How can SMEs improve workplace productivity?

Several pieces of research published in recent days suggest that Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly struggling with maintaining workplace productivity – but how can this be improved?

According to a study carried out by STL Microsoft Training, many businesses are missing out on thousands of pounds due to ‘unproductive’ approaches to workplace challenges and day-to-day tasks.

In its report, STL Microsoft Training estimated that the following employee habits and time management mistakes are costing SMEs up to £973,000 a year:

  • Poor prioritisation.
  • A lack of lists.
  • Social distractions.
  • Not taking breaks.
  • Regular ‘unproductive’ meetings.

The group argued that SMEs need to take a more organised approach to managing their workforce in order to improve workplace productivity.

Such an approach may include ensuring that each employee has a clear, prioritised breakdown of what they need to achieve, takes regular breaks, is free from social distractions such as mobile phones and only attends project-specific meetings.

Meanwhile, separate research carried out by Opus Energy has found that SME productivity issues seem to be significantly more common in certain areas of the country.

London, the West Midlands and North East England all ranked poorly on Opus Energy’s ‘productivity scale’, with Yorkshire, the South West and South East England all faring much better.

The organisation suggested that struggling SMEs ought to explore the following opportunities in the workplace in a bid to improve productivity:

  • Flexible working.
  • Increasing employee wages.
  • Offering team incentives and perks to raise morale.