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Only 8% of companies regularly monitor their productivity levels, while factors such as absenteeism, fun in the workplace and cost of staff turnover are frequently overlooked.

More than a third (38%) of companies admit they don’t know their productivity levels while 32% believe it is less important to monitor than the bottom line, according to a study by BrightHR.

Industries most in the dark are: education, sales, media and marketing and professional services.

Employers believe the biggest ‘time-wasters’ - or drains - on team productivity are HR administration (31%), office politics (29%) and fun and play in the workplace (28%). On the contrary, there is proof to indicate play at work helps boost employees’ mental well-being as well making the team more productive.

Moreover, more than a quarter of businesses (28%) believe that fun and play in the workplace reduce productivity more than administration tasks (24%) absenteeism/sick leave (16%), staff training (14%) and lateness (8%).

Author and productivity expert Graham Allcott, said:

“We live in an age where, in theory, productivity should be booming, but in the UK at least, it’s been flat-lining for a decade. Technology affords us so many exciting ways to improve productivity, whether it’s through software to automate or make tasks easier, the ability to work flexibly from home, or the opportunities provided by the information age and global connectedness. But there is also a downside, which many businesses just don’t see or mitigate.”

“Many workers feel like the boundaries between work and life are blurring, that they’re required to check email constantly no matter what time of day or night, or that they’re being monitored and micro-managed. So creating a culture of trust, where people can feel engaged to have fun at work and participate in constantly improving productivity has never been more vital.”

The relationship between wellbeing at work, productivity and low rates of absenteeism is well established and 90% of those surveyed either strongly agree/agree that a good relationship with employees has a positive effect on productivity.

Only 4% of all business owners surveyed cite a willingness to have fun with colleagues.

This research highlights the positive impact workplace fun has on staff morale, creativity and productivity - ultimately, boosting the bottom line through reduced absence, enhanced levels of creativity and higher productivity. It points to an interesting link between absenteeism and fun in the workplace: 62% of employees who had no sick days in the last three months experienced some form of fun in the workplace. In comparison, 58% of people who hadn’t experienced workplace fun had been off sick 11 or more days, equating to 42% of those who had experienced workplace fun.

“Culture doesn’t just happen”, continues Allcott, “It needs nurturing, and business leaders need to do everything possible to reduce distractions and think more creatively about how to reduce the low-value tasks to make the space for what really matters.”

But the majority of business owners surveyed take a simplistic view of employee engagement and its relation to productivity, with almost two-thirds (63%) believing that the top attribute of an engaged employee is being fully committed to achieving results.

Paul Tooth, co-founder & CEO of BrightHR, said: “It’s alarming to find that so many British businesses simply don’t measure productivity, and more than this, they are in the dark about the real business benefits of it…It goes without saying that the more engaged workers are, the more productive they will be.”

Businesses need to realise that having fun at work raises staff morale and lowers absenteeism, ultimately raising productivity and profitability.