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UK economy is losing £30bn every year due to inefficient businesses’ “connectivity deficit”

A freshly published study claims that the UK is losing out massively – to the tune of £30 billion per year – because of a “connectivity deficit” that afflicts big business and the public sector.

The study was conducted late last year on behalf of O2 and the CEBR (Centre for Economic and Business Research), with a thousand middle managers being surveyed (all drawn from firms with in excess of 250 staff, from both private companies and the public sector).

It points to inefficiencies in the UK’s big businesses, and the decline of productivity in recent times – in fact, output per hour was 5 per cent lower in the last quarter of 2013, compared to before the recession (2007).

While many companies recognise the benefits of connected tech and remote working (working on site, or at home) in terms of raising productivity levels, adoption is another matter – with a quarter of businesses citing trust issues as the reason against pushing further down these lines.

80 per cent of the middle managers questioned said they didn’t allow employees full access to tools which allow them to work more productively outside the office, such as mobile devices, apps, Instant Messaging, or cloud-based services.

The study showed a number of ways that UK businesses could up productivity and ultimately profits, such as cutting down on the number of journeys staff need to make to the office. This could be achieved by using technology to get work done on location (or at home), and apparently the number of trips to the office could be reduced by 121 for every employee annually (a time saving of 127 hours over the year).

Meetings could also be made more time-efficient via improved connectivity, the report stated, and time use in general – apparently 9 per cent of a staff member’s working hours could be made more productive by giving them better access to relevant data wherever they may be.

Granted, this is throwing numbers and percentages around in a pretty cloudy area, but the general point is taken. Productivity could almost certainly be improved, and cashflow would follow.

Ben Dowd, Business Director at O2, commented: “The staggering cost of long-term inefficiencies in larger British businesses laid bare in our report is a wake-up call for employers.”

He added: “Too many pay lip service to technology. But the reality is that our businesses and public sector organisations are yet to get the best that technology has to bring. Every employer should try to understand their own connectivity deficit. Even small improvements will help businesses grow and in turn provide more jobs and increased wages, as well as improve the lives for their hard-working employees.”