The two unspoken productivity killers

Posted by Chauntelle Rakebrandt on 6th September 2023

I was asked to be a guest on the ABC Melbourne radio show The Conversation Hour last week. This was off the back of a video blog done by the ABC finance presenter Alan Kohler on productivity growth. He talked about the fact that productivity growth has been declining in Australia for decades. This was highlighted in a recent report delivered to government by the Productivity Commission.

His main point was that this report outlined many causes of this decline in productivity growth, but it failed to mention two key causes that dramatically impact productivity in the corporate workplace – emails and meetings.

This is so true. Now I know that the government looks at productivity from a macro-perspective, and they are not just looking at corporate, knowledge worker workplaces. They are looking at the things like unit labour costs in the manufacturing sector, compared to the output achieved. But you cannot ignore the massive impact on productivity experienced by millions of workers every week when they are faced with a deluge of emails and a constant stream of back-to-back meetings.

I passionately believe this is an issue that every leader needs to address for their teams. If every leader could reduce the volume of email noise their team was expected to deal with and reduced the amount of time they had to spend in ineffective meetings, productivity has to increase. That is not to say that emails or meetings are a bad thing. They are tools that need to be used in a purposeful and mindful way.

So, have a think about what you could do to reduce email noise and meeting ineffectiveness for your team. They will thank you for it, and the whole country will see a benefit! How cool is that?

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