UK Productivity still falling short of 2008: What can employers do?
WITH THE UK WORKFORCE STILL BEHIND THE US, FRANCE AND GERMANY, COULD IMPROVING OFFICE ENVIRONMENTS BE THE ANSWER?
This week saw some good news for the UK economy, with the Ofﬁce for National Statistics (ONS) reporting a 1.4% increase in worker productivity from April to June compared to the same period a year ago. While this is a undoubtably a positive, the country are still falling short of pre-recession productivity levels, with UK workers taking 5 days to produce what those in the US, France and Germany can produce in 4. So, what can we do to improve workplace productivity?
Research suggests that the answer may lie in improving the physical workspace. A 2001 study by Dole and Schroeder concluded that “employees who are more satisﬁed with their physical environment are more likely to produce better work outcomes.” Put simply, it might be worth investing in some ofﬁce plants and colourful wall hangings in order to boost the productivity of your staff.
It might not be just a spike in work rate you’ll see by kitting out your ofﬁce, though. One 2015 academic study found that being in an aesthetically pleasing environment actually leads to physical health beneﬁts, as well as relieving stress and anxiety. With happy employees up to 20% more productive than unhappy ones, moving away from the traditional off-white wall can be a great way to elevate not just mood, but proﬁts too.
One man who has seen the beneﬁts creating an attractive ofﬁce environment can have is Paul Feather, Managing Director of wall art company Vista Digital. Paul and his team have installed Vista Digital’s trademark one piece wall murals in many ofﬁce spaces, transforming surfaces into forrest scenes, cityscapes and more to capture the imagination of employees.
“We’ve been installing wall art in ofﬁces of major UK companies for over 10 years, and have deﬁnitely seen a rise in employers being conscientious of their environments. Ofﬁces used to be famously grey and drab, but now we’re seeing more and more companies introducing colour and artwork to the workplace,” says Paul.
“The feedback we get from clients is always that their employees really value them making an effort to make the workplace a nice place to be, and it often results in staff putting more effort in in return,” he adds.
With more and more employers reaping the beneﬁts of creating a physically attractive ofﬁce environment, the days of the beige cubicle may well and truly be behind us.
Dole & Schroeder, (2001), The Impact of Various Factors on the Personality, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions of Professional Accountants. Managerial Auditing Journal, v.16, n.4, pp. 234 -245. Cited in Kamarulzaman, Saleh, Hasim, Hasim & Abdul-Ghani (2011).
Seresinhe, Preis & Moat, (2015), Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environment on Health. Scientiﬁc Reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep16899
Sgroi, (2015), Happiness and Productivity: Understanding the Happy-Productive Worker.