Significant proportion of UK blue collar businesses don’t measure productivity, new research finds

Significant proportion of UK blue collar businesses don’t measure productivity, new research finds 

New research[1] into productivity across blue collar industries in the UK has found only one in three managers (32%) feels their business is very productive, and yet nearly a third don’t measure productivity among their employees at all.

Capita Workforce Management surveyed 250 managers and 250 workers across industries including retail, logistics and construction, where employees work to set shift patterns rather than contracted hours.

The report found a huge disconnect between the number of managers who felt that productivity was important for their business and the number who actually measured it, suggesting much more could be done to improve and encourage productivity.

Two thirds of all employees say they waste at least an hour a day at work. However, more than three quarters of managers felt employees waste up to two hours a day, which suggests bad management could be a potential cause of lost productivity.

Britain consistently falls behind other countries when it comes to ONS studies in productivity, with the most recent release showing Britain as 15.9% below the average for the rest of the G7 advanced economies in 2015[2]. Capita’s report concludes productivity will be fundamental to the success of post-Brexit Britain.

Key findings include:

  • 87% of managers and 75% of workers feel that they have high levels of productivity at work;
  • Nine out of 10 managers feel that they motivate their employees to improve productivity, with 60% responding that saying ‘thank you’ motivates their team;
  • However, more than 40% of British workers say their organisation has no way of motivating the workforce;
  • When asked what hindered productivity, a third of employees cited talking to colleagues, and 51% of managers agreed;
  • Interestingly 27% of employees said nothing at all stopped them being productive, but management took a different view with 44% blaming tea and smoking breaks;
  • Perhaps most tellingly of all, 23% of employees stated bad management as a cause of unproductivity, and 25% of managers agreed with this;
  • In more positive findings, 82% of shift workers were happy with the hours they were assigned.

Jason Stokes, sales and marketing director, Capita Workforce Management, said: “Given that the UK regularly falls behind its European and G7 counterparts when it comes to studies in productivity, it is vital our businesses are doing all they can to ensure their employees are as happy and productive as possible if we are to make a success of Brexit.

“The correlation between employees and managers citing bad management suggests organisations need to address management styles and ensure that employees are receiving the support they need to carry out their jobs efficiently and to the highest quality.

“Our research suggests a missing link between shift patterns and productivity. It would appear that shift patterns, and being satisfied with them, do not positively impact on productivity levels. Employees are not asking themselves, or being challenged by management, on how can they get the most out of their time and how can they become more productive.”

Download a full copy of the report here:


    [1] Opinium surveyed 250 shift workers and 255 managers  between April 18 and April 25 2017

    [2] International comparisons of UK productivity (ICP), final estimates: 2015