“Too many meetings, too much information”

Back-to-back internal meetings sandwiched together by hours of playing catch-up on email – sound familiar? New research by Microsoft suggests that you’re not alone! The report – ‘The Daily Grind: Break the Mould – conducted by YouGov, reveals that UK office workers are getting so bogged down in process-driven tasks during the ‘9 to 5’, they struggle to find time to produce anything really meaningful.

Research highlights:

  • A nation of ‘process fanatics’ Innovation in UK business is taking a back seat as a process-driven, “inbox zero” culture, is taking precedence during the 9-5
  • An open-ended working week UK office workers are uninspired by their jobs and working around the clock just to keep up
  • Office culture hampers innovation and creativity – Today’s office environments are hampering innovation and creativity in UK plc

nation of ‘process fanatics’

For 77% of UK office workers, ‘a productive day in the office’ constitutes ‘clearing email’. This fixation with completing such tasks is having a detrimental impact on the level of contribution individual employees feel they bring to the business. Nearly a quarter (23%) say they have never made a major contribution to their employer, and only 8% feel they have done so in the past year.

An open-ended working week

Over half (54%) feel obliged to work during the weekend, outside of contracted hours, because there is simply too much to do. Many are therefore working approximately 4 hours at the weekend which could potentially equate to around two billion hours of unpaid overtime every year. Only one in seven (16%) UK office workers are actually inspired by their job.

Office culture hampers innovation and creativity

The inflexibility of the office environment is having a detrimental impact on productivity and creativity in the workplace. Over half (55%) of respondents said that they do not have the head-space needed in the office to do their best thinking or generate new ideas. When asked, ’If you could work from anywhere where would you choose?’, only 34% chose the office. 40% said the environment that would actually inspire them to produce their best quality work would be their home, the local library or another third space.

Break the

There is a desire amongst office workers to do things differently. Respondents said that ‘creating something new’ (70%) and ‘having a great idea’ (67%) would make them feel productive. However, nearly one third (30%) believe that their current employer would prefer to settle for what has gone before rather than do things differently. Another 39% agree that their organisation needs to rethink how it operates.

The gap between organisations that are prepared to take risks and seize change, and those that aren’t, is only going to widen. What we will increasingly see is organisations fall into two camps; ‘enlightened’ and ‘laggard’. Those that carry on as they did before – ‘laggards’ – will not have the same gravitas to attract or serve customers as well as competitors, entice or retain the best talent, innovate to diversify offerings, or strategically push the business forward. ‘Enlightened’ organisations will drive a new pace in business, and set new precedents which others will only dream of emulating.

Organisations need to encourage employees to break free from resorting to doing things the way they have always been done. Now is the time to reimagine business, to look at processes that aren’t working and fix them, drive cultural change from within, and use new services and devices to improve them.

Get it done day infographic
Get it done day infographic

November 07, 2013
Break the Mould – UK office workers say innovation is getting short shrift in the daily grind

About the research

The research has been commissioned in the UK as part of a global Microsoft initiative, “Get it Done Day”, which encourages employers and employees to think differently about work, productivity and the use of technology in the workplace. Microsoft commissioned YouGov to survey 2,036 UK office workers during October 2013. Check out, http://www.businessreimagined.org and www.office.com/GetItDone, or join in the conversation online at @BizReimagined #BizReimagined #GetItDone.