January Most Unproductive Month for Workplaces

A new report has revealed that the month of January is proven to be the most unproductive month within workplaces after the Christmas break.

Struggling to get back into the swing of things this month after the short break away from the office? It turns out you might not be alone. A new report released by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance cites that January is statistically the most unproductive month in the year for workplaces. It also claims that December is the second most unproductive month.  Their report also breaks down the least productive places in the UK during January, along with a survey on the distractions affecting workers during their time at work.

Least Productive Places in January

A survey taken from Hitachi’s report breaks down the least productive workplaces in the month of January by cities in the UK. It ranks the Welsh capital of Cardiff to be the least productive during January, with 34% of survey participants proving this to be the case. On the opposite end of the scale, the report places Birmingham as being the most productive area of the UK during January, with only 19% of workers from workplaces in the city claiming they feel less productive during the first month of the year.

Other notable places listed in the findings include:

  • Southampton (31%)
  • Sheffield (30%)
  • Manchester (20%)
  • Bristol (21%)

Most Common Distractions in the Workplace

Another part of the report surveyed 2,101 participants on what they believed were the biggest distractions whilst in the workplace. From this, 61% stated that gossiping and chatting to their co-workers was the biggest distraction, followed by almost half of those asked saying that time spent on Facebook (45%) and answering their personal emails (44%) was one of the biggest causes of distraction from work tasks.

Also featuring in reasons given for distractions whilst working were clockwatching at 35%, making hot drinks/time spent in the workplace kitchen at 29%, using online shopping or banking apps at 25%, looking for other employment at 19% and taking toilet breaks when not necessarily needed at 17%.

Incentives Required to Improve Worker Productivity

With a lack of productivity during January and at other slower months of the year proving detrimental to businesses, what incentives would workers require in order to improve their productivity? One of the final parts of the report reveals that workers would request an annual bonus (41%), receiving more credit and praise (27%) and improvements within their working environment (23%) to be the main incentives they are looking for.

The study concludes that there is a direct split down the country of England in terms of overall happiness, something which has a significant impact on worker productivity. It reveals that workers in the East of England tend to be the happiest in the workplace, with 36% saying that they are happy when at work. Just 22% of workers in the North West said they felt positive and happy about their place of work.

Decline in UK Worker Productivity

In general however, the issue regarding worker productivity in January and even in the remaining months of the year shouldn’t perhaps just be pinpointed by region or city. A recent article from HR Magazine states that the worker productivity across the UK has fallen to a two-year low. According to the Office for National Statistics, this is down to the annual growth in economic output per hour of work falling to 0.2% in the three months up to September 2018. This was down from 1.6% which was tracked in the second quarter of 2018 and makes it the weakest period since the third quarter of 2016.

Speaking on the given facts and figures, Jonathan Boys, Labour Market Economist at the CIPD, says that employers should focus on improving people management in order to help boost workplace productivity, commenting:

“To guarantee sustainable growth for businesses and wage rises for workers productivity must rise. A growing body of evidence, including from the ONS, underlines the important role that effective people management practices have in boosting workplace productivity. The government and employers need to heed this and place more focus on improving people management practices.”

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Sam Rose