UK companies waste around 18 per cent of all working time due to a crass and inefficient use of labour, resulting in 40 average working days being lost every year.
Proudfoot Consulting, the report authors, claims this equates to a bill of £80bn, or around 7 per cent of gross domestic product.
According to the report, more than three-quarters of inefficient working last year was the result of three issues:
- Inadequate workforce supervision (31 per cent of all wasted time)
- Poor management planning and control of work (30 per cent)
- Poor communication (18 per cent)
The remainder of wasted time recorded was the result of IT problems, low morale and a skills absence or mismatch.
The study ranks the UK in fourth position for productivity out of eleven nations. The Netherlands topped the poll for the most efficient with Japan faring worst.
In a separate analysis conducted on business location over the last two years, German employees came out as being more productive than workers in the UK, US and France.
Simon Glynn, chief operating officer at Proudfoot Consulting, said: “What now needs to happen is that companies raise the threshold at which wasted labour time is tolerated; in the UK there’s an 18 per cent gap between what is achievable and what currently exists – even more in others countries. That adds up to a lot of unrealised financial value that could be reinvested in skills and development training or paid to shareholders through higher dividends, or both.”
More than three-quarters of quizzed executives said they expect productivity levels to rise in 2008.