The Balancing Act For Improving Productivity
New research suggests a lack of flexibility is killing productivity in the UK.
Companies may need to attempt a careful balancing act if they are to get the best out of their employees.
The What’s Killing UK Productivity report reveals distinctions between highly engaged staff and workers with low engagement in their job.
Some of the findings may surprise you.
The study discovered that highly engaged employees are more likely to be late for work. They also do personal tasks during working hours, such as online shopping and checking social media. And they take regular short breaks throughout the day.
On the face of it, that doesn’t sound very promising for the business. But the research also revealed more positive results.
When highly engaged employees do sit down to work they are more focused, work longer hours and are more productive than staff with low engagement.
Employees given the trust and flexibility to work from home also declared they were more productive than when sat in the office.
In contrast, staff with low engagement were found to be restricted in what they could do and are far more likely to arrive at work on time. They are typically not allowed to work from home and do not carry out personal tasks, such as talking to colleagues, during working hours.
The survey, commissioned by Red Letter Days, revealed:
- Nearly half of highly engaged employees regularly take part in personal tasks at work, such as checking social media or booking a holiday, because they feel a break away from their work now and again is a good thing.
- Forty-six per cent of highly engaged employees check their social media accounts at work every day. A third of this group will spend up to two hours every day doing this, which adds up to 10 hours a week.
- More than 60 per cent of highly engaged employees will also work overtime every single day. Half of the low engaged staff said they didn’t work any overtime.
- Employees said Monday was their most productive day (26 per cent) followed by Tuesday (21 per cent). Thursday was the least productive day (10 per cent). One in 10 employees said they used weekends to get their work done.
- Greatest productivity was between 8am and 10am and between 10.30am to 11.30am. The least productive time slot was 4.30pm to 6.00pm.
- Nearly half of employees are not allowed to work from home. Of those that do, two fifths said they were more productive at home than in the office, just 15 per cent said they are less productive.
- UK workforces are 31 per cent less productive than those of the United States and 17 per cent less productive than the other G7 countries – the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The report recommends employers to allow staff to work from home and give staff the flexibility to come into work early or late, and leave early or late.
The findings also suggest companies should allow staff access to the internet and let them use social media from time to time.
Employees should not be told off for doing personal tasks such as booking holidays – a break every so often allows people to work longer. And the working environment should allow staff to chat with colleagues.
How do you balance productivity in your workplace?
Do you offer regular short breaks? Do you think this would improve productivity?
I would love to hear your thoughts.