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Employers feeling the effect of lost productivity

New research from GRiD shows a quarter of employers are feeling the effects of lost productivity and popular initiatives to combat this are flexible working (promoted by a third of employers), new equipment and health & wellbeing promotion.


Output per hour for the UK is 20 percentage points below the average for the rest of the G7 advanced economies, according to the ONS. This is the widest gap since comparable estimates began, and reinforces the need for employers to move now in order to manage their workforce.

The impact of the ‘productivity puzzle’ is now filtering down to smaller businesses, according to new research from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body for the group risk industry.

A quarter of employers (23%) believe productivity is an issue for their business, and are trying to identify and tackle the factors weighing down their growth, including promoting flexible working and investing in the wellbeing and fitness of their staff for long-term gain. 

One popular way to support staff is the introduction of more flexible working initiatives. When asked what measures were in place to improve productivity, this method –  including working from home and compressed hours – ranked highest, with nearly a third (29%) of employers saying they promoted this.

Investing in new equipment, thereby improving overall efficiency, is another method used by a quarter (24%) of businesses looking to make the tools they have to hand work harder for them.

Meanwhile, 22% of employers are encouraging their staff to be more active, while 18% are encouraging staff to improve their health. Taking the time to invest in the health and wellbeing of a workforce, rather than approaching it as a tick-box exercise, will have far greater long-term impact on the growth and sustainability of a business. However, just 6% have invested in fitness technology, which can provide insights for both employee and employer when it comes to monitoring general fitness levels and can encourage better health behaviours.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD), said: “The productivity puzzle is not just an intangible issue: smaller businesses are now seeing their ability to achieve their growth potential hindered. It’s clear from these results that employers are starting to recognise the importance of acting to combat losses and are implementing a range of measures, which in itself is encouraging, but central to improvement is staff wellbeing.