CPA’s In the Black Magazine contained an article dated 3 September 2012 titled
How smart do we work?
Productivity is the issue du jour, but as one economist says, it’s “nice to talk about and hard to get”
Along with discussing the benefits that taking a break can have on productivity (did you know that the most unproductive workers actually take fewer breaks?) the article highlights that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between working long hours and being productive, as outlined in the following quote:
“There’s no doubt that Australians work long hours. The report on the ACTU’s Working Australia Census 2011 reveals working time has been creeping up annually, with many Australians now putting in more than eight hours each day. An average Australian worker clocks up 1686 hours a year – considerably more than the typically industrious Germans, who work 1419. In addition, 61 per cent of Australian employees reported that they worked overtime without getting paid.
Curiously, Australia scores low on productivity compared with other developed nations and has done so for the past decade, ranking 17th out of 34 OECD countries. A Reserve Bank of Australia report by Saul Eslake, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says Australia has experienced particularly large declines in productivity growth in labour-intensive sectors – the wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage, financial services, public administration and defence, and education.”
The article goes on to point out:
“Productivity is hard to measure,” says Telstra director of strategy and business development Antony de Jong. In an online interview with Productivity Spectator, de Jong said: “Productivity is about working smarter and needs to be unpacked in the case of each individual company. It’s not something that can be done in one quarter or one year, but over several years.”
Investments in profitability initiatives, mainly technology but also training and engagement efforts, are what distinguish the productivity leaders, according to Telstra.