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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Concentrate for productivity

07 July 2015

British workers put in the longest hours in Europe but have among the lowest productivity rates.  We may not be concentrating on the job as much as we should.  Springfords found new eviden … Oh!  Look! A squirrel!

Are you reading this blog as an alternative to getting your work done?  Is this part of your deferral strategy, to keep you from doing the unpleasant things you should be doing?  If so - shame on you - but you’re not alone.

Employers … look away now - the following paragraphs contain graphic descriptions of a commercially malevolent nature.

A recent survey reported in the Daily Telegraph by Think Money (a research company, not an instruction), found that an astonishing one third of workers admit to wasting time at work equivalent to over 700 hours a year.  Some were even brazen enough to say they only actually work for thirty minutes of their day.

The list of excuses are a mirror for our modern shirking environment.  Noisy workplaces, archaic computers, dismal internet connections, and, in a twist of ironic contradiction, surfing on mobile phones.   Even the uncomfortable office chair gets the blame for dragging workers away from their tasks in hand.

It’s all a world away from the days of the factory and manufacturing  based British economy of half a century ago.  Back then, clocking on to the factory floor meant getting down to work on the production line, and the nearest thing to a distraction was the tea trolley coming round to satisfy your thirst with a brew from the urn.  Uncomfortable chairs?  Not a problem - there were no chairs.

Meanwhile, there’s lots of advice out there for avoiding distractions at work, but they all seem aimed at the symptoms.  Search online for distraction strategies (no, don’t …. get back to work) and you’ll find guru after guru explaining the triumph of the urgent over the important, and suggesting blocking nuisance phone calls and emails.  

Not many actually go as far as treating the underlying causes - since most of us are engaged in making nuisance phone calls (usually to set up meetings of dubious worth) or writing those emails (minuting those meetings).

In Europe - well the bits where they don’t do siestas - it’s common for employees to fill their hours with co-operative work - such as cleaning the factory floor if there’s a planned gap in their production schedule.  Here, give us a spare minute, and we’re more likely to send a selfie of our feet up on the desk. 

It’s probably too much to expect us all to adopt a Northern European attitude to work and productivity.  The question to be asked is do we really need to?  Should we be asking rather than how can we improve our productivity, can we be happy with the way we are, and make it work?

That’s one to ponder - out of office hours.


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