How UK SMEs Can Help Narrow ‘The Productivity Gap’

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Philip Hammond - the productivity gap
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP – image courtesy of flickr

I hate quoting politicians, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP, made a very good point at a recent Autumn Statement when he said we had an issue with the ‘Productivity Gap’ in the UK.

So what is the Productivity Gap?

What the BBC says: “The trouble is that when we are at work we are terribly unproductive; we produce less per hour than our main economic rivals. The difference is pretty dramatic, we produce on average 30% less per hour than workers in Germany, the US and France – we even produce 10% less than the average Italian.”

Professor John Van Reenen, Head of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, makes the point rather graphically: “By Thursday lunchtime the other countries have produced as much as it takes us to produce by Friday afternoon when we knock off work.”

As well as producing less than other nations, we also tend to work longer hours. So although it sounds counter-intuitive, it certainly seems that the more we work, the less we produce. And it tends to be a vicious cycle. The more inefficient we are, the longer hours we tend to work. The longer hours we work, the more inefficient we become (tiredness, fatigue etc).

Why are we so inefficient?

There are many reasons why we are inefficient. One of the main reasons is that, compared to the more productive countries, we underinvest in technology. Generally speaking, if you invest in good technology, you increase your productivity.

SMEs employ the majority of all private sector employees – the largest single group of employees in the UK. So, if we can improve efficiency in the workplace, just think of the positive knock-on effect we will have on the economy.

Moreover, on an individual level, one of the main benefits of increased productivity is working less, going home earlier and spending more time doing things we love – and what could be better than that?

So where do we start?

Remember the 3 golden rules?

  1. Eliminate
  2. Automate
  3. Delegate

Integrated systems (that are accessible from wherever your team is working) can start to eliminate unnecessary activities and automate or delegate time-consuming tasks, creating a much more productive business.

At OutserveWeb, we can help you integrate your systems so that they all work together in harmony, saving you time and money and making you more productive. Contact us for more information here or to see our list of systems that can be integrated, click here.


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