Our special thanks to business experts PwC for perspective in this article.
You’ve got the best people with the best skills for the best salary deals ever – yet productivity continues to perform worse than you expect.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
You’ve called in the top consultants, put in the latest technology, deployed every efficiency trick in the book – and still, like most businesses in the country, your productivity is always dragging it’s heels.
Oh sure, the experts will tell you it’s “lack of exposure to global best practices and low competitive intensity”. And that these are caused by “low capital investment and poor skills stemming from trade restrictions, price constraints, and land use regulations.”
Whatever that means.
Cut to the chase
Frankly, and in practical terms, your team should perform better – but don’t.
That’s right, it’s a people thing.
And improving your people productivity means that you and your people work harder, better and faster.
Which suggests maybe you should forget all the theory and focus on them.
They are, after all, your main asset, without whom productivity would be zero. Start with them and everything should click into place.
Like, how are they doing?
And not as production units, but as people?
How do they feel about what they’re doing, the people around them, the environment in which they’re working?
And how do you show them that you give a damn?
According to business gurus PwC, 83% of workers feel that their wellbeing influences productivity.
OK, so you took that on board when you hired them. Which is why the swish offices, the stylish décor, the extensive wellbeing package – fitness programmes, diet counselling, medical consultancy, the works.
And they give it back to you in spades. Always at their desks, never a day off, midnight oil junkies – and weekends too – they just love the place and live on its adrenalin.
All well and good, but human bodies don’t function like that.
And not because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Actually, that flesh is an amazing miracle. Putting up with the all-hours workload, the lack of sleep and intermittent meals.
And a whole lot more that you can’t see.
Don’t mess with stress
Like stress – not from burnout, but from depression.
Financial worry for instance, is the largest single cause of stress in the UK, which in turn is the largest cause of absenteeism. The house, the car, the daughter’s special care treatment – or worse, the gambling debts, the divorce settlement, or the shares that went belly-up.
Relationships too, are a major unhappy trigger – especially work-related. Maybe even caused by you.
Like, how good a boss are you actually? At handling people and making them feel wanted? Do you give them space and recognition, putting them at their ease?
Worse, what about the boo-boos? The ones guaranteed to make people cringe – or burst into tears when no-one’s looking? The feeling you don’t trust them, don’t want to give direction, vent your frustrations on them, break promises, fail to support them or take all the credit for yourself.
OK, so you get tough with yourself and fix all that. So why is productivity still down through the floorboards?
Go back to the same question you asked the team before – how are they feeling?
And not how hyped up they are – how are they doing physically?
Protecting the body
Your own body can give you an answer.
Because like all of us, you have something going on every 3 days or so that make you feel less than perfect.
Septic cuts, cramps, upset stomachs, headaches. And we haven’t even got to the running cold yet. Or the flu, raging vomit sessions and diarrhoea, the laboured breathing, the chest pains that make you panic and head for A&E, or the dread when the Doc tells you you’ve got e.coli.
That’s right, illness caused by germs.
Which because your team are all fired up and enthusiastic, they try to take in their stride.
Except how well can you work when your head’s like boiled knitting and even opening your mouth to talk is an effort?
It’s the unwell-at-work syndrome and we all have it. Trying to be heroes when our insides are like custard. Forcing the issue, though we know we’re not up to it. How much worse can things be?
Presenteeism it’s called – and on average, it hits each of us 57.5 days a year, almost three working months.
And there’s your productivity gap, right there.
Unwell at work – £290 billion a year
Everybody might work for a full 12 months. But effectively, they’re only capable for 9. Which is why presenteeism costs 10 times more than absenteeism – itself costed by PwC at £29 billion back in 2012, so way more than that now. As you can calculate here.
So how to fix it?
Easier than you think.
If germs are the cause – then get rid of them, and you’re away.
Which is where the amazingness of the human body comes in. Because we’re constantly surrounded by billions and billions of germs. Our own bodies are even 50% bacteria – a benign partnership that looks after digestion, creates proteins, manages our immune systems, and thousands of others.
But get germs in the wrong place and we’re in big trouble. This year’s A (H3N2) Aussie flu virus for instance has already killed 73 and hospitalised 133,000.
And how prone we are to infections caused by germs – living 90% of our time indoors the way we do? Working together, sharing the same space, breathing the same air, touching the same things? With germs coming at us non-stop, every single second?
Until we say, enough, that’s it – and get rid of them all.
Easily done by sterilising our workplace so there’s no germs at at. No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi, no nothing. All press-button easy with ionised hydrogen peroxide mist – gone in 60 minutes.
And of course with no germs, there’s no reason to be unwell. Plus you’ve solved the worry problems – which means, for the first time, your team can function at a full 100%.
12 months instead of 9 – how’s that for productivity?