How can SMEs boost productivity?

The best way for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost workplace productivity is to offer more flexible working opportunities to employees, a new study suggests.

Research carried out by leading high street bank HSBC suggests that SME employees favour flexible working over financial incentives.

When employees were asked what they thought would motivate them most in terms of boosting their productivity levels, 89 per cent said that they would like increased access to flexible working opportunities.

This is in comparison with 77 per cent who said that financial incentives would boost their productivity the most.

HSBC’s study found that SMEs operating in the professional services sector appeared to be more attuned to the benefits of flexible and remote working.

It found that 36 per cent of professional services employees were currently making good use of flexible working, and that productivity was strong as a result.

In comparison, productivity was found to be lowest in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with almost a quarter (24 per cent) of workers claiming their employer did not offer them any benefits, incentives or perks of any kind.

Amanda Murphy, of HSBC UK, said: “Our research shows that for an overwhelming number of workers, a more flexible way of working is more motivating than financial incentives.

“Today’s workforce want a better balance between their work and home lives and the companies that are recognising and making provision for this are creating happier and more productive workplaces, which in turn is translating to the bottom line.”