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Post-Pandemic Productivity

Taking a look into how productive the UK workforce is post-pandemic

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    Posted June 27, 2024

    Has the Pandemic Created the Most Productive Workforce the UK has Ever Seen? The LinkedIn surveys asking us whether we prefer remote working, office working or a mixture of both have been popping up for some time, and for good reason. With the new way of remote working and flexibility over where we work, do we now actually know how we prefer to work? Many have been stuck for some time in beliefs within businesses that ‘if you’re not in the office you’re not working’. Many industries were so entrenched as a workforce that it took a global pandemic for employers to realise their teams could be trusted to work at home, so much so that CIPD have reported that home working levels will soon more than double in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. With the forced remote working of the pandemic, employers came to realise that not only can their employees be trusted to work remotely, but actually the best person to decide this is the worker themself. Some individuals find home-working frustrating, whether that be because of the home environment or the nature of their work, whilst others find office work more distracting and some now recognise that they need a balance between the two in order to effectively complete their work. This seems to be recognised by employers, where hybrid remote working options are being implemented. CIPD reported that two-thirds of businesses are adopting a hybrid work model where employees only spend part of their time in the office, all as a result of the success of homeworking during the pandemic.   This change has emphasised working on the outputs or results, allowing the employee to drive activities with little concern about their location when doing that work. It seems we’re entering a time where you’re not clocking in at 9 and clocking out at 5 but flexing your work location and hours to suit the outputs you need to achieve that day. With that, we’re starting to understand where and how we as employees work best to achieve the outputs needed for specific tasks. A study by Standford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. In the same study workers also reported improved work satisfaction, and attribution rates were cut by 50%. Working remotely can increase productivity, for example 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month shows increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period. Could this better understanding of how we operate and more importantly in what environments we operate best, allow us to improve productivity? Given productivity in the UK has been relatively low over the past decade, is the boost in productivity as a result of flexible and remote working what the UK has needed all along? It seems clear when looking at the data that operating leaner and partnering with your teams to ensure you’re facilitating them to perform as best as possible seems the ideal option, although not feasible in all sectors. It will be some time before we can see the true impact of the new way of working. Hopefully, we’re moving into a new era of choice, where employees have a say on where and how they work and this as a result benefits the employee, the organisation they work for and the wider industry.

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