The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) release has found that UK labour productivity has dropped for the second consecutive quarter, raising concerns about the country’s ability to succeed post-Brexit.
According to the ONS, labour productivity dropped 0.1% on an output-per-hour basis in the last quarter, compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
However, for experts in the technology industry, the solution is not to simply pile on the workload – but find intelligent, tech-driven ways to improve the country’s output.
“The answer to how we can be more productive at work does not lie in simply being more connected and stuffing more into the hours available,” said Adrienne Gormley, Vice President of Global Customer Experience & Head of EMEA at Dropbox.
“We have found ourselves racing around from morning ‘til night, working every minute and attempting to squeeze as much as we can out of a day, we simply cannot just ‘be more productive’.”
Turning to technology to boost labour productivity
For Gormley, it is important to reduce the time spent on bureaucracy, which she argues is eating into labour productivity while taking up much of the UK workforce’s time.
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“In short – we need to be working smarter, not working more. We need to reduce the time spent on doing ‘work about work’ – this is all the mundane and bureaucratic work that we do to manage our actual work – which is stopping us from being our most productive selves,” she said.
“People are an organisations’ greatest asset and the world’s biggest problems are going to take human ingenuity to solve: better teamwork, better collaboration, and better problem-solving – all of which adds up to the need for a culture which gives employees headspace to do their best work.”
Technology may provide the answer, with a host of solutions available to minimise administrative tasks and increase the time available to complete genuinely productive work. A notable example of this is robotic process automation, which is increasingly being used to automated mundane and repetitive office tasks, however this is just one of many technologies designed to assist with this problem.
“Whether it’s task management apps or collaboration tools, technology offers a huge opportunity to supercharge productivity. To achieve this, we need to look at what are the drivers for businesses and the people behind them,” said Anne Sheehan, Director of Vodafone Business.
“Looking closer at what makes people feel productive at work, we can see that enabling smarter working practices through the use of technology can deliver huge value. The key is to connect people, processes and information in a way that unlocks a workforce’s ability to do their best work.”