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Can we fix productivity with better time management?

23 February 2024 4 min read

Time management in the workplace

The UK’s productivity has been markedly low ever since the global financial crisis in 2008 – but has consistently trailed behind the likes of Germany, France and the USA ever since the 1990s. In our latest webinar: Can we fix productivity with better time management?, we’re asking why productivity in the UK remains low, what organisations can do to address it in their own workplace, and how better time management could be a solution.

We were joined by two expert speakers on the topic of time management – Digital Productivity Specialist & Tech Founder at DigiEnable, Liz Hardwick, and Managing Consultant at Attitude Solutions: Proven Productivity, Richard Maybury.

Time management and productivity webinar

In the session, we looked at productivity as a whole, how we define it, and what the statistics show – as well as what issues can contribute to lower productivity in the long-run.

Productivity statistics at a glance

 

  • UK productivity has been markedly low since the economic crisis in 2008 (The Conference Board)
  • At the start of 2023, output per UK worker was just 0.6% above the pre-pandemic 2019 average (Office for National Statistics)
  • Output per hour worked in the UK is around 20% lower than that of Germany and France, and has been since the 1990s (Economics Observatory)
  • The average UK employee clocks 18 days of unpaid overtime per year (Ciphr)
  • Employees waste 360 hours per year searching for the correct information they need within the business to carry their job (OBRIZUM)
  • An estimated 400 million days are wasted per year by UK employees on ‘unnecessary’ tasks such as responding to hundreds of emails, attending meetings for the sake of it, and carrying out admin tasks (Red Letter Days for Business)

 

What can hinder productivity in the workplace?

Burnout 

Employee burnout is an issue that can significantly undermine a company’s productivity. When employees experience chronic stress, exhaustion, and disillusionment, their ability to focus, remain engaged, and produce high-quality work diminishes. This decline in motivation and cognitive capacity leads to missed deadlines, increased errors, and a general decrease in output. The consequences of burnout are far-reaching, impacting not only individual performance but also overall team morale and organisational success.​

Mental and physical health

​Mental and physical health are intrinsically linked to employee productivity. When employees struggle with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, or stress, their focus, decision-making abilities, and energy levels are often compromised. Similarly, physical health issues such as chronic pain, fatigue, or illness can lead to absenteeism and diminished capacity while present. These health-related impediments translate into reduced output, missed deadlines, and a decline in the overall quality of work. As a business leader, it’s imperative to recognise the impact that both mental and physical well-being have on the bottom line.

Work environment

​A poor work environment acts as a significant barrier to optimal employee productivity. Factors such as inadequate workspace design, excessive noise, limited resources, or a toxic company culture can create an atmosphere of discomfort, distraction, and demotivation. Under such conditions, employees struggle to concentrate, collaborate effectively, and feel a sense of belonging. This inevitably leads to decreased efficiency, lower quality work, and a greater potential for errors or missed opportunities.

Disengagement

Employee disengagement is a significant threat to workplace productivity. When employees feel disconnected from their roles, the company mission, or their colleagues, their motivation and sense of purpose wane. Disengaged employees often exhibit reduced effort, a reluctance to take initiative, and a general lack of enthusiasm for their work. This disinterest translates directly into diminished output, poorer quality results, and an overall decline in individual and team performance.​

Inadequate technology and equipment

Inadequate technology and outdated equipment significantly hinder productivity within our organisation. Obsolete systems lead to unnecessary delays, process bottlenecks, and an increased potential for errors. This technological deficiency forces employees to adopt inefficient workarounds and compromises, resulting in lost time and decreased output. To maintain competitiveness and optimise operations, investment in modernising technological infrastructure is imperative.

Of course, there are more factors that can contribute to poorer productivity, and our webinar explored plenty of angles and solutions for organisations to consider, including some best practice tips.

Click here to watch the webinar on-demand now.​


Georgina at edays
Georgina
February 23, 2024

Georgina Mackintosh is an accomplished copywriter and marketing professional with a background that spans several industries. Her writing focuses on HR topics such as employee wellbeing, engagement and experience - as well as absence management best practice, how-to guides and news from the HR sector.