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Competitive edge helps boost office productivity

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Whether businesses operate from a serviced office, have a team of mobile workers or allow their employees to use hot-desking, success often hinges on the efforts of employees on the front line.

Workers can be the biggest asset a company or organisation has – they are the individuals who put in the hard yards each day, dealing with customers and driving sales.

As such, it is essential that employees are sufficiently motivated to work to their best – this is the only way high levels of productivity and increased output can be achieved.

And as businesses seek to get the most out of their staff, a little competitiveness can go a long way.

Research published to coincide with the launch of this year’s National Business Awards in partnership with Orange found that 60 per cent of people believe healthy competition brings out the best in people.

Of those UK workers surveyed, almost four in ten said they enjoy a competitive environment at work and over half said they would like to feel part of a winning business.

And with this in mind, it appears many businesses are missing a trick. Just 30 per cent of interviewees said competitiveness is encouraged in their workplace.

One man well known for having that all-important edge is Steve Backley, the Olympic javelin thrower turned business motivator.

He commented that competition is “the heart of all performance”.

“If we are striving for a greater level of performance then there is no better way of encouraging that than to promote a competitive environment,” Backley stated.

“It is something that I encourage, promote and endorse in every industry.”

The throwing legend said there is something in competition that “just releases that inner behaviour that allows us to perform more effectively”.

“If you take competition completely out of the equation it promotes apathy, complacency – all those non-performance words,” Backley added.

“What we want is motivated people with a clear vision of exactly where they want to go, with belief and a dream and – if it goes wrong – who get straight back in and make it all happen.”

Those are the performance attributes that come out of a competitive environment, he stated.

“Competition is a great place to start to ignite a little bit of motivation,” Backley claimed.

He said business leaders should look at their industry rivals and compare performance, feeding back their findings to employees.

“There are a number of ways of measuring performance and then relating that to other organisations and making that competitive,” Backley noted.

“The key is communicating it: ‘Right we’re fourth or fifth in terms of output, let’s get in the top three, when we get in the top three we want to climb up to the very top position’ – that kind of competitiveness invites the behaviour in the individuals within that organisation to gain that motivation which is so needed.”