What are the key productivity killers in your firm?

December 06, 2019

Research published recently by Regus might enable you to better understand why your firm isn’t as productive as it could be. The office space provider polled 3,000 professionals and found that travel-related issues remained a big hindrance to productivity, more specifically traffic jams (39%), transport delays (27%) and roadworks (20%). 

More than a third (35%) of respondents said unnecessarily long meetings hampered their productivity, while having to deal with unwelcome cold calls interrupted the work of more than a quarter (27%) of those polled.

And it seems that allowing staff to work from home, free from office-related distractions and ‘commuter misery’, might not always pay off. Only 43% of respondents said being at home allowed greater concentration on work, but that figure increased to 65% for those with a dedicated home office.

Productivity gains

Writing for Forbes.com, contributor Drew Hendricks believes he knows how to make office environments more productive, with his ‘5 Small Workspace Changes That Will Make You More Productive’. He sets the scene: “It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and your mind has gone blank. Your fingers hover over the keys as you struggle to capture your last thought. You can’t think of an immediate reason for your lag in productivity, but you suddenly feel distracted and restless.”

He then provides tips on how to combat a “toxic work environment”. These include getting the office temperature right (71-77°F/22-25°C, with lower temperatures causing “afternoon productivity lags”), more daylight, less noise if possible, better posture (“When employees sit up straight and type, they think more clearly and have a higher work output”) and productivity-boosting décor. Last year The Guardian reported University of Queensland research that concluded “leafy-green offices enriched with plants can boost productivity by 15%”.

The Mail Online recently quoted leading organisational psychologist,

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, who said: “An avalanche of often unnecessary emails contributes to work overload, Britain’s long hours culture and damages productivity. Britons have the longest working hours in the developed world, but [the UK is] bottom of the G7 nations league for productivity”, with “just one-third of workers here healthy and productive,” he argues. This despite The Telegraph reporting that thanks to modern technology, UK office workers are now 84% more productive when compared to the 1970s.

Brink of burnout?

Stress could be another workplace productivity killer, with Regus claiming that “half of UK workers are on the brink or burnout”. Almost half (48%) of respondents admitted to being “closer to burning out than they were five years ago”, with job insecurity, understaffing and lack of exercise listed as key causes.

However, 68% of respondents said working away from their usual place of work to be a good stress reliever. Occasionally changing your work location could enable you and other team members to be less stressed and more productive – as long as you don’t get caught in traffic while travelling there, of course. 

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