By Daniel Hunter

At the start of another economically challenging year, research from collaborative work management software provider Mindjet encouragingly reveals that over half of British office workers (54%) say they care passionately about helping their employer to be successful and consider their role in this success seriously (49%).

However, after two years of tough times some seem to be feeling battle weary — a third (32%) of UK office workers recognise they need to change their everyday working practices to drive success but 19% are happy to admit that they lack the motivation to do their job to the highest possible standard.

Many businesses set themselves tough goals at the start of this financial year — further research by Mindjet shows that FTSE100 companies are striving to achieve operational efficiency, consolidation and growth in emerging markets, amongst others. The results of this research of over 2,000 British office workers, conducted by Opinium, goes some way to explaining why they’ve struggled to do so. Whilst individuals recognise a need for change, a quarter of those asked said this hadn’t happened because they “haven’t got around to it”.

This attitude isn’t going unnoticed — almost a third of managers (30%) know they need to improve the way their team works but struggle to motivate them to do so.

Tim Ohlenburg, Senior Economist, Centre for Economics and Business Research, reflects on UK business performance as we enter the last quarter: “As this research shows, UK businesses have been working towards clear goals. However, economic growth has been disappointing this year, which has dramatically limited business profits and constrained expansion. The Eurozone crisis has also hampered aims to expand in emerging markets.

"Unfortunately the outlook for 2013 is still lacklustre. Given that the fourth quarter GDP growth is likely to be negative at the end of this this financial year, businesses are looking at a slow start. At a time when businesses are still striving to do more with less, they need the full support of their employees to do so, which means they need to address the issues identified by Mindjet as a priority.”

Efficient working practices and communication are clearly key to achieving those all-important business goals and making 2013 a more positive year. Aside from motivation, the research also showed that 24% of office workers feel that a lack of resources, senior direction (23%) and inefficient communication (18%) is still holding them back from fulfilling their potential; which in turn means they’re enjoying their job less (27%) and feel stressed (27%).

According to Professor Nelson Phillips, Chair in Strategy and Organisational Behaviour, Imperial College London, “Motivated and engaged employees are at the heart of business success, and there’s no time when this is more true than in tough economic conditions. Yet, it’s just at this moment that employee motivation and engagement drops as their employers’ lack the resources to support and reward them, while constant cost-cutting and pressure undermines morale and enthusiasm.

"The key to turning things around and getting 2013 off on the right foot is to focus on improving and developing working practices and efficient communication. Business leaders must not get bogged down in cost-cutting, but should strive to communicate a vision that moves employees beyond the current downturn and excites them about the future. This two-pronged approach will help re-engage a workforce badly affected by years of recession.”

Chris Norfolk, UK Director at Mindjet, which focuses on helping businesses to generate better ideas and improving how people work together, comments: “Our research shows that UK businesses have spent the last year striving for clear goals. With so many employees saying they lack resources, senior direction, efficient working practices and communication, alongside crippling economic issues, it’s no wonder many are struggling to achieve these. With all signs pointing towards a slow start in 2013, it’s essential that businesses and individuals address these problems, and consider how they can inspire employees and work smarter to achieve clear business success.”

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness