The UK is still some way off solving the productivity puzzle after final estimates for 2014 from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that productivity was 18 percentage points lower than the average for the rest of the G7.
The figures showed that the UK's productivity gap - the difference between in output per worker between two countries - is roughly 14%, twice that of other nations in the G7. Last year, the Centre for Economic Performance said UK workers could have Fridays off if they worked as productively as other G7 countries.
For every £100 created by the UK in one hour, only Japan generates less in GDP. But France, Germany and the US all create an extra £30 or more.
Outside of the G7, some of the UK's biggest trading partners also have considerably stronger output. For every £100 generated in one hour by the UK, Ireland too generates £30 more. That figure rises to £34 in Belgium and £45 in the Netherlands.
Workplace management experts Condeco Software say the latest productivity figures highlight the case for flexible working. A recent study by Vodafone of 8,000 employers and employees around the world found that 83% saw an improvement in productivity after introducing flexible working arrangements. And nearly two thirds (61%) said profits had increased as a result.
Founder Paul Statham said: “The debate rages on around the appropriate response to the UK’s poor productivity results. Unfortunately the debate often jeopardises employee engagement, creating the feeling that measures to address productivity are somehow an indictment of the individual worker.
“Flexible working acts as an important boost to productivity not only because it allows employees to work when and where suits them best, but also because it empowers individuals by handing them a degree of autonomy.
“Introducing a flexible working policy has not always been entirely straightforward, but advances in workplace technology have now made the process more streamlined than ever. Business leaders can make their office spaces responsive to the requirements of their flexible workforce, and collaborative technologies have made working together from multiple locations a real possibility. Employees have been calling for increasingly flexible working structures for a while, and the technology ensures that these measures are now not only possible, but productive.”