Hello! Callie here from
the Red Mirror team, back for another blog session. August is in full flow; have
you been feeling the heat in this crazy weather, or have you managed to keep
your cool? Our August blog series is all about productivity; Part 1
will investigate the importance of productivity and why August is our least
productive month and in Part 2, we will look at combatting this summer slump
and how e-learning can save us all!
This brings me to my
first question: does productivity matter? The answer…. Yes, productivity
matters. It’s a
precursor for economic growth and rising living standards. And yet, despite
increased employment and many Brits working longer hours than their G7 peers, the
productivity gap continues to exist. UK levels are currently taking the starring role in
economists’ nightmares the nation over, and the first quarter of 2019 is unlikely
to induce sounder sleep. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have highlighted a
productivity decrease for the third consecutive quarter – a fall of 0.2%
compared to the same period in the previous year.
short, a country’s productivity acts as a barometer for how adept it is at
delivering goods which are bought and sold, and it’s measured by the amount of
output per input unit (which is measured per worker or number of hours worked).
According to the Financial Times, a worker today produces the
same amount in an hour as someone did ten years ago.
argument of some – that comparatively high productivity levels exist in some
parts of the UK – carries little global clout, when the national variation
brings the average level down so markedly. According to Professor John Van Reenen, head of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, we get about as much done in our five day
week as other nationalities do by Thursday lunch! And the inconsistency is not just
geographical, it’s also industry-dependent, with service industries faring much
better than manufacturing counterparts.
along comes summer, armed with some
of the hottest weather on record, to rub salt into the financial
Adored for its generous provision of summer dog days, its capacity to combat
our national vitamin D deficiency epidemic and its BBQ-inducing temperatures…and
loathed in equal measure by managers for its propensity to make our get up and
go do exactly that.
recent survey, 78% of participants agreed that
productivity in their work colleagues slumped to some extent during the summer.
Interestingly, however, they weren’t generally willing to accept the same level
of culpability, with 47% admitting that their personal productivity took a hit.
A sizeable 46% even ventured as far as saying they were more productive when
colleagues and bosses were away during summer vacation. Subjectivity aside,
though, the responses are still pretty convincing indicators that the summer
slump is real.
So why is August the least productive month
of the year?
without saying that it’s the most popular month for vacations and getaways, yet
there’s more going on than the obvious absenteeism and a predisposition to let
excitement and planning impinge on our attitude toward the daily grind. The
ingrained ‘school’s out for summer’ associations our minds have accumulated
over the years also impact on our ability to stay focused. We are easily
distracted by the frivolous, and justified by a subconscious sense of
entitlement to kick back a bit. Add to that the logistical strains that
accompany the warmer climes –the extra pressure placed on parents, for
instance, who are trying to juggle their usual workload with the demands of
their holiday-ing offspring. Or the seemingly unavoidable breaks in larger
projects and deadline delays inflicted by the seasonal gallivants of the
majority. It all adds up.
can you avoid plummeting productivity levels this summer? That’s a story for
next week! You’ll have to stay tuned for part 2…