Redefining productivity to boost business efficiency 

Amidst a backdrop of economic uncertainty and job layoffs, productivity sits front of mind for many business leaders

Redefining productivity to boost business efficiency

Even the UK government has pledged to sell its 25% stake in SSCL to set aside £45 million – over half of the proceeds – to increase cross-government productivity across public services. Irrespective of investments like these, productivity still remains a conundrum for UK businesses. 

According to’s Global Productivity Survey, despite employers considering productivity very important, many don’t know how to achieve it. Rethinking how we define productivity and its requirements will help unlock a more motivated workforce. 

The productivity paradox 

It’s well known that to succeed, businesses need a workforce that will deliver strong results, particularly in times of economic turmoil. Often, business leaders consider their productivity model a success if their employees can produce more with the same or fewer resources, also known as results-driven productivity. 

However, measuring productivity in this way isn’t always useful, and can leave teams feeling burnt out and overstretched. Studies have shown that happy employees are more hard-working, so it’s important to ensure that employees are satisfied with their company’s working models and the tools available to them. 

There are two interesting ideologies regarding productivity evaluation that can be applied to business operations. The first idea works around reassessing the tools and equipment already in place, and ensuring they are efficient enough to generate good output. If not, it’s time to replace the resources. 

Slightly less explored, the second idea involves rethinking the process already in place and adjusting it to work more efficiently. In other words, this could be rearranging workflows in a smarter way. Below, I’ll explore the two ideologies with specific reference to business operations.

Reassessing your technology offering 

Particularly amidst a hybrid work backdrop, technology tools make up a fundamental part of business operations. Ensuring employees are equipped with the right technology is step one, but assessing whether they feel aligned with your chosen software is something businesses can overlook. 

The vast majority (80%) of employees surveyed in’s Productivity Report believe that collaboration and productivity tools improve employee engagement. However, only 26% of employees fully agree that they have the tools to streamline work processes, showing they are unsatisfied with their company’s tech offering. 

Additionally, on average, workers use 10.5 tech tools monthly, split evenly between web-based (e.g., Gmail, Slack) and PC-based (e.g., Outlook, MS Office). Therefore, it’s not surprising that employees believe they could save over 10 hours per week if they had a more streamlined tech offering at their disposal. 

Given technology’s integral role in business operations, it is crucial for leaders to understand and consider their employees’ opinions towards the company’s tech offering. This can be done by conducting an annual survey to understand which tools each team is utilising most, how frequently, and whether they experience any issues. Executives can then use the findings to make data-driven decisions on which tools to remove and subsequently offer an improved tech stack to boost efficiency and save time across the organisation. 

Company leaders should look to introduce intuitive, customisable, and scalable tools, as well as platforms that can integrate with one another to streamline the working process and avoid any unnecessary duplicate activity. In turn, this will free up time for employees to focus on more dynamic and collaborative tasks, fostering better engagement and productivity across teams. 

Dynamic task organisation

Reorganising employee activities more strategically and evaluating the time, staff, and resources allocated to team activities often proves fruitful. For example, creative tasks require more thinking time, and although allowing employees the extra time might not lead to tangible results straight away, it is crucial for long-term development. 

What’s more, rushing projects with the hopes of getting them over the line to meet goals quickly could even induce poorer results due to mistakes or inconsiderations. Awarding the extra creative or thinking time often proves worthy in the long run, resulting in better quality outputs.  

Additionally, when department leaders delegate tasks to employees, they need to consider each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and background knowledge when organising collaborative project work. Outlining the priority level, timeframe, responsible owner, any historical knowledge to be shared and clear next steps enables staff to focus on areas they enjoy, rather than those they struggle with. This is often reflected in the quality of their resulting work.  

Overall, employees need to feel empowered to produce their best work, particularly amidst economic uncertainty. Business leaders should reconsider their outlook on productivity and explore new approaches, whether introducing process-driven productivity or reevaluating the tools they have in place. The ultimate goal for business leaders should be empowering their teams to innovate and collaborate, which will, in turn, drive positive results across the organisation.  

Will Hale
Will Hale

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