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WORKPLACE PROCRASTINATION COSTS BRITISH BUSINESSES £76 BILLION A YEAR

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Bussiness
  • Research reveals the average worker wastes 43 minutes per day procrastinating during working hours

A ground-breaking new report from the UK’s leading peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, has for the first time revealed the hidden cost of procrastination. It has found that £76 billion is lost by British businesses each year due to procrastinating employees, the equivalent of nearly a tenth(8%) of national debt.[1]

RateSetter’s report – the ‘Great British Procrasti-nation’ – based on a YouGov survey of over 2000 adults, uncovers that the average Brit spends a staggering 218 minutes procrastinating per day, adding up to 55 daysof lost time each year.

Of this procrastination time, the average person spends 43 minutes procrastinating at work each day, equating to nearly 10% of the average 7.5 hour working day and adding up to a significant 3 hours 35 minutes per working week. As a result, British businesses are failing to get full value from their employees.

Launching on National Sickie Day, this new research highlights the cumulative costs being absorbed by British businesses. Latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions calculated that half a million Britons are off work sick every day, costing £100 billion a year.[2] But this figure doesn’t take into account those additional hours spent unproductively by workers playing Candy Crush or on Facebook Chat during their working day, a much more difficult habit to monitor and curb.

Commenting on the results, Rhydian Lewis, Founder and CEO of RateSetter, said: “The idea behind this research was our observation that many people across the nation are unhappy with the way they manage their finances, yet do nothing to resolve it.

Bussiness“This led us to start looking at how and why people procrastinate. We never imagined we’d see such shocking results, and as a business owner myself it’s rather enlightening, showing that it’s not just individuals who are suffering from their procrastination, but the knock on effect this is having on businesses.

“In particular the results are concerning for the increasing tranche of small start-up companies in the Britain which are unlikely to be able to afford to absorb the cost of this wasted time, and whose profitability and success many hang in the balance.”

RateSetter itself promotes a culture where proactivity is rewarded and encouraged. Indeed this ethos last year led to record growth for the company, which became the first peer-to-peer lender to turn a profit, and overtook rivals to become the largest P2P lender in 2014, ultimately helping to double the growth of the industry as a whole.

The cost of work-based procrastination doesn’t just impact on businesses but on the individuals themselves, with one in five people (21%) admitting that if they stopped procrastinating they would enjoy a better work-life balance.

A further quarter of Britons (24%) admit that they procrastinate over their personal finances, despite 17% believing they would be in a better financial position if they didn’t. Whilst over half the nation’s (53%) money sits in a savings account, nearly a third (30%) of people claim to be dissatisfied with this method.

For these reasons RateSetter is today launching a #MakeTodayPay campaign – aimed at encouraging people to kick their procrastination habits and start taking small actions to make a difference to their lives – be it getting more returns for their money or a better work-life balance.

[1]In order to calculate our figure of £76 billion we used data from the ONS on full and part time workersalong with data from our own survey of the British Public conducted by polling agency YouGov.  According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the average (mean) gross weekly pay in Great Britain is £504.00.  The same survey found that average (mean) weekly hours worked is 33.2.  Our YouGov survey found that the average person spends 43 minutes per day procrastinating at work – a total of 3 hours 35 minutes per week.  Dividing the  average hourly pay of £15.18 by 60 (minutes) and multiplying it by 43 (minutes), the cost of procrastination per day reaches £10.88. Multiplying this by 233 (the number of days worked per annum, excluding weekends and statutory holiday) the time spent wasted gives us a total cost of procrastinated time of £2,535.04 per person per annum. ONS employment figures for Great Britain show that 29,976,000 people were in paid employment August-October 2014.  Multiplying the working population by £2,535.04 gives us our figure of £76 billion.

[2]http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2558263/Half-million-Britons-work-sick-day-cost-100bn-year-government-launches-new-service-allowing-bosses-send-absent-staff-health-checks.html

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism 1

By Noah Browning

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices were steady on Monday as support from U.S. stimulus plans and jitters about supplies competed with worries about demand due to renewed lockdowns to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Brent crude futures for March rose 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $55.48 a barrel by 1210 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March was up 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $52.32.

“Sentiment was buoyed by expectations for a blockbuster coronavirus relief package … (but) the tug of war between stimulus optimism and virus woes is set to continue,” said Stephen Brennock of broker PVM.

U.S. lawmakers are set to lock horns over the size of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package proposed by new President Joe Biden, financial stimulus that would support the economy and fuel demand.

European nations, major consumers, have imposed tough restrictions to halt the spread of the virus, while China reported a rise in new COVID-19 cases, casting a pall over demand prospects in the world’s largest energy consumer.

Barclays raised its 2021 oil price forecasts, but said rising cases in China could contribute to near-term pullbacks.

“Even though the pandemic is not yet slowing down, oil prices have good reasons to start the week with gains,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen from Rystad Energy.

Supply concerns have offered some support. Indonesia said its coast guard seized an Iranian-flagged tanker over suspected illegal fuel transfers, raising the prospect of more tensions in the oil-exporting Gulf.

“A development that always benefits prices is the market turbulence that conflicts create,” Tonhaugen added.

Libyan oil guards halted exports from several main ports in a pay dispute on Monday.

Output from Kazakhstan’s giant Tengiz field was disrupted by a power outage on Jan. 17.

(Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair)

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump 2

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar steadied, the euro slipped and riskier currencies remained strong on Monday, as currency markets were torn between optimism about U.S. stimulus plans, and the reality of slow vaccine rollout and the economic impact of lockdowns in Europe.

Market sentiment had turned more cautious at the end of last week as European economic data showed that lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of the virus hurt business activity, dragging stocks lower.

The safe-haven dollar declined gradually overnight, and riskier currencies strengthened. It then recovered some losses after European markets opened, and was at 90.224 against a basket of currencies at 1152 GMT, flat on the day.

On one hand, market sentiment is supported by hopes for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plans, as well as the expectation that central banks will continue to provide liquidity.

But, in Europe, the extent of the risk appetite was limited by a lack of progress in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine as well the economic impact of lockdown measures.

German business morale slumped to a six-month low in January, surprising market participants who had expected the survey to show a rise.

“It’s very much a case of hopes for the future against the reality of the first quarter of this year which is going to still prove to be fairly troubled,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

“For now at least, the optimism that we’re hoping for has been somewhat delayed and that has taken a little bit of steam out of the euro and just put a little bit of support back in the dollar but ultimately I think it is still a case of those high-beta commodity currencies, reflation currencies, will continue to perform well,” he said.

Analysts expect a broad dollar decline during 2021. The net speculative short position on the dollar grew to its largest in ten years in the week to Jan. 19, according to weekly futures data from CFTC released on Friday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to signal that he has no plans to wind back the Fed’s massive stimulus any time soon – news which could push the dollar down further.

“The process of tapering QE is likely to be a gradual process which could last throughout 2022, and then potentially be followed by the first rate hikes later in 2023,” wrote MUFG currency analyst Lee Hardman.

“In these circumstances, we continue to believe that it is premature to expect the US dollar to rebound now in anticipation of policy tightening ahead, and still see scope for further weakness this year,” he said.

The euro was down around 0.1% against the dollar, at $1.2153 at 1207 GMT. At the European Central Bank meeting last week, President Christine Lagarde said the bank was closely watching the euro. The euro surged 9% last year versus the dollar and reached new two and a half year highs earlier in January.

But despite this verbal intervention, traders remain bullish on the euro, expecting the bar for a rate cut to be high.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar, which is seen as a liquid proxy for risk, was up 0.2% at 0.7726 versus the U.S. dollar at 1208 GMT.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.5%, while the commodity-driven Norwegian crown was up 0.2% the euro.

The safe-haven Japanese yen was flat on the day at 103.815 versus the U.S. dollar.

Graphic: USD, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qmypmyjdxpr/USD.png

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Ed Osmond and Chizu Nomiyama)

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Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn

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Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn 3

(Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd on Monday warned passenger capacity could be cut by about 60% and monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong installs new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.

Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.

“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.

The airline, in an internal memo seen by Reuters, requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation.

“We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.

In an emailed response to Reuters, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said: “In the light of the evolving pandemic situation locally and internationally, the Government will keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted persons, including air crew, with reference to all relevant considerations.”

Separately, a company spokeswoman said the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.

In December, Cathay’s passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Bernard Orr, Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)

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