An annual study, released this week, looked at what UK office workers think is causing the country’s decade of stunted productivity growth, said to be the worst since the 18th Century1.

productivity

Office products specialists Fellowes, who conducted the study, found that a quarter (24%) of workers admitted being unproductive for up to two hours every day, equating to roughly 40 million* hours of lost output each week. What may concern business owners most is, compared to the same study last year, UK workers are losing an additional 30 minutes every day let’s face it, productivity could be improved in every office in the country.

The poll, made up of 1,250 respondents from across the country, identified that 60% felt their company had productivity issues and over a third (38%) admitted employers weren’t doing enough to improve output. Four in ten workers even went as far as to say they were more productive than their boss.

Based on the findings, here are some helpful tips to solve productivity problems in your workplace.

  1. Introduce meeting-free days – A quarter of workers said having fewer meetings would make them more productive so why not introduce a day in the week where nobody in your office can schedule meetings? No meeting Mondays? If that’s not practical, try to limit the number of meetings that day.
  2. Say thank you – 40% of workers said they feel like their work goes unappreciated. Manners cost nothing. Thanking workers at the end of a tough week will let them know their work is valued. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; an email or Slack message will do.
  3. Kit out your office – 95% of those questioned agreed that good equipment would improve output. Investing in quality office equipment could mean the difference between meeting that crucial deadline or missing it. Don’t scrimp on necessities like printers, shredders and filing systems.
  4. Ditch emails – A quarter of people said emails distract them from their work. Why not ditch emails completely? Tools like Slack are much more effective forms of communication. If that’s not practical for a client, think about switching internal comms to streamline and cut out unnecessary emails.
  5. Introduce quiet zones – Chatty colleagues were identified as the number one distraction in offices by almost half of UK workers (47%). Introduce break out ‘quiet zones’ where people can go when they are on a tight deadline to help increase output or need silence?

1Bank Underground, John Lewis, Bitesize: The past decade’s productivity growth in historical context, 25.04.18

*Stats based on 16million office-based workers in the UK.

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