How to Maintain Productivity as UK Moves Into the ‘Delay Phase’ as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues to Spread

Career Climbers / 13th March 2020

As coronavirus continues to sweep across the world, the UK government has moved to the ‘delay phase’ in an attempt to control its spread. Anyone exhibiting symptoms, however mild, are encouraged to self-isolate. This raises several challenges for businesses regarding workplace productivity, as many employees are now working from home.

Telecommuting has become increasingly common in recent years. As connectivity has become streamlined, teams can work together seamlessly from the comfort of their own home. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, this can provide a practical solution for businesses during this period of economic turbulence. Furthermore, it could help establish an approach to business that will endure beyond the coronavirus, as it also addresses issues already affecting workers.

A nationally representative survey across over 2000 UK adults from Theta Financial Reporting has assessed the issues that the UK workforce has faced in the past.

Key Outcomes

  • 1 in 3 Brits – 37% – believe that their commute ensures that they are exhausted before even beginning work
  • 39% of Brits feel presenteeism means that they are less productive when they are at work
  • Over half (51%) of all Brits believe that the decision-makers in their workplace are out of touch with the processes required to ensure their teams work efficiently and productively
  • A third of Brits – 31% – regularly exceed the EU’s maximum working limit
  • Nearly half (45%) of all British workers believe work laptops and mobile phones mean they never truly switch off/and have answered emails in the early/late hours of the morning/evening
  • 37% of Britain’s workers do not have time or motivation to chase promotions/professional development due to the sheer amount of work they have to do
  • A quarter of Brits -26% – feel that they have not received the required training to do their job efficiently

These statistics demonstrate that UK workers are not achieving desired levels of productivity irrespective of the coronavirus, with the pandemic only compounding this problem. Lack of training, poor management and vast workloads are key contributing factors.

Chris Biggs, Managing Director of chartered accountants Theta Financial Reporting commented:

“Our research at Theta Financial Reporting shows that a third of Brits are exhausted before they even get to work because of their commute, but there are other negatives to rush hour travelling. For those entering a large city centre, packed public transport means that those minutes and hours are almost impossible to work within, so it is dead time to an employer and an employee. Furthermore, millions of other commuters are running cars with just one person in them, so there is a huge environmental factor to commuting. Telecommuting is great way to work around this. 

Working at home and connecting with a team via phones and laptops has never been easier. For small businesses, this can massively reduce the cost of overheads, as they don’t need to create their own network or server. It is now possible to host people from all over the world on a much smaller budget. New security features also make this a safer option, too. Here at Theta, we connect with our clients via video conferencing software, which can be done using just a phone or laptop. All of this means we can offer flexible workers hours rather than stifling working conditions which often bring a on additional stresses. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow, businesses should embrace this new method of working. Not only is it safer for employees given the current climate, but it can increase workplace activity, too.”

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