UK workers say they are more productive out of the office

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The Microsoft research asked over 1,000 employees of SMBs up and down the country about creativity, productivity and where they were when they had their best ever work-related idea.

The majority (55 percent) of office workers in British small and medium businesses (SMBs) are still required to be in the office all day, every day in order to get their work done, yet this could be hampering their creativity, according to research from Microsoft and Ipsos MORI.

The research asked over 1,000 employees of SMBs up and down the country about a range of issues. One of the areas looked at was creativity and when employees had their “best ever” work-related idea.

Microsoft campus SeattleOnly one in ten (11 percent) said this had come when physically in the office. Most identified a location away from the office – 20 percent said home, 10 percent said on their commute to work, 9 percent said in the shower or bath and 7 percent said in the car. An unfortunate 8 percent admitted they’d never had a good work-related idea.

When the people surveyed were asked what a “productive” day at work means, they largely listed less creative endeavours – 81 percent said ticking off everything on their “to do” list was important, 60 percent said attending all the meetings in the calendar was a must, and nearly half (42 percent) cited achieving zero email in their inbox to deal with at the end of the day was important.

While the activity outlined above may to some extent be necessary it’s unlikely to truly ‘make a difference’ to an SMB, many of which thrive on creativity and innovation. It could be that there are still too many employees compelled to spend their entire working week in the office given that over half (55 percent) are not permitted by their employer to work flexibly,” said Microsoft.

As well as being more creative when out of the office, it could be that staff could be more productive too. One in three (32 percent) mentioned that fewer distractions in the office would also help them be more productive.

So allowing SMBs workers to spend at least some time out of the office environment could reap huge rewards. With a substantial number of employees now having access to mobile devices and cloud computing services, it really can be business as usual from any location,” Microsoft said.