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Zoom-mania key to using tech to boost productivity

Tom Rees
·1-min read

The Government plans to build on Zoom-mania by drawing up policies to accelerate technology adoption to help solve Britain’s productivity puzzle.

Officials are understood to be exploring ways to revive companies’ lagging digital adoption rates amid hopes Covid-19 will force bosses to embrace productivity-boosting investments. Early stage discussions on policies for the autumn included new grants, tax incentives and educating smaller firms to help encourage tech adoption. 

Policymakers want to “double down on the success of the fact everyone uses Zoom now”, a source said.

“We’ve seen huge take-up of digital tools … the question is how to encourage that step further to embed this change in lots of small businesses,” said Dom Hallas, executive director of Coadec.

“They’re using Zoom to speak to their family but are they using the best tech in their businesses?” 

A third of small and medium-sized businesses have very low levels of digitisation, according to a report by The Entrepreneurs Network. It said firms could see huge boosts to productivity by embracing tech such as cloud computing, web-based accounting, e-commerce and customer-facing software.

A Treasury spokesman said: “We’re committed to supporting businesses to invest in technologies helping to boost productivity.” Economists have warned Britain is going through its worst productivity crisis for 250 years, suffering a “lost decade” since the financial crisis.