holiday workload

More than half of employees say they would be more productive if they knew how their work fits in

Productivity at UK businesses is being hampered by a lack of clarity and direction, a new study has revealed.  A third of UK employees (33%) believe that their business suffers from a lack of direction, a cause for concern for business leaders during a time when productivity levels in Britain have already dipped in 2018.

Conducted by work-management software company, Asana, the research identifies key areas that need to be addressed by management to improve staff retention, performance and overall productivity.

The onus on productivity is an important one for UK businesses. According to McKinsey, an improvement to business practices could see a £100 billion increase in UK economic growth. Yet, two-thirds of UK employees work for companies whose productivity is still below average.

Asana’s research reveals over half (51%) of UK employees believe they would be more productive if they understood how the tasks they were completing fitted into the wider company objectives. 49% estimate gaining that understanding would increase their productivity levels by 50%, and 1 in 5 people believe it could make them 75% more productive.

The research also highlights how clarity decreases when scaling the ‘traditional hierarchy’ of business. Half of UK employees (50%) believe that their leadership team does not fully understand how work is completed in their organisation. Specifically, there is a major disconnect between management and employees completing the work. This has major implications for resourcing that undermine planning and put the long-term ability of an organisation to perform at risk.

Teams in silos

As a picture emerges of a lack clarity in regards to hierarchy, statistics also point to a lack of clarity amongst teams that work alongside one another. 70% of employees say having more sight of what other teams in their company are doing and why they are doing it would improve their company’s performance.

“We’re operating in something McKinsey calls the ‘Age of Urgency’, where businesses must move quickly to remain competitive. However, whilst moving at pace can initially fast-track growth, a lack of clarity ultimately undermines the ability of the business to execute. If businesses cannot bridge the gap between their overall objectives, and the execution of tasks by both teams and individuals, they will not survive,” explained Chris Farinacci, Head of Business at Asana.

“As collaboration tools have proliferated the UK has not seen an upswing in productivity, and people are rightly asking why. Our research has identified a chasm between many leaders of businesses and their employees, who don’t understand the value in the work they are doing and so aren’t giving it their all. Until this clarity is provided from top to bottom the UK will always struggle to solve its productivity conundrum.”