Although the UK has high levels of employment, we produce dramatically less per hour than our main EU rivals. Latest stats show the UK produces 30% less per hour than workers in Germany, France and the US.
But why exactly are we so unproductive? Economists have identified three main reasons:
Poor use of technology
Professor John Van Reenen, Head of the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE explains: “By Thursday lunchtime other countries have produced as much as it takes us to produce by Friday afternoon when we knock off work. So basically we could take every Friday off if we could be as productive as other countries and earn the same amount of money.”
Working hard vs. working smart
We live in a “connected” world where technology has helped make our lives more efficient and improved communication but has also seen the death of the traditional 9-5 working day.
Being “always on” has blurred the line between personal and professional lives, making signing off from work a test of willpower. As a result, we often wrongly perceive the busiest workers as the most successful. If you’re not multi-tasking, you’re not seen as reaching your full potential.
Smart workers utilise technology to increase their productivity and UK companies don’t invest enough in technology. However, every day in my business I see evidence that businesses also fail to train themselves to perform “basic tasks” well. Business call handling, diary management and to-do-lists fall into this category that so many continue to manage themselves rather than trust specialists or make time to train staff supremely.
With every Trustpilot review of alldayPA saying “Why didn’t we do this sooner”, this reluctance to trust specialists turns instantly into self-criticism. This old-fashioned mindset is the biggest culprit of the UK’s productivity gap. As more and more businesses both small and large continue to rely on our services I hope this is a sign of future change in the UK. If there was one piece of advice I would give to businesses in the UK it would be to embrace working smart as soon as possible.