Concentration and collaboration. Two pieces of the productivity puzzle?

Can you concentrate at work? Being able to focus on your job, but also collaborate well with co-workers at the right times, may provide two answers to the UK’s productivity puzzle.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that labour productivity in January to March 2017 has not changed from the levels immediately before the economic downturn in 2007.

After half a century of consistent productivity growth in the UK, experts are trying to get to the bottom of why our productivity is now stalling. Pace of innovation, hiring workers rather than equipment and lack of loans to businesses are among the theories.

While we don’t have all the answers, workplaces that focus on improving employee concentration and collaboration are likely to do better.

Taking positive steps to increase output per hour, ensure people can get on with their work and experience fewer issues is vital. It will also create more loyal customers.

How much collaboration?

Talking and sharing information is a recognised factor in creating better engagement, but it needs to be managed efficiently. Making sure meetings run smoothly and have a clear goal is key.

Software specialists Atlassian have said employees attend an average 31 hours of meetings a month and consider half of these to be a waste of time. The stand-up meeting may be one solution. Keeping people on their feet may help participants to be more alert, meetings to run more quickly and prevent fewer side-tracking conversations.

In multi-site organisations particularly, pulling people with the range of skills and expertise together to collaborate on a project is worthwhile but can be costly and time consuming.

Keeping these costs down may be a question of better audio-visual conferencing facilities for people meeting virtually, whether they’re across the UK or continents.

Can I concentrate?

Being able to get on with your work without distractions is another factor. Atlassian found people were interrupted in the workplace an average 56 times a day and can spend up to two hours per day recovering from these interruptions.

Giving people the tools to work in peace, talk to customers and listen to or watch work presentations on their PCs, without distracting others, is crucial.

Efficiency creates happier customer

The telephone is still one of most companies’ largest customer service channels. Being able to concentrate on calls and make phone interactions easier helps employees to work better and creates more loyal customers.

Cutting down the number of ‘calls per event’ came to Canadian company Bell when they trained their workers not only to resolve the customer’s primary issue but also to anticipate and address common issues. Rather than leave customers who ordered a particular feature to call back later to ask how to use it, employees started to give a quick tutorial about key aspects of the feature before hanging up. This helped Bell to reduce its customer churn by 6%.

Why the right telecoms equipment is vital

Headsets can be worn any time an employee wants to work undisturbed, particularly in an open plan office. As well as helping to deter interruptions from co-workers, these remove the strain of cradling a phone between the shoulder and neck, can help improve posture and keep people more active and refreshed.

Wireless headsets ensure people can move around an office and not miss a call, while corded headsets are great for audio quality and ideal for anyone who usually works at their desk for most of the day.

With wireless ranges of 15 to 100 metres depending on model, a new breed of speakerphones are designed for smoother virtual meetings, with excellent sound quality.

For more details on our telecoms solutions please telephone us on 0843 538 3311, email our technology team on or view Banner’s telecoms range here:

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