Productivity in the UK – How the British workforce compares in 2017

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In these times of great uncertainty, just how geared up are we for the big changes ahead? We’ve broken down the basics of British business productivity to help you understand just how efficient the UK currently is; but most importantly, how you can help your own teams to make improvements across the board too!

Which activities waste the most time at work?


It might only feel like the odd 5 minutes, but all of those little daily tasks certainly add up over the year!

  • Chatting with colleagues – 6 days
  • Ciggie breaks – 3 days
  • Making tea/coffee – 4 days
  • Personal emails – 4 days
  • Checking social media – 3 days
  • Private phone calls – 3 days
  • Personal errands – 3 days
  • Online shopping – 3 days

25 – 34 year olds waste more time at work than any other age group


But let’s face it;
it’s probably because they are having more fun!

What hampers your work productivity the most?


These are the Top 5 most frustrating ‘time-wasters’ for the average British worker

  • Fixing technology
  • Unnecessary internal meetings
  • Commuting to and from work
  • Unscheduled client calls
  • Any tasks not related to the job spec

By the time a British worker generates £1, a German worker generates £1.35


“It only takes a German worker four days to produce what we make in five. This means that too many Brits are working longer hours, for lower pay, than our German counterparts.”

Which G7 countries are more productive than the UK?


Surprisingly, we aren’t amongst the top 3 in Europe!

  • Germany
  • USA
  • France
  • Italy

Declining productivity in the UK


2% = The current long-term productivity growth forecast for the UK

5% = The highest rate of productivity reached by the UK between 1997 – 2007

18% = How much more x1 hour of work would be worth today if we’d maintained this trajectory

What are the best ways to improve productivity?

  • Invest in new tools, IT and machinery
  • Create new streamlined processes

Londoners are the most productive workers in the UK, but who are the others?

  1. London
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Ayrshire
  4. Derby
  5. Solihull
  6. Bristol
  7. Oxford
  8. Home Counties

Mon Dieu!


The UK has lower unemployment and a bigger workforce than France – but lower productivity and lower pay.

Productivity and well-being

Productivity isn’t all about the boss’s profits. According to the ONS:

“Improved productivity results in better living standards because it translates into an increase in output without any increase in input.”

Using timesheets to improve productivity

Although unpopular with workers, timesheets are proven to be one of the most effective ways of improving productivity:

“A timesheet system lets you analyse where workers are spending time on non-productive work and reallocate resources.

Increasing productivity, all other things being equal, will lift company profitability and with the right company ethos all staff will be able to benefit.”

David Walton,


PM3time; find out more about our easy-to-use online timesheet software

Are you curious to discover how much more productive your workforce could be? Using online timesheet software like PM3time gives you valuable insight into how efficient your team currently performs. This valuable data can help make important strategic decisions that transform your team’s productivity and efficiency. Book a free trial of PM3time to find out more.

About Bestoutcome

Bestoutcome specialises in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) software and services, always focusing on the overall outcome to ensure successful business change. Our approach is based on delivering specific business outcomes within a uniquely transparent, risk managed and open framework. This is achieved by using highly experienced consultants combined with PM3, a client configurable Programme Management Office (PMO) software and reporting toolset, allied to an outcome-driven project management (ODPM) methodology.  Bestoutcome’s starting point is always the client’s ultimate business goal and we never lose sight of this. Bestoutcome’s timesheet software, PM3time is used in many private and public sector organisations for automating timesheet capture and reporting processes.  Bestoutcome has completed a significant range of change management assignments for large organisations operating in sectors such as Finance, Manufacturing, Energy, Retail, Public Sector, Insurance and Hospitality.  Bestoutcome is ISO27001 Security Certified and our PM3 product range is available to Public Sector clients via the UK Government Digital Market Place Catalogue.

David Walton
About the author
David Walton

I am David Walton, Programme,Project and Portfolio Management specialist and director of Bestoutcome here in the UK. We make the PMO tools PM3, PM3time and PM3change, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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