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How Much is the Productivity Crisis Costing UK Business?
Every business owner knows that an unproductive employee will cost them money as well as time. It’s frustrating when someone isn’t doing the job they’re supposed to.
When candidates apply to work for your company, there’s no guarantee they’ll always be giving it 100%, even if that’s what you expect.
Across the UK, according to the research, productivity has dropped significantly since the financial crash of 2008. We are now second on the list of least productive countries in the G7. While just a quarter of employees admit to being fully productive most of the time, employers appear blissfully unaware of this, with as many as 90% believing their team is pretty good when it comes to time and resource management.
For the Brits, there are a couple of things that are likely to distract us at work. The first is breaking for a drink of tea or coffee, we tend to do it a lot more than our European counterparts. The other is stopping to chat with colleagues. There’s no data on how hooking into social media too often is also impacting on productivity but the feeling is that it is significant too.
But How Much is This Actually Costing Us?
Estimates suggest that poor productivity could be costing UK businesses and the economy some £70 billion a year. Boosting productivity on the other hand, according to research, could boost performance across the nation by billions more.
One interesting notion is that many of us think the working day is too long and cutting it short might make us actually be more productive. There’s some evidence to support this and a number of progressive countries like Norway are exploring reducing the working week to deliver a better life balance.
The results so far? It appears we can do just as much in a shorter space of time.
How to Improve Productivity
The idea of reducing the working day is not uncommon. One digital media company that cut their day from 8 hours down to 6, found staff were immediately better focused and tended to think more creatively. Shorter hours also improved work life balance across the board and that has to be a good thing.
There are a lot of other ways, however, that businesses can look at improving productivity. For instance, are all those meetings really necessary? Are your staff spending too much time reading and answering emails rather than doing the job they are paid for? Some businesses introduce a policy of switching off social media in an effort to improve concentration. Others are finding ways to reward staff for good work.
For individuals, productivity at work can be hampered because of lack of motivation, poor work conditions or lack of training. One employee may have picked the wrong job in the first place and would be better off looking for a new one that fits their skills and personality. Another could find more training beneficial. Maybe the practices within the office are a source of demotivation. It could be that a particular manager isn’t good at encouraging staff to perform at their best.
The fact that productivity has dropped across the UK in the last decade or so should be concerning to everyone. We live in an increasingly competitive world and we seem to be spending more hours at work than ever before. If we’re not actually being productive at the same time, those extra minutes spent in the office are worthless.