Britain isn’t working: the problem of productivity thumbnail image Published on 3rd October 2016 by Gemma Harding

How can employers cope with productivity at a 15 year low?

Productivity in Britain is at its lowest level in 15 years. That’s the takeaway message of Charlotte Seager’s article on the UK productivity.

In theory, we should become more productive as time goes on. Technological advances and shared cultural learning should mean we can do more work in less time. Government statistics however show that this is not the case. And, we aren’t even taking advantage of technology so we can work less. Working hours are at an all-time high.

Working more and producing less seems like a contradiction in terms, but time and again studies show that working longer hours does not necessarily provide better results month on month. Seager’s article explains why this phenomenon occurs.

Seager cites former US Secretary General Sandra Polaski when she explains that a combination of long hours, low pay, and zero hours contracts means that motivation (particularly amongst junior staff) is at an all time low. It is this lack of motivation that is seen as the primary cause for the low productivity in the UK today.

But how can businesses combat this lack of motivation?

Increasingly, there is a school of thought that suggests that allowing staff to work 30 hours a week or less is a good way to improve motivation, staff satisfaction, and productivity. Allowing staff to work remotely or to work flexible hours can also provide a similar boost in productivity.

While many businesses may think offering flexible working or reducing working hours isn’t possible for them, technological advances combined with selective outsourcing means most businesses can offer their staff the kind of flexibility needed to see a boost in productivity.

Alternatively, businesses can deal with the challenge of low productivity by completely outsourcing aspects of their business. As Seager’s article identifies, long working hours for low pay is the most common cause of poor productivity. This is most likely experienced by young people who are office juniors performing basic administrative tasks like answering the phone.

While it is understandable that low paid workers are demotivated by their jobs, it is easy to see why SME’s are only able to offer inexperienced workers low pay and zero hour contracts. It is simply the only way having someone in house performing such basic tasks can be cost effective.

Rather than employing an office junior on low pay to answer calls, businesses could simply outsource the role entirely to a dedicated telephone answering service. This would reduce costs for the business and improve productivity as a good telephone answering service will use well paid staff who are highly motivated.

Whether you choose to use outsourcing to support your staff in working flexibly, or whether you choose to outsource certain aspects of your business as a cost effective solution to a demotivated workforce, CALLCARE can provide a dedicated telephone answering service staffed by highly motivated and professional operators at a price that is always cost effective.

Find out more by calling 0345 055 8444.