New research for Vodafone reveals that nearly a quarter (23%) of UK employees rate themselves as ‘unproductive’ at work, equating to seven million of the nation’s total workforce. At a time when improving the UK’s labour productivity is high on the agenda, the survey of more than 3,000 UK employees reveals there is an untapped opportunity for employers to help boost workforce productivity.
Perceived productivity slips even further amongst Generation Z employees. When asked to rate their productivity out of ten, with ten being the highest possible number, 28% of Generation Z employees gave themselves an ‘unproductive’ score between 0 and 6, compared to the national average of 23%.
The research highlights some of the steps businesses can take to increase productivity.
Boosting the digital toolkit
To drive up productivity, UK businesses need to look at how they create a digital workplace. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) employees agree that their ideal place of work would have the most up-to-date technology on the market. Those who do have the right technology to do their job effectively like their job more than those who don’t. Furthermore, more than half say the right technology helps them to be more productive. Currently however more than two fifths (42%) of employees say poor technology is stopping them being as productive as they would like to be.
Creating a way of working that best serves the wider business and its customers can enhance employee productivity. A key part of this is where staff are getting their work done. More than half (58%) of employees surveyed still work the majority of the time in their employer’s office or building, meaning workspace remains a vital component of how effective employees are able to be. But with 43% of employees working from a customer or project site to some extent, making sure they can work effectively and stay connected to their colleagues and customers from wherever they are will also help increase output.
Surprisingly, for Generation Z workers the most important factor in making them more productive is the team around them – 74% as compared with just 60% of baby-boomers. So alongside having the technology available to collaborate with their colleagues, creating a successful team environment continues to matter to individuals.
At the same time, over half of workers (51%) of the UK’s employees believe processes at work stop them being productive, while almost the same number (47%) blame too many meetings. Four in ten (42%) reveal that the stress they are under is holding them back.
Tony Bailey, Head of Regional Business at Vodafone UK commented:
“Across the UK people are looking for support from their employers to help them be their best at work. While a third of employees believe they are ‘very productive’, there is a huge opportunity for employers to look at what changes they can make to unlock the potential of the significant proportion of the workforce who don’t think they are working as well as they could be.
“Examining how and where people need and want to work is the first step to understanding where the introduction of smarter processes and technologies can bring enhancements. Each employee, job, organisation and customer will have different expectations and requirements, meaning there is no one size fits all when it comes to working practices and flexibility. However, this latest research shows that both technology and teamwork are seen as important by employees of all ages when it comes to how they view their own productivity. The communication technologies that are being used by more and more businesses are one way to boost collaboration amongst employees, in and out of the office. This in turn will ultimately create a more engaged, productive, responsive workforce.”