The challenge of raising productivity is a considerable one, with every company having to find its own methods to get the best out of its staff and to combat inefficiency.
The productivity challenge
Improving and maintaining the productivity of British businesses has been something of a challenge for the UK economy in recent years.
According to a recent survey by Opus Energy, 93 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in London identified productivity as a problem for their firm.
More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of SMEs in Yorkshire, the south-west and the east of England said the same, smallbusiness.co.uk reported.
Nikki Flanders, chief operations officer at Opus Energy, said: “Considering that 99 per cent of all private sector UK businesses are SMEs, to hear that the vast majority of those in our capital city are struggling with productivity is a serious concern.”
However, there have been some encouraging signs on this front in recent times. Figures from the Office for National Statistics covering the three months to September 2017 showed that labour productivity – or more specifically economic output per hour worked – increased by 0.9 per cent.
This is the fastest rate of growth for six years, although productivity trends are still well below those recorded before the financial crisis.
So what can businesses do to help the UK economy continue on a positive path in 2018?
The Opus Energy research showed that introducing employee wellbeing measures such as flexible working is a tactic that has been used by 46 per cent of London SMEs seeking to boost productivity.
Paying above-average wages and offering various incentives and perks to raise team morale are also common approaches.
Opus Energy also highlighted the potential benefits to be gained from locating businesses close to other, like-minded enterprises, in order to support a culture of collaboration and innovation.
Ms Flanders commented: “While it’s great to see SMEs introducing perks and wellbeing benefits for their employees in order to improve productivity, it may also be worth researching the possibilities of joining a business cluster, in order to benefit from the proximity of other businesses.
“It’s clear that there is an appetite in London for greater collaboration with other businesses.”
There are many other techniques that can help firms of various sizes boost their productivity, such as:
Posted by Julie Tucker
Image courtesy of iStock/UberImages
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