Businesses urged to make gains in productivity 

UK SMEs could gain back a working month every year by shaking their bad business habits, research finds.

With four out of five businesses owners admitting they are hampered by bad habits, creating new behaviours has the potential to transform productivity for business and unlock an extra hour every day, according to research by Sage One.

Sage’s survey of UK small business owners finds that failing to think about the bigger picture, leaving things until the last minute and striking a poor work-life balance tops the list as the habits most businesses would want to change.

Other common habits include not taking time for pastoral care, failing to pause for praise and celebration, not sharing information and not doing their accounts early enough.

With more than half (52 per cent) of respondents stating they would claim back up to an hour a day if they managed to shake their bad habits, and a further 14 per cent putting that figure at between one and two hours, British businesses could gain as much as one day a week if they were to shake their poor habits. This equates to a full working month every year that could be recouped to spend on other initiatives.

Related: Small businesses keen to hire but productivity questions remain

Nick Goode, general manager at Sage One says, ‘The freedom to think about the big picture and attain a healthy work-life balance go hand-in-hand, but both require the time and headspace that is a luxury to so many small businesses.’

The research suggests that many businesses just don’t know where to start when it comes to changing their habits and breaking routine. Around a third of respondents say they had never thought about how to change their habits and almost one in five (18 per cent) say their main reason for not changing their habits was the effort it takes to break a habit. 

A further 15 per cent say they wouldn’t even know what they would need to change.

Goode adds, ‘Most of us tend to be very self-aware when it comes to our attributes, skills and areas for development, but it’s clear this doesn’t always extend as far as the smaller things that could be making an impact.

‘Habits can become second nature to us, and once we have them they’re a hard nut to crack. But by making an effort to shift them and break routine, businesses can transform the way they work, take greater control and reclaim valuable time to spend on driving their business forward.’

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