Employee experience powers public sector productivity


The coronavirus pandemic has meant public sector organisations have digitally transformed at a pace few thought possible. The abrupt shift to home working was challenging for many central government departments, particularly those that didn’t have any flexible work options already in place.

However, by forcing them to confront the issues, including lack of agility, which have long prevented them from challenging the status quo, it has brought the digital employee experience front of mind.

Earlier this year, research by Citrix exposed significant disparities between public sector leaders and other employees when it comes to their views on productivity. While 62 per cent of human resources and IT leaders in large public sector organisations claimed their organisation is already working at optimum productivity, 73 per cent of staff members said “serious change” needs to happen before they are really at their most productive.

Contrasting views were also evident in light of the impact that working from home has on productivity. The number of staff members believing serious change was needed to maximise their output levels increased by 10 per cent after COVID-19 forced people to work from home, despite a 14 per cent uplift in public sector leaders taking the view employees were working at optimum productivity compared to before lockdown.

A positive employee experience is vital to productivity and talent retention in the public sector

It’s clear the serious changes called for by staff members relate principally to technology tools, which have grown in importance considerably since governments began imposing national lockdowns. Three in ten public sector staff said current workplace technology is holding them back from being as productive as they possibly can be and 34 per cent called for more flexible technology that empowers them to work in the way that suits them, an increase on pre-lockdown figures of 25 per cent.

“Even when staff can work flexibly with IT, legacy technologies aren’t as user friendly as needed or don’t feel simple to use outside of the office,” says Matt Smith, director of UK and Ireland public sector sales at Citrix, which builds secure, unified digital workspace technology.

“This is where many staff members did align with their senior HR and IT colleagues in our study, with one in four public sector leaders agreeing their workplace technology was outdated, complicated and failing to offer a consumer-level user experience.”

Vaccines may now be presenting a more viable route out of the pandemic, but workplace models will not return to what they were and remote working will continue to play a prominent role even when COVID-19 is long gone. A positive employee experience is therefore vital to productivity and talent retention in the public sector, and those with user-friendly digital workspaces will deliver better taxpayer value.

From making sure the right devices are provided to investing in the best software platforms offering secure and seamless experiences, chief information officers are central to this journey.

Users of the Citrix Workspace software application get access to a unified platform through which to manage, monitor and secure diverse technologies in complex cloud environments. Powered by this capability, public sector organisations are able to unlock human potential and deliver a consistent workspace experience wherever people are.

There is much to do to prepare for the future of work, but HR and IT leaders in Citrix’s study confirmed they plan to increase spending on technology to boost productivity. Public sector organisations will allocate an average of £6.9 million on this over the next five years, respondents said, up from £3.5 million which was earmarked pre-lockdown.

“This spend pledge works out at around £1.4 million per year, an increase that will be welcome news to staff,” says Smith. “But to put that into context, there are 343 public sector IT deployments worth more than £1 million each expiring by the end of 2020 alone, including 42 contracts worth more than £10 million1. It is crucial to put in the right investment to create a positive employee experience, but while also taking time to consider whether the current way of doing things is right for the future of work.”


1 Tussell (2019): Expiring IT contract opportunities 2019/2020

To find out more, visit citrix.com