Leadership, Workplace Culture and Smarter Working, what do they have in common? Productivity of course

Here we are again, after a decade of promoting Smarter Working practices and helping hundreds if not thousands of organisations small and large to introduce modern working practices, we still find that many organisations are not embracing all that technology can offer and still require people to be present at their desks, even during Commute Smart Week! 

Each of the last ten years has seen a new crisis, weather, work to rules, illness, recessions, all sorts of stuff that upsets the workplace and reduces productivity and whilst  the next  big issues looming on the horizon for the UK  are skills and supply chain capacity, Productivity is the key to success. 

Commute Smart Week, offers a great opportunity for savvy business leaders to think about the risks involved in running their business’s and begin changing the way people work to make better use of resources. By not making the best use of people process and technology to develop the workplace, increased productivity, cannot be delivered.

The clocks have gone back, but the 21st century workplace moves forward, skills development and skills sharing are the top agenda item. Improving workplace productivity can produce enormous skills gains for any organisation and radically improve the bottom line. Workplace productivity is about changing the way things are done and discussing the ways that organisations could be doing better, which will be different for every organisation.

Just like moving the flexible working agenda forward to make better use of peoples time, some managers are still resistant to changing the current work patterns. Commute Smart Week is a good time to open the discussion at work and start thinking about how a more flexible working environment could add real value to the business and working lives.

The big obstacle is still Culture; culture and risk management run hand in hand and the more repressive or controlling the culture, the greater the risk of things going wrong. The result is low or falling productivity and we all know that the productivity puzzle in the UK is far from being solved.

Culture is really the product of people’s attitudes and behaviours and this starts right at the top. Ask yourselves a few questions, What sort of culture does your Board want? and Why? What sort of behaviours and attitudes do the Board members display? How does this reflect on individual and company performance?

There are lots more questions that you could ask and there are many corporate failures where the finger should be very firmly pointed at the Leaders. Think about the press headlines over the last 10 years highlighting examples where Board Leadership and Management Practices have failed and companies have folded and glorious histories shamed. Even when legislation is introduced and Directors and Managers are forced to change, the results are not always great. The legislative changes are often resisted or ignored, think about equal pay, diversity and equality and the big gaps we still have. These obvious failures are a drain on moral and the all important happiness factor. Happy people are productive people, teams work, and team work means real involvement from top to bottom in an organisation and that’s why team means Together Everyone  Achieves More!

With the right culture, leadership and communication we really would need less legislation but corporate leaders do not always respond to self- regulation and poor cultures force the legislation to be introduce and then organisations rally against it.

Productivity is very clearly linked to investment in Corporate Governance and good governance is all about leadership, communication and doing the right things.

WorkWise are determined to have an impact on Productivity and have developed an online tool to assess how your organisation is performing against seven key productivity drivers:

  •      Leadership and Management Capability
  •         Creating Productive Workplace Cultures
  •         Encouraging Innovation and the use of Technology
  •         Investing in People Skills
  •         Organising Work
  •         Networking and Collaboration
  •         Measuring what Matters

Achieving higher productivity requires much more than the Finance Director demanding improved margins and initiating cost reduction programmes, it means a change of culture to produce more. Raising productivity is the real key to prosperity not just for companies, but for people and the whole of the UK. Finding ways to increase productivity really is playing in team GB and we know how moral and happiness  was hugely boosted by team GB in the Olympics.

Commute Smart week provides a real opportunity to have a proper discussion in your workplace about how you work and what you achieve. This is the week to think  about your working practices, think about how and where people work and set about adopting more flexible approaches to people management as a key component of effective change and increased productivity.

You could make a start on the productivity ladder by visiting our web site www.workwiseuk.org  doing the online tool and using the outputs to prompt the discussion at your next team meeting.