Yesterday, 20th June was World Productivity Day, in which for two successive years people across the globe celebrate productivity grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic which is devastating the socio-economic and labour market systems. This year, the World Productivity Day should give us (government, business, labour, academia, and civil society) as participants in the economic and labour market systems the opportunity to renew our social compact and to collectively take up responsibility to find more efficient ways to do better and boost productivity growth (which is a driver of sustained competitiveness and inclusive growth), if we are to survive the devastation brought about by the pandemic.
During the period under the lockdown since March 2020, many organisations have adapted their business models. The world of work has become more flexible with the move to a remote work model, which is challenging many of our preconceived notions on productivity.
Indeed, many countries have reviewed their economic models and systems to survive during and post the pandemic and, many organisations have adapted to the new ways of doing business to remain competitive and sustainable. With an increasing number of countries implementing economic recovery plans, many organisations adapting to the “new way of doing business”, and employees now accustomed to no commute times and a better work life balance, the move to a new hybrid ‘work from anywhere’ model looks set to stay. With a mix of home and office working, the World Productivity Day has once again taken on a new significance.
For most countries in the developing world, this is the time to learn and introduce Productivity and Quality Enhancement Initiatives to overcome some of the challenges we are facing, which include to a large scale the growth of working age population and the limited capacity of job creation, the knowledge and skills limitation of entrepreneurs and SMMEs that hamper their development to play the historical role observed in emerging economies, as well as low quality of products and productivity causing high cost of production and negatively affecting the competitiveness of companies in global market.
It is during World Productivity Day that we should impress it upon our youth who have taken up the challenge to become entrepreneurs and industrialists that, it is through productivity enhancement that we can modernise South African industries, create productive and decent workplaces, improve quality and productivity, develop skills of management and workers, and expand investment thereby preserving existing jobs and creating additional job opportunities.
Mothunye Mothiba, CEO