Productivity in the workplace has become a hot-button issue for businesses in recent years, as paradigm shifts in business cultures, technological methodologies and working practices have seen the business landscape shift significantly. With the upheaval of a global pandemic fast-tracking the adoption of remote working technology, valuable data has been producing indicating increased productivity in flexible and remote workers – signalling a lucrative opportunity for SMEs to increase their output. As such, all are seeking to invest more in boosting their business productivity.

Increased Industry Spending

The ‘productivity boom’ is seeing a collective review of internal workplace culture and productivity by businesses. The importance of the boom can be attributed in part to the labour shortage affected industries in both the UK and the US, where a jobseeker’s market is both incentivising competitive job offers from businesses, and spurring businesses to optimise their existing cohort. With SMEs accounting for three fifths of all employment in the UK, addressing productivity is of particular import; consequently, according to a recent report, the average UK SME is set to spend £35,000 on improving productivity within their business in the coming financial year.

Productivity Measures

The report, carried out by Nucleus Commercial Finance, found that 80% of all business leaders surveyed would be taking action to improve productivity. Further results from the survey set out the key areas in which small businesses were going to invest to that end; thirty-two percent of respondents referenced flexible working as a new productivity measure, while around three in ten suggesting they would be investing in IT infrastructure and training for staff. The CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, Chirag Shah, said the following regarding the findings:

“[I]t is positive to see that SME leaders are planning to take immediate action and invest significantly to improve productivity next year. These solutions will come at a significant cost in the short-term, especially if businesses are planning to improve their IT systems, invest heavily in training and buy new equipment. It is vital that these leaders have the right strategies in place to implement new solutions and, importantly, have the capital to fund this.”

Strategies for Improving Workplace Productivity

The Nucleus report offers a useful insight into the steps SMEs are taking across the board to improve productivity, and can be used to inform decisions you may want to make with regard to your own small business. Flexible working measures ranked highly owing to the ease of adoption for a majority of businesses, and the limited HR costs involved in adjusting employment contracts to suit employees. Updating IT infrastructure can represent a high up-front cost, but enable employees to work quicker and more efficiently – especially where cloud-based file-sharing and collaborative software are concerned.  Staff training and employee engagement tools were also referenced as avenues for productivity improvement, representing a relatively small investment for an overhaul of employee processes and attitudes.

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