not to learn? Continuing learning even after our school and university years are done is actually something we need to do not only for career progression but mainly for better personal survival. I can argue that when we stop learning we really limit our ability to experience and expand our life.

How is that? Well, let me put it this way… Continue reading

Are there abandoned learners in your organisation?


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Learning in spite of a lack of support and encouragement?

Information overload

My recent invitation to Towards Maturity’s benchmarking study 2015 motivated me to revisit their report from last year and see where we (as learning and development community) are at in terms of performance, skills of our Learning and Development teams and how well we influence our learners. (For those who don’t know, Towards Maturity is a not for profit organisation that each year conducts the largest study on learning and development with insights into trends and best practices from top performing organisations). And I’m glad I looked at it again because it inspired me to write this blog about something I haven’t thought of before. Continue reading