Is flexible working the key to productivity growth or is there more..?

A recent CIPD study showed that it can be difficult to pin-point the reason for a drop-in productivity, partly because there is no singular reason for low or fluctuating levels. They stated that one such reason could be health and well-being, which can impact productivity via stress, presenteeism or leavism. Equally, the layout of an office can harm productivity levels, with recent research suggesting open-plan offices have a negative impact on workplace productivity, a view supported by CIPD readers.

So what can organisations do to mitigate productivity dips? Employees are often more productive if they feel valued by their employer, and offering flexible working opportunities within an organisation is one way of achieving this. Recent CIPD guidance shows that flexible working can boost productivity, as employees are able to manage and organise their workload more efficiently and autonomously.

The key point here is all businesses can invariably be more productive. I stated last month that when salaries continue to rise, businesses have no choice but to become more productive in order to support such rises. They also have to become more open to new ways of working and new technologies that can support increased productivity. Flexible working is just one of the ways to do this. Imagine if a company was brave enough or knew where and how to look at more ways?

I was at the Northern Powerhouse Advanced Manufacturing Conference last week and listened to some companies talk about their journey into new ways of working and the challenges and obstacles they had to overcome. The end result of which was a unanimous increase in productivity. Some inspiring stories came from Crystal Doors, Playdale, TrakRap and Siemens. All in the same situation but all with unique circumstances.

There is so much support out there for Manufacturing and Engineering businesses in the UK today and it’s all for the taking. MadeSmarter, MakeUK, GrowthHub, MMU are just some of the places where you can find support and guidance. I’ve listed a few things that might get you started!

MAKE UK – The manufacturers’ organisation. We’re here to help and support all UK manufacturers, and to champion UK manufacturing. They are holding a free webinar on 4 July at 12.30pm to discuss what steps your UK manufacturing business can take to continue to trade effectively post Brexit. There is still time to enter the Make UK Awards too! Entries to the Business Awards close on 12 July 2019.

MADE SMARTER UK – Enabling manufacturers, makers and creators to grow with industry 4.0 technology, therefore boosting North West Manufacturing competitiveness & growth. They have a competition on at this minute – Venturefest North West 2019. This is open to start-up and established businesses from across the North West. The Innovation Showcase Competition offers excellent profile-raising opportunities, and ultimately the platform for finalists to pitch to an audience of potential investors at #VFNW19. There are four categories to enter – Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation, and Innovative Established Business – as well as an Overall Winner and Audience Prize. Entries close 8th July! Ian Marshall is your man here.

BUSINESS GROWTH HUB – Are a community of specialists with a passion to help businesses across Greater Manchester to realise their ambitions. They support businesses at all stages of their growth journey with a broad range of services and offer expert one-to-one and peer-to-peer business support, events, specialist programmes, funding and much more. Better still, most of their support is fully-funded and is provided at no direct cost to your business. Peter Gaunt or Sallyann Betts are great contacts.

MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY (MMU Business School) – Is an excellent source of advice, support and knowledge for you business. They have some really inspirational people within their section that can offer impartial advice as well as training and development courses. (I know because I’ve been on many with them!)

Tony Ayin and Claire Pattison are your contacts here. You might be surprised at how much the MMU can help your Manufacturing or Engineering business!

Here’s to increased productivity in whatever form it takes!

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