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Eight reasons why your employees are unproductive – and how to help them

By | Barry Chignell |

Unproductive employees might be struggling for reasons outside of their control; choices your organisation is making could be contributing to their low efficiency and output. Here’s how to help them

Worker productivity is an ongoing challenge in the UK, with labour output falling steadily in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. In fact, a 2021 study by the London School of Economics, found that, while the UK’s productivity rose by 87% between 1981 and 2019, median employee wages rose by just 62% – a 25% gap between productivity and wage growth.

It’d be easy to blame this lack of productivity on laziness or a lack of motivation. But there are more complex factors at play including issues with workplace culture, a lack of investment in skills and training, and changes our use and expectations of digital communications tools. Join us as we dissect eight reasons why your organisation might be struggling with unproductive employees.

Eight reasons employees are unproductive – and how to help them

1. Their working environment isn’t fit for purpose

Do you find that employees are always struggling for spaces to collaborate, have to book out meeting rooms to make quiet phone calls, or retreat to work at home when they have demanding projects to complete? These might all be signs that the physical working space you’re giving them isn’t fit for purpose, and is out step with their needs, wants and preferences. For example, if you want people to collaborate more, the solution isn’t as simple as switching to an open-plan office: researchers who studied staff interactions at two Fortune 500 companies found that face-to-face interactions dropped by 70% after switching to an open-plan layout, with digital conversations increasing to compensate.

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