The UK’s Problem with Productivity in the Workplace

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The UK is 16%1 less productive than the rest of the G7 and, in the four years from 2013/14, sickness absence had risen from eight to 14 days and a rise in mental health-related absence was also noticeable. 

A new eBook is written by HR consultants AdviserPlus has revealed the UK’s issues with productivity in 2019, and how HR managers can start to tackle this problem in their own business.

Compared to other countries, the UK’s shortfall in productivity has long been an economic headache. Despite significant increases in employment levels, productivity has actually worsened, and even though the UK reportedly works long hours, the valuable output is low.

So what is affecting these statistics and how can HR managers start to fight back against this trend?


Simplifying and streamlining tasks and objectives for the workforce is a sure-fire of a way of improving wellbeing and productivity.

  • Ensuring that new technologies are implemented correctly, with employees given sufficient training on how to use them can be a huge time saver. It can save workers the stress of having to battle to understand a system which is meant to help them. 
  • Adequate investment in recruitment will save employees overloading themselves with tasks and therefore burning themselves out. Keep an eye on this with regular employee meets.


Making the most of the working day is at the core of productivity. When employees become less efficient, tasks can be delivered to poorer quality and deadlines can be missed.

  • Implement a comprehensive and well thought out onboarding process. It will need to explain clearly what makes great productivity and what constitutes bad productivity. Successful organizations are explicit in what they expect from their employees and reap the benefits. 
  • Set out a clear meetings protocol for your business to avoid loss of productive time to meetings that overrun. 


Companies need their employees to be engaged, understand the work they do and need to be rewarded and recognized accordingly.

  •  Create ways to boost the workplace environment in an attempt to heighten workplace happiness and wellbeing but be careful not to overdo this. Strike a balance and set boundaries and goals.
  • Ensure mobile workers keep their work/life balance healthy by asking them to not reply to work emails or work on projects outside of office hours.

Data Insight

Maintaining and monitoring HR data insights allows professionals to make informed, data-led decisions which should lead to optimal outcomes for businesses.

  • Reliable data can lead to faster resolutions and allow HR professionals to put together business cases for essential upgrades and updates to a business’s protocols. 
  • Enabling employees to input their own data into a database can save time when it comes to the appraisal process and allow them to have a bigger say when it comes to career progression. 

Rory Jackson, head of marketing & customer acquisition from AdviserPlus commented on the eBook:

“Productivity in UK workforces has been a problem for a few years now, and it’s clear that it’s going to take some strong action and creative ideas from businesses to solve the decline in output we’re seeing nationwide.

“Fortunately, organizations are starting to see success implementing strategies entwined with workplace wellbeing, technology and investment which are boosting not only productivity but revenue.

“Our eBook explains how HR professionals are a core part of turning this issue around, enabling businesses to increase productivity and achieving financial savings.”

The eBook entitled “HR’s role in solving the UK’s productivity puzzle” is available as a free download here – https://adviserplus.com/resource/hrs-role-in-solving-the-uks-productivity-puzzle/

Company Background

AdviserPlus is the UK’s leading provider of HR technology, consulting and advisory services.

Combining HR data analytics, technology and people expertise we help HR leaders to not only improve operational efficiency and business performance but to amplify their business impact.

How do we do that? We turn your people data into clear, meaningful insights you can use. Our HR software improves your productivity, ER consistency, and people performance. And we bring world-class people expertise, coaching and advice – across your business.

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