New research reveals that only 1 in 4 UK employees believe they are consistently productive at work

British businesses are losing £22 billion each year due to unproductive staff. According to research from totaljobs, UK workers spend approximately 1 hour and 24 minutes of the working day procrastinating.

This may come as no surprise, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted labour productivity to be 1.3% by 2019, much lower than the pre-financial crisis trend of about 2%.

These findings are particularly worrying as the UK’s productivity output is trailing behind other G7 nations before the UK leaves the EU.

The research found that while 88% of British bosses believe their workforce is productive ‘most or all the time’ only 24% of employees believed that they were consistently productive during work hours. In fact 1 in 10 employees (11%) admit being unproductive for over four hours each day, showing that these habits are well hidden from employers.

Grace Marshall, Productivity Expert explained the causes of the lack in productivity: “Our productivity crisis is an attention crisis. The UK workforce is full of brilliant brains, but when those brains are distracted, overwhelmed, or bored, we end up creating more noise that just keeps us busy.”

“Sitting in front of a screen for long hours is not going to produce our best work. Neither will back to back meetings nor endless email chains. Companies who help their workers to focus rather than fragment their attention are the ones who will lead the way in reclaiming the UK’s productivity.”

Top 5 causes of distraction:

  1. Coffee/Tea Breaks
  2. Colleagues talking
  3. Boredom
  4. Excessive meetings
  5. Excessive emails

One in three (33%) workers believe that shortening the working day would improve their own productivity, and 36% of employers agreed. 14% of British bosses admit they’d like to introduce ‘social media blackout hours’ to limit workplace distractions, whilst 16% felt they needed to do more to reduce the email flow for their employees.

David Clift, HR Director at totaljobs, said: “Our research reveals the extent of the productivity crisis within the UK workforce. This issue is simultaneously impacting both individual workers and British businesses. To effectively tackle this crisis, both staff and employers must work together to ensure necessary steps are taken to boost productivity. Even small changes, such as ensuring staff take their full lunch break, can have huge benefits on individual productivity.”

Positively, employers are recognising the steps that they can take to help fix the problem. One in four (23%) workers say their bosses have already introduced flexible working options to increase productivity whilst others have been given the option to work from home (12%), and are encouraged to take lunchbreaks away from their desks (10%). Some said their employer has attempted to increase productivity by not expecting them to be at work longer than their paid hours (11%).

“We’re seeing an increasing number of British companies using simple, but effective techniques to boost the productivity of their staff, from offering shorter working hours, encouraging employees to work remotely, or providing in-house exercise classes during lunch breaks.” Clift adds