The subject of productivity has been in the news recently.  The government is trying to improve the UK’s ranking against other countries and struggling to work out how to do it. Having a flexible labour market should help but it hasn’t worked too well so far.  This could be because managers still don’t know how to transform agile working from an employee benefit into a business strategy. Moving from a low skill, low wage economy to the opposite certainly sounds like a smart idea. But how can it be done?

One answer will be provided at the Wisework/Workpond workshop being run in November , “Building a high performance productive workforce”. Another answer can be found in the YouGov report sponsored by O2 that was published in June.

The 50 page report with the decidedly unappealing title of “Redefining selling, serving and working” sets out to show how technology “drives smarter working, smarter serving and smarter selling and the positive impact this has on senior management, employees and customers”. So it’s not just about IT but about the benefits of smarter working, with technology as a catalyst.

Here are some of the results:

Companies challenging the norm of the working day are enjoying greater business efficiency, saving 9.4 million hours and £ 2.2 billion per week
Over two thirds (68%) of senior management in large businesses agree that breaking the 9-5 work pattern has helped their company achieve greater business success.
Meanwhile almost half (46%) of employees in large businesses agree that breaking the 9-5 work pattern means they are more likely to be successful in their job.

So it takes a combination of the latest technology and enlightened management to gain the real productivity benefits.  It looks like the UK is investing in the technology but needs to invest more in leadership and management to move up the productivity league.