Business efficiency and productivity trends for 2021

Natalie Toniotti
Natalie Toniotti
    9 minute read

Is your business looking to increase productivity and efficiency in 2021? If so, we have compiled this list of business efficiency trends to provide some inspiration. Even better, we’ve broken them up by area to make it easier to apply within your business.

Human resources (HR)

  • HR management efficiency plans

    Given the turbulent relationship between the pandemic and the economy, it’s now more important than ever to retain existing talent, hire quality employees and keep staff engagement and motivation high.

    Mark Whittle, VP of Gartner Advisory states “as organisations move from their initial pandemic response to more sustainable operations, they’re trying to build resilience into everything, from strategy to work design, to enable the organisation, its leadership and employees to sense and respond to change, repeatedly.”

    To support this, top priorities amongst HR leaders include around 68% of them wanting to focus on building critical skills and competencies while another 46% aim to focus on organisational design and change management.

    With unemployment rates sitting at 6.4% in Australia, 6.3% in America, and 5.0% in the UK, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that HR managers are looking to focus on securing premium talent and effective reporting structures to improve business efficiencies in 2021 and combat future economic downfalls.

  • Monitoring productivity in a remote work setting

    88% of organisations worldwide made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses were concerned about productivity levels, with limited supervision, how could they ensure their remote workers were getting work done? It surprised many that productivity levels actually increased by 47% with employees working from home.

    Although some employees are eager to settle back into their city offices, many have found that working from home has improved their overall work-life balance and are reluctant to return. In fact, 25 - 35% of the U.S. workforce will be working at home on more than one day per week by the end of 2021. To sustain the increase in productivity, HR needs to understand that not all employees may be better off returning to the Monday to Friday pre-COVID work routine.

    Instead, managers should be speaking to their employees and identifying what working environments make them “want to work”. HR should consider solutions that can support this with around 56% of employees in the U.S. employed in roles that can partially be compatible with sustained working from home environments.


One of the constant challenges facing SMEs is how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales process and sales teams. Within sales, business efficiency can be determined by prospect-to-client ratio, closing deals and hitting financial goals. For many businesses, this involves business growth and most importantly, quality salespeople. Recent studies have found that 1 in 3 companies are not sure exactly how to scale their operations. To help your sales managers and front-line sales consultants improve productivity and ultimately close deals in 2021, businesses need to really understand what prospective clients want.

The business efficiency statistics surrounding a positive customer experience include:

Marketing collaboration

A big part of increasing business efficiency is ensuring that your marketing and sales goals align well with each other. If your sales goals go one way and your marketing the other, the message you are trying to get across to your client-base can be confusing and often deter customers. But, if you communicate between the teams efficiently, your productivity levels will increase and can result in a 32% increase in revenue, 38% increase in new client win rates, and a 36% increase in customer retention.


It is no surprise that, since COVID-19, business leaders now state that at least 80% of their customer interactions are digital in nature. Digital transformation was a recurring theme in 2020, and this continues into 2021. To hit productivity goals in 2021, digitisation across the business should remain a top priority for your IT team.

Customer service

By delivering top-notch customer service, your business can increase customer retention and acquisition rates, ultimately leading to improved margins and profitability. Whether it’s online shopping, reading the news or making a customer service enquiry, consumers now want anything and everything... where, when and how they want it. For a customer service team or centre, this means responding to both phone calls and online enquiries. And online responses are more than just email communications; there’s also live chat, social media, and even monitoring online reviews.

Personalised customer service interactions can indirectly affect consumer purchasing. In other words, your customer service team can spend less time focusing on getting clients to buy and instead spend more time on other value-adding tasks. The proof is in the facts:

There is a $2.95 trillion opportunity for companies that integrate personalisation techniques into their customer service in retail alone.

How can your business utilise these facts to improve business efficiencies in 2021?

The statistics are enough to suggest opportunities for growth that will ultimately improve your overall business efficiency levels. Whether it be from an employee perspective of valuable skill retention and higher staff satisfaction levels to the customer side of increases in revenue, loyalty and overall brand image, there are many ways businesses can look to improve their productivity levels within their business plan for this year. We have compiled a collection of business efficiency templates to help get you started kicking those efficiency goals today.

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