Wasting time: UK productivity under spotlight

The latest study of UK productivity has found that most workers admit to wasting at least an hour a day.

Capita Workforce Management Solutions surveyed 250 managers and 250 workers across industries including retail, logistics and construction. Researchers found that only 32% of managers say their business is very productive and 71% don't measure employee productivity at all.

The report found a significant disconnect between the views of workers and managers. Two-thirds of all employees say they waste at least an hour a day at work; more than three-quarters of managers felt employees waste up to two hours a day.

Other key findings include:

  • 87% of managers and 75% of workers feel that they have high levels of productivity at work;
  • Nine out of ten managers feel that they motivate their employees to improve productivity, with 60% saying a "thank you" motivates their team;
  • However, more than 40% of British workers say their organisation has no way of motivating the workforce;
  • When asked what hindered productivity, a third of employees cited talking to colleagues, and 51% of managers agreed;
  • 27% of employees said nothing at all stopped them being productive, but 44% of managers blamed tea and smoking breaks.

Interestingly, 23% of employees said bad management caused poor productivity and 25% of managers agreed with this.

Jason Stokes, sales and marketing director at Capita Workforce Management, said: "The correlation between employees and managers citing bad management suggests organisations need to address management styles and ensure that employees are receiving the support they need to carry out their jobs efficiently and to the highest quality."

He added: "Given that the UK regularly falls behind its European and G7 counterparts when it comes to studies in productivity, it is vital our businesses are doing all they can to ensure their employees are as happy and productive as possible if we are to make a success of Brexit."

Commenting on the findings, Ian Brinkley, acting chief economist at the CIPD, said most businesses tend to rate themselves above average when it comes to productivity. "The lack of a more agreed common measure means businesses have little way of objectively comparing themselves against the industry norm."

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