Quality Over Quantity Needed For The British Economy

With the UK slipping back into recession and recent studies finding that bank holidays cost the economy billions, there were many hinting at scrapping our public holidays. This article discusses the merits of this argument, as well as offering a variety o

Whilst many of us were enjoying the 4-day Easter Weekend, rather alarming research was published stating that bank holidays in the UK were the reason behind slow growth of the economy in 2011’s 2nd quarter.

Researchers at the CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research) worked out that last year’s bank holidays cost the British economy £19 billion, with the Royal Wedding further compounding this, by accounting for a £1.3 billion loss - despite bringing in millions in tourism. The part of the economy most affected by bank holidays are the 47% including offices, factories and construction; whereas a smaller 14% portion that includes restaurants, hotels and retails benefit from our bank holiday indulgences, with increases in sales of DIY products, short breaks and leisure activities.

Thankfully at the end of their findings, they revealed that it was having so many Bank Holidays within a small period of time that cost the economy so much, and not necessarily the fact that we have them. Within the space of a month the UK enjoyed 4 bank holidays, meaning a fifth of working hours had been lost in the month, with many taking annual leave to bridge the days off too. A sigh of relief for many of us worried that our bank holidays might be set to disappear.

For those tempted to propose a limit on our bank holidays, it is important to consider the fact that countries like France and Germany enjoy a greater GDP, despite working considerably fewer hours than their British counterparts. Given this, you have to then ask yourself the question, are British businesses optimised sufficiently? And if not, where can there be changes made?

Measures like ensuring managers are able to get the most out of their staff is the most obvious piece of advice, but its far easier said than done. With the swathes of information available, it would be wrong of me to oversimplify such an art, but it’s worth noting that effective management can be worth volumes to a company and should be heavily invested in. And don't forget that if the employees looking forward to coming to work, or at the very least not dreading it, improvements will be seen.

When looking into optimising a business, having the latest technology is a factor that needs your consideration. A great example of this is computers – with newer models they will be quicker, easier to use and most likely fitted with more safety features to prevent disruptions to employees. Time should be saved and staff happier as they will have the best tools for the job. Printers are a similar consideration with print management solutions saving businesses typically 10-25% in print costs.

Allowing members of staff to work from home is potentially another way to streamline your business. Utilising the latest technology such as video conferencing, or even simply allowing members of staff to work from home can help cut costs; thus meaning less expense and to be charged to the company, with considerably less overheads for the second option. An additional by-product of these methods is as staff travel less, a business can claim to be more environmentally friendly, .

Of course these measures will mean that the businesses are cutting costs and not spending as much within the UK. However, it is steps like these that will force business to become streamlined, which can only be a good thing in the long return.

Sources

Dynamic Workplace Solutions http://www.dynamicworkflow.co.uk/cost-reduction.php

CEBR http://www.cebr.com/?p=824

My Finances http://www.myfinances.co.uk/cut-your-bills/2012/04/10/bank-holidays-cost-uk-economy-19bn-a-year

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17155304

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