51% of business leaders are concerned about workforce productivity

As footfall in the city of London reaches 39% of pre-pandemic levels, its highest rate since early 2020, new findings reveal widespread concern about productivity from leading business decision makers with hybrid working models setting in post-pandemic. The findings show that over half (51%) of UK business decision makers are worried about productivity in the workplace, with 74% showing at least some concern as we move into the next stages of the Covid crisis.

The findings, published in the new How to Grow playbook by business transformation consultancy Agility in Mind, surveyed UK business leaders about their concerns as we move forward in the pandemic. They found that 3 in 5 business leaders believe it will be harder to engage the hearts and minds of employees within their organisations.

In addition, some 29% of these same leaders did not know how to determine new initiatives that might tackle the issue of engagement and collaboration, with 27% saying they lacked the time to pursue such initiatives at all.

Andrew Jones, CEO of Agility in Mind, commented: “Businesses have faced unprecedented challenges throughout each stage of the pandemic, culminating in an inability to plan and a cautiousness in how they plan for the future. Productivity concerns are unsurprising given the uncertainty that has plagued the business community.”

Even with that said, the research did show an aspiration to find solutions, with over 4 in 5 (85%) senior decision-makers wishing to explore new ways to improve employee productivity, engagement, and motivation, even if some lacked clarity on how this process should take place.

A further 45% thought this to be either critical to future success of their business or should be a key business priority moving forward. Just 7% said they did not see value in pursuing such initiatives.

Agility in Mind’s How to Grow playbook also looked extensively into the proposed solutions from business leaders to tackle these productivity concerns. 40% of UK business decision-makers cite their people as a key factor to their organisation’s success as we emerge from the pandemic. A further 38% thought the solution should be found in new ideas. Just 35% and 34% cited access to capital and leadership respectively in brightening the future of their organisation post-pandemic.

Jones continued: “It is refreshing that so many senior decision makers are motivated to respond to issues of engagement, motivation, and productivity, and that so many see people as a key factor in organisational success. Rather than relying on the quick fixes purportedly designed to boost collaboration in the workplace – the likes of Slack and Teams to name two culprits – businesses must promote an agile working culture which can readily respond to unforeseen challenges of the sort Covid highlighted.

“Senior leaders must learn and respond to their workforce. For instance, there is a clear case to be made for continuing flexible working ushered in by the pandemic. Workers now recognise the lack of productivity in commuting and the social benefits home working has provided them. We don’t need to control people to force them to be productive, we need to create interesting work where they feel fulfilled and motivated to thrive.”