Productivity declines as ‘most depressing day’ looms


UK production in all major sectors is shown to have declined from the previous month in the latest report by the Office for National Statistics. The Index of Production, released by the ONS on January 12, showed that overall production fell by 0.7% between October and November last year.


According to the report, there were decreases in all of the main sectors, with manufacturing, mining & quarrying and electricity & gas providing the largest contributions to the overall decrease in productivity. Overall manufacturing production declined by 0.4% over the month.


Total production had grown compared to the same month in 2014 however. Overall production in November 2015 was 0.9% higher than it had been in November 2014, with the biggest rise taking place in mining and quarrying (an increase of 10.5%). Manufacturing production had declined over the year however, production decreasing by 1.2% between November 2014 and November 2015. The biggest fall over that period was in the manufacture of machinery & equipment (a decrease of 13.7%).


The production figures were released just a week before so called ‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday in January, which has been described as the most depressing day of the year. These claims have been dismissed as pseudoscience but they have entered into the public consciousness and can provide a good opportunity to think about staff morale and pressures.


According to HR consultancy ELAS, around one in six employees will be affected by mental health issues or conditions related to stress over the course of the year. This equates to around 70 million working days lost annually.


For businesses that are struggling and may be close to a position requiring business recovery, improving productivity and staff morale can be vital. Some tips include instituting a pro-active and responsive programme to identify and provide help for workers with issues and considering flexible working options where appropriate.


By Phil Smith


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