As discussed in my latest article for the Daily Mail, there’s been a run of positive news on the UK’s economic outlook recently, and things are finally looking up for businesses that have been struggling amidst the recession over the past few years.

However, hard times are not necessarily over and there is still room for improvement in UK businesses – not least when it comes to productivity.  We are now five per cent less productive than before the recession, and our workers are outputting 27 per cent less per hour than the UK’s international peers in the G7. Unless businesses themselves take steps to address falling productivity, it will be hard for the UK to regain its competitive edge.

We’ve recently done some research with the Centre for Economic and Business Research and found that 80 per cent of businesses say their staff still don’t have access to key business systems that would make their lives easier and more efficient. This lack of connectivity is only adding to poor productivity prevalent in UK businesses.

I think smarter working is one simple way for businesses to start turning round this issue. By smarter working I mean helping employees be connected and productive wherever they are by giving them access to technology like 4G, wifi, apps and smart devices. There are numerous examples of how even the smallest improvements in technology can boost output, helping businesses become more productive and improving the lives of hard-working employees.

The construction worker who uses mobile apps to eradicate needless journeys back to the office because he can fill out paperwork and get the job done at the point of need; or the nurse who leverages cloud technology to make better use of precious time spent between home and hospital.

The improvements that businesses make today will have a big impact on the UK’s ability to compete tomorrow. I hope that 2014 will be the year we see UK businesses make the most of the new, connected technology they have at their fingertips to build on their strengths and cement the economic recovery.

You can find out more about Smarter Working with O2 here

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