A new report reveals a worrying disconnect between UK leaders and workers when it comes to hybrid work.

A staggering 87 percent of IT leaders say they are investing to improve their business’ digital experience, however, only half of workers (50%) feel their employers are doing enough to improve hybrid work.

As a result of this, UK workers feel their productivity has suffered, with less than 9 hours a week spent on deep work by the average employee – just one working day out of five.

Instead, time is being spent trying to navigate silos and sitting in unnecessary meetings.

The ‘How Productivity Platforms Can Power Business Impact’ report from Slack, which surveyed 1,650 UK knowledge workers and 350 IT decision makers provides a snapshot on the state of hybrid work in the UK, identifying the barriers and opportunities to increase performance—from tackling inefficiencies caused by too many meetings to addressing a lack of meaningful connection between colleagues.

Driving more meaningful connections is key

One in three (33%) workers are concerned that their firms’ current approach to hybrid work has created greater silos and fragmentation of knowledge.

Many businesses are still struggling to create meaningful connections amongst employees and with the company itself. One in four employees (24%) report fewer ad hoc conversations taking place underlining the challenge businesses face in creating spontaneous opportunities for insights and knowledge to be shared across teams and the upskilling of more junior colleagues that used to take place as desk side conversations pre-pandemic.

This is an important issue for workers aged 18-34—who most value flexibility, but also have the highest proportion (34%) saying they are concerned about a lack of connection and opportunity to learn from senior coworkers.

Hybrid work: meetings are a threat to business productivity 

The majority (60%) of workers say that too many or unnecessary meetings are a significant time drain. In the UK, employees spend on average a whole working day each week (7 hours and 42 minutes) on meetings—either on video calls, face-to-face, or coordinating them. In contrast, just over 9 hours each week is spent on focussed deep work.

The situation has gotten worse for many since firms started to head back to the office, with 36 percent of employees reporting they spend more time on video calls now than 12 months ago. This may explain why more than one in three workers (34%) believe cutting down on meetings would boost productivity by giving them more time to focus on completing the work they were hired to do.

ITDMs identify technology as playing an important part in helping foster connectivity and overcoming these productivity killers. More than a quarter (27%) say moving away from the blunt instrument of 30-minute video meetings and replacing them with shorter quick audio-only meetings would make them more productive.

Automation will boost productivity, especially for hybrid work

Automation is in focus this year with almost one in two (47%) ITDMs saying that automating mundane and repetitive tasks will help boost productivity. Yet more needs to be done to help employees understand where this can be achieved, as just 27 percent of employees say the same.

With the average large company now using more than 1,000 different pieces of software, using technology to help streamline and automate simple processes such as automatically populating a monthly report offers significant time savings when done at scale. More education is needed to help employees understand how and where simple automation can be deployed.

Stuart Templeton, Head of UK at Slack comments:  

“This is the first time businesses have faced tough economic headwinds since the majority adopted hybrid work. It’s clear from our research that many are still navigating the transition and have significant opportunities to improve alignment, efficiency and productivity across their teams no matter where or when they work.

“Providing a good digital experience is critical to success in today’s digital-first world and it’s clear there’s a disconnect between IT leaders and employees on that front. Productivity platforms which connect and empower everyone with no-code automation and make it easier for people to find and share knowledge, are emerging as a source of major competitive advantage.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.