Productivity at work – Britain working harder not smarter

Productivity at work – Britain working harder not smarter

Employers need to engage with staff over job design, team working, hours and workload to boost UK productivity, says a significant new survey into workers’ experiences of productivity at work.

The survey, commissioned from the Smith Institute by Prospect, USDAW, BECTU, Community, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, FDA and the Society of Radiographers, will be released at the Unions 21 conference today (Wednesday).

The survey provides a unique and robust insight into workers’ perceptions of productivity at work.

Prospect deputy general secretary Sue Ferns said: “Overall the survey shows that Britain is working harder not smarter. There’s no real puzzle about why productivity is not improving but, on the upside, a very clear indication that giving workers an effective voice will make a positive difference.”

Ninety per cent of the survey’s 7,454 respondents agreed that productivity is important to their organisations. The majority said they were keen to embrace new technology to improve productivity, despite concerns that this could reduce job security.

However respondents also emphasised the need to value quality and to measure what’s important and not just what’s easiest to count.

The survey shows that listening to workers is key to resolving the UK’s productivity problem, a dimension that has so far been missing from national debate and does not figure at all in the government’s productivity strategy.

Workers feel that there is too much short-term thinking and that the results of success are not shared fairly.

Notes: Unions 21 conference takes place at the Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN  on 30 March from 9.30am-4pm.

For further information contact about the conference, please contact

For further information about the survey, contact:

Sue Ferns – 020 7902 6639 or 07803 898708

Paul Hackett – 020 7845 5845 or 07908 226481