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Blog Post By Brendan Perring

Shall we break early for lunch?

As I sit penning this missive dear reader the cold grip of winter is inexorably strengthening. I tinker with old cars in my spare time, and this weekend I was wearing three layers, gloves, and hat to continue my hobby. And it seems that not only is our climate cold and sluggish, but so too is our productivity growth as a nation.

The last decade has seen our productivity plateau following a steep upward rise that began in 1950. Our European neighbours are not experiencing the same slow down. On the contrary, they have continued to keep their climb almost vertical. Indeed, research from the Bank of England shows that only 1 percent of British companies have seen average annual productivity growth of a healthy 6 percent.

The last decade has seen our productivity plateau following a steep upward rise that began in 1950

Some evidence to answer what is causing this trend was recently published by The Economist, which startlingly unearthed data from Amazon and Enterprise Nation that states one fifth of British SMEs still use faxes to sell their products and services! I hate exclamation marks, but I thought it was genuinely deserved for once. In fact, since 2010 the UK has imported £10m worth of fax machines. Not only that, but according to the same figures, some £60m worth of floppy disks, Mini Disks, and cassettes were also imported last year. On top of that, Common Time recently published statistics on this area that included the finding that the NHS uses one tenth of the global stock of pagers.

In contrast, on a recent trip to Hong Kong I was astounded by the level of efficiency and productivity that is being driven by the comprehensive use and standardisation of the latest technology. For example, you can buy food from street vendors, pay for a session at the gym, or get on a train using just one ‘Dolphin card’. Also, 4G wireless internet connectivity is provided by the Government free across the region.

So, it would seem that we need to get our house in order, and please, if you are still using a fax machine, then seriously consider updating your operation.

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