This article, written by Vincent Bieri, Nexthink Co-founder, first appeared on Forbes on November 13, 2018.

You’re losing time every day — time that your employees could spend focusing on critical tasks, solving persistent problems or innovating new ideas. Instead, they’re fighting with technology, struggling to make devices and services perform as they should. As noted by Information Age, the average U.K. worker loses more than nine days per year due to technology trouble. And according to a study of U.S. office workers by Robert Half Technology, companies lose more than 91 hours per employee per year. But it’s not all bad news; let’s dig into what’s causing your time sink and how you can get these hours back.

The Green-Eyed Monster

It’s not jealousy. It’s the rows and rows of green lights on IT dashboards showing that all software and services are up and running. It’s the frustration from employees when they reach out to tech support and are told:

  • “It should work.”
  • “It works for me.”
  • “Everything looks good on my side.”

But it’s not working. Instead, the user experience is fractured: They’re told to expect one thing, delivered another and then told it’s their own fault. According to HR Dive, these experience issues often give rise to multiple types of tech frustration, including staff who refuse to ask for help, spend all their time looking for self-service solutions or simply give up on any type of computing issue.

The result? Without user-level visibility and the capacity to discover problems from the user perspective as they occur, companies are effectively flying blind. According to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, 90% of IT executives reported that end users contend with technology issues that the executives can’t detect. And even when IT gets involved, most companies don’t have good mechanisms in place to verify that solutions solve problems at their source instead of simply providing temporary symptom relief. This means reduced productivity, costing you time and money.

Turn Back The Clock

Getting these lost hours back is possible, but it requires a different approach to end-user issues, and technology capable of supporting this approach. It’s encapsulated in the notion of experience-level agreements (XLAs), which are now emerging as alternatives to traditional service-level agreements that only consider the back-end technology (on-premise and cloud) such as data centers, databases and web servers. In other words, as outlined by Dennis Drogseth at EMA, it’s time for “putting the ‘user’ into user experience management.

At their core, XLAs recognize the key value of internal customer service: tools and software designed to provide visibility into employee issues with technology and empower IT to quickly (and completely) understand and address their concerns.

Getting Started, Remaining Sustainable 

If you put end-user experience at the center of your digital workplace strategy, you can begin to recover some of those hours. Here are three steps:

  1. Recognize the benefits of a great employee experience. When people don’t feel engaged at work, they’re less productive. A Gallup study about the state of the workplace found that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism and 48% more safety incidents. The Harvard Business Review also notes that studies show less workers are 18% less productive. Productivity and employee engagement are the motivations of a digital experience management initiative into an organization.
  2. Control the factors that make up a great employee experience. These five factors are the most important to shaping employees’ experience at work: culture, technology, expectations, empowerment and recognition. They’re correlated with four main behaviors: likelihood to stay for the next 12 months, likelihood to recommend products and services, likelihood to recommend a job and likelihood to be productive.
  3. Define what great employee experience looks like. You need to qualify and quantify the following:
    • Fast and responsive devices and applications: Does the employee get better performance with their home computer and applications?
    • Frictionless authentication: Do they need to remember 20 passwords and enter those 10 times a day to get their job done?
    • Easily accessible information: Do they search more than they read or work?
    • Personalization: Do they have different needs than their co-workers, even though they have the same role?
    • Location-agnostic: Can they work from anywhere, and on any device?
    • Self-service-enabled: Can they solve simple issues by themselves?
    • Agility to adopt new innovation or address challenges quickly: Can they install a new app faster than the IT department can do it for them?
    • Secure and private by design: Can they safely work with sensitive data?

Boosting The Bottom Line

Still not convinced? Consider: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American employee takes home $873 per week, which works out to about $22 per hour. If they’re spending 100 hours every year struggling with tech problems, you’re out $2,200. For an enterprise with 1,000 employees, that’s $2.2 million each year. Those with 10,000 staff lose $22 million. It’s time to stop losing hours.