Productivity, it’s an area UK business desperately needs to improve!
With the UK falling behind many of our European neighbours when it comes to productivity, what can we learn that will help us make improvements in the future?
Without us realising it, the office environment influences employee wellbeing and productivity, yet it is the most often forgotten part of the company. You can make many analogies around missing the important elements that help you to get better results, but this particular study carried out by a leading company in their field really highlighted an area where business owners are overlooking, and neglecting the obvious advantages it would give to the business.
It seems that businesses are underestimating the importance and impact that their office environment can have on their bottom line. It appears that many senior managers overlook this aspect of the business according to a new survey conducted by leading workplace consultants and office designers.
The survey shows that, while 91% of UK workers believe their office environment directly impacts their productivity, less than half (43%) say that their office environment actually enhances their productivity. Perhaps even more startling is that 20% of those surveyed report that their office environment hinders their productivity at work.
Productivity is something that has been well documented in the media recently, with numerous European neighbours experiencing a collective higher degree of productivity, namely Germany who were far more efficient and productive than the UK.
Given that approximately two thirds of workers say they are more productive in the office than anywhere else, could senior management teams be overlooking a significant opportunity to boost the company’s productivity and therefore overall performance, which of course has a direct influence on the bottom line?
The survey findings also reveal that only 32% of workers say their current office environment supports their wellbeing, whilst 59% say their company could do more to make their office healthier. This comes at a time when three quarters of the workforce state that they have suffered from workplace stress, so businesses should be ensuring that they are doing all they can to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees.
Despite the clear importance of the office environment for the productivity and wellbeing of staff, 81% of workers feel that the workplace is not a high priority for their senior management team, and that has a negative impact on moral, ultimately effecting productivity. It can be a vicious circle that leads to significant negatives within the operations of a business.
When it comes to discussing office space with management, employees feel their concerns often go unnoticed. Only 29% believe that their opinion is valued, despite 70% of workers agreeing that greater employee involvement in decisions about the workplace would have a positive impact on their productivity.
All of these findings suggest that employers that do not engage workers in decisions about their work environment maybe missing important opportunities to improve their performance. Successful business owners have one common denominator, and that is the ability to listen to those around them. Simply, not even considering the opinions from obvious expertise you employ is a detriment to the success of a business.
Currently, only a small percentage (10%) of employees are involved in discussions around problems with the office layout, however these conversations are important to employees who feel that environmental changes could have a big impact on their emotional wellbeing at work, including their motivation, mood, productivity and happiness.
To ensure that businesses provide workplaces that support the productivity and wellbeing of their employees, the recommendations following the survey could help to increase your productivity, and business performance:
ANALYSE YOUR WORKPLACE
Businesses should properly evaluate the way their office works to understand how efficiencies and improvements can be made to aide employee wellbeing and productivity. A space utilisation study analyses how space in the workplace is used, how employees like to work in the space and whether the space is currently being used effectively. The data produced from this process enables a business to make targeted improvements to the workspace, based on how their employees use it.
UNDERSTAND CORE DRIVERS
When businesses are considering improvements to the workplace, senior management teams must be clear on the core drivers behind this.
Employees should be the chief consideration in changes to the workplace, but financial motivations, such as cost savings, and operational motivations, including growing workforces and efficiency drives, are also important drivers to identify from the outset. Understanding the motivations behind changes to the office environment ensures that the desired result is achieved.
Without engaging with employees, businesses will not be able to ensure that their office supports the workforce. Giving employees the opportunity to share their views on how the workplace would work best for them and translating this feedback into operational changes, offers businesses the chance to boost productivity, motivation and wellbeing.
As the average UK worker spends over 1,647 hours a year at work and replacing staff costs UK businesses about £4 billion a year, ensuring that employees are happy and productive should be a main focus for all employers to keep turnover costs low and retention of top talent high.
Factors such as on-boarding, training, interview costs, advertising and the impact on the wider company’s morale will all force employers to compensate for high turnover rates and unproductive employees.
MAKING IMPORTANT CHANGES
It really doesn’t matter what size your business is, and how many people you employ. This article really demonstrates that listening and working with your team will create a positive outcome. Staff motivation, and creating an environment that is inclusive, breeds confidence and loyalty, ultimately has a very positive influence on productivity, and ultimately profitability.
Having been an advisor to businesses, the lack of productivity can sometimes be extremely obvious. My coaching can extend beyond senior management to middle management and I very often will conduct surveys of my own to establish their thoughts. It is an open and honest discussion, but the work I do with this very important demographic is purely designed to increase business performance, providing a conduit to create open and honest discussion between senior management and team members.
I cannot stress just how important it is to have this open dialogue across a business. I have seen first-hand the impact from it, with positive changes making a huge difference to business performance. If every company in the UK were to consider this element of their overall business model, I firmly believe productivity figures in the future will be greatly improved, and even match up to the best performing European neighbours.
If you have concerns over your own productivity and looking or solutions I would very much like to work with you to make those improvements for the future prosperity of your business!