A quarter of SMEs believe productivity is an issue for their business, and are trying to identify and tackle the factors weighing down their growth, including promoting flexible working and investing in the wellbeing and fitness of their staff, according to new research.
The study of 501 UK businesses with between five and 1,000 employees by Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body for the group risk industry, found more flexible working initiatives, including working from home and compressed hours, ranked highest as a way of addressing productivity concerns, with nearly a third of employers saying they promoted this.
Investing in new equipment, thereby improving overall efficiency, is another method used by a quarter of businesses looking to make the tools they have to hand work harder for them.
Meanwhile, 22% of employers are encouraging their staff to be more active, while 18% are encouraging staff to improve their health. However, just 6% said they had invested in fitness technology to monitor general fitness levels and encourage better health behaviours.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD), said: “The productivity puzzle is not just an intangible issue: smaller businesses are now seeing their ability to achieve their growth potential hindered. It’s clear from these results that employers are starting to recognise the importance of acting to combat losses and are implementing a range of measures, which in itself is encouraging, but central to improvement is staff wellbeing.
“Ill health, stress and, therefore, absence can still strike. When they do, they have a significant impact over the long-term, so there is clearly more to be done to prevent this from becoming a continuous drain on the business.”