Rabbit hole

How to escape the productivity rabbit hole

Want your staff to be more productive? Stop expecting them to do more in less time, says professional organiser Joshua Zerkel.

Management theorist Peter Drucker famously said, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” For businesses, the need to boost team productivity is nothing new, however, with the rise of flexible working and the plethora of tools employees are feeling the pressure to simply “do more”. 

When businesses start rolling out new processes and tools there can be a tendency to fall down the productivity rabbit hole, focusing solely on employee output without considering whether their actions are driving efficiencies internally or just creating more work.

According to McKinsey, the average worker wastes 61 per cent of their time coordinating their work in meetings, email and chat rather than doing their actual work. This time could be better spent doing meaningful work that actually creates impact and drives the business forward. 

Read more here.

The UK needs a manufacturing resurgence – and a weak pound

OPINION: Productivity growth depends on industrial investment, which demands an active approach to the national currency, argues JML founder John Mills.

Productivity growth in the UK economy is almost non-existent. Many people find this fact puzzling. However, there’s a simple reason why, and there’s a relatively simple solution too – if only we can bring ourselves to face up to it.

If we want to rebalance our economy, and get our productivity up, we need to make manufacturing profitable again. We need to create the conditions whereby it makes sense to site new manufacturing facilities in the UK instead of China or Germany or Holland.

But to do this, we need a much lower exchange rate. This would make the prices we charge for goods to be sold to world markets much more competitive. We might not all agree with this strategy but it is the only way we are ever going to crack the UK productivity puzzle.

The UK’s low productivity is the result of two factors. Economic growth stems very largely from investment. Currently, we invest a very small proportion of our national income compared to most other countries, and what we do invest in produces very small returns.

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Brockwell Park

Sugru’s city guide to finding community gardens

Get your hands dirty and learn new skills at your local community garden

So you want to get into gardening. Why wouldn’t you! It’s a fun weekend hobby, can be a cheaper way to add fresh fruits and veggies to your diet, and studies have shown that it’s a great way to reduce stress and improve mental well being.

As a city-dweller, you may be thinking that gardening is a privilege only reserved for those lucky few with access to their own outdoor spaces, but cities have ample opportunities to get involved in community gardens. And this certainly doesn’t mean waiting two years plus for an allotment!

Whether you’re simply looking to get your hands dirty and spend some time outside, learn more about gardening, or you’re looking to give back to your local community through volunteering, there are plenty of activities for you to take part in.

Here’s Sugru’s rundown, from London to LA, of the best community gardening programmes near you.

Find out more here.


The Real Problem With Productivity Is Measuring It

The impact of a Google or Waze isn’t factored into productivity data. It should be.

When it comes to productivity, only two things are undebatable: that the official rate of U.S. productivity growth has stalled since at least 2007, having started to slow before then, and that there is no consensus about why or what to do about it. There is, additionally, some broad consensus that without stronger productivity growth going forward, standards of living for the vast majority of Americans will not improve appreciably, which is likely to fuel the current wave of populist discontent.

One explanation, however, is increasingly popular even as it faces considerable skepticism among economists and policymakers: that the problem is less about productivity than about our inability to measure the effect of the digital and now data revolution that has redefined the American economy. In short, there is a growing chasm between what our economic system is and what our numbers are capable of measuring.

Read more here.