Employee productivity is essential for any business, as it directly affects the success of the organization. By understanding the key statistics related to employee productivity, employers can better manage their workforce and make sure that their employees are productive and engaged.
This article will discuss some two dozen relevant employee productivity statistics that employers should know, starting with some historical stats that are the foundation of this field of study. We’ll then highlight some more recent stats to help you understand current employee productivity trends and how you might improve your employees’ output going forward.
Some important stats to remember:
- 63% of workers prefer work-life balance over higher pay
- Despite what companies may suggest, worker productivity has increased over 60% during the last half-century
- 42% of workers are doing other work while attending remote meetings—and having a “no meeting” day can increase productivity by 22%
Authoritative Historical Stats on Employee Productivity
1. A Good Employee Productivity Percentage is About 70% (Zippia)
Business operations employees and consultants often discuss employee productivity in terms of how much time each employee spends on revenue-producing activities during a workday. In general, businesses should look for about 70 to 75% productivity.
While there’s only anecdotal discussion of this, the idea is rooted in sports and means that an employee should spend 25% or less of their day on non-work activities. No individual can be expected to be focused and productive 100% of the time.
Learn more about managing employees and how to do it in our guide to employee management.
2. After an Interruption, It Takes Employees 25 Minutes to Refocus (University of California)
Every time an employee is interrupted, it takes them at least 25 minutes to refocus on their prior task. The study also found that if the interruption requires the employee to shift to a different task altogether, it reduces their IQ by at least 10 points, further hurting productivity.
3. Multitasking Reduces Productivity by 40% (American Psychological Association)
Many workers think they can multitask, constantly shifting from one task to another. In reality, this leads to extreme brain fatigue and a lack of focus on any specific task. When employees have so much work to do that they engage in multitasking, it actually reduces their overall productivity.
General Workplace Productivity
4. 63% of Workers Prefer Work-life Balance Over Higher Pay (FlexJobs)
While pay is vital to workers, work-life balance has emerged as supremely important to workers, so much so that they’ll take better balance over higher pay. For many workers, this means looking for new jobs that better fit their work-life balance needs.
5. Worker Productivity Has Increased by Over 60% Since 1979 (Economic Policy Institute)
Partly because of increases in productivity tools, worker productivity has increased substantially over the last few decades. However, over the same time period, wages have increased by less than 18%, partly contributing to the slower rate of employee productivity growth in recent years.
6. “No Meeting” Days Increase Productivity by 22% (MIT)
Over the last few years, many companies have introduced no meeting days, yet too many companies fail to properly adhere to these requirements. Enforcing “no meeting” days—whether you have just one day per week or more—increases focused work and productivity by 22% on those days. Reducing meetings to just one day per week substantially increases productivity and employee engagement.
Employee Stress & Productivity
7. 42% of Employees Multitask During Meetings (Microsoft)
More than 40% of all employees attending meetings remotely multitask during the meeting. They send emails, ping colleagues for updates, and even engage in active work. This shows the stress employees are under to complete their work—even while they should be attending a meeting and getting important information and updates. This could also mean that companies are simply having too many meetings in a remote environment.
8. Open Offices Increase Stress by 25% (Journal of Management & Organization)
Open offices were all the rage over the past couple of decades. However, studies show that open offices actually increase stress and reduce productivity.
The main reason is that distractions are much more prevalent in an open office environment—and these distractions become stressors, as it prevents employees from working at their best. While it’s not possible to give every employee a private or semi-private office, allowing flexible work options and reducing office distractions will increase productivity.
9. About 1 Million American Workers Miss Work Each Day Due to Stress (Zippia)
According to the research, 1 million American workers call out sick every single day because they’re stressed. Not only does this lead to reduced engagement but it decreases productivity (which increases a company’s costs). The more stressed workers are, the more likely they are to call out sick, further harming productivity.
10. 56% of Financially Stressed Employees Are Distracted at Work (PWC)
Workplace productivity can dip due to factors not directly related to work. When an employee has financial stress, they spend three hours or more per week dealing with or thinking about their personal finances, reducing productivity. Financially stressed employees are also twice as likely to look for a new job.
Technology & Productivity Tools
11. 80% of Employees Say a Positive Digital Experience Is Key to Success (1E)
According to the survey, 80% of employees think a positive digital experience, like automated processes and fully digital customer experiences, is vital to a company’s success. Further, 67% of surveyed employees said their digital experience was better outside of their workplace than inside.
12. 49% of Employees Experience Zoom Fatigue (Virtira)
Employees are exhausted by staring at screens all day, especially during virtual meetings. Employers often attempt to raise morale and productivity by hosting online happy hours or events, which actually increases the amount of fatigue employees experience. Video call pressures also lead to negative feelings, putting unnecessary stress on employees and making them feel anxious, reducing productivity.
13. AI Can Increase Employee Productivity by Nearly 14% (National Bureau of Economic Research)
Workers with access to an AI-based conversational assistant were 13.8% more productive than other employees. The employees using AI were able to resolve move issues per hour more than other colleagues without access to AI. The greatest increase in productivity was among newer and lower-skilled workers.
Time Management & Productivity
14. Meetings Have Increased by 153% Since 2020 (Microsoft)
Workers have not only seen their number of weekly meetings increase—they’re spending 252% more time in weekly meetings. This is a productivity killer and not a good tool for employee management. Evaluate your meeting schedule and be ruthless with cutting meeting time so that employees can focus on their actual work.
15. Employees Spend 60% of Their Time on Work “About Work” (Asana)
Much of this time is spent replying to emails, attending unnecessary meetings, waiting for responses from colleagues, searching for answers, and duplicating work. For just one employee, this amounts to almost 20 days of work per year on tasks about work, rather than actual work. Interestingly, according to the report, workers perceive they only spend about one-third of their workday on these types of tasks.
16. 54% of Workers Feel Overworked (Microsoft)
Whether at home or in the workplace, employees are trying hard to get all of their work done, but still feeling overworked. According to the same study, 39% of workers feel exhausted by their work, reducing overall productivity and efficiency.
Management & Productivity
17. 85% of Managers Say Hybrid Work Makes Them Question Employee Productivity (Microsoft)
Despite an increase in the number of hours worked and meetings attended, managers don’t seem to trust that their employees are working. In fact, only 12% of managers have full confidence their remote and hybrid teams are productive. This productivity paranoia adds to employee stress and can even lead to productivity theater, where employees act busy so their manager can “see” them working. This can actually lead to a reduction in productivity because employees are attempting to placate their managers.
18. 35% of Employees Say Their Bosses Stress Them Out (Korn Ferry)
These employees say when their boss stresses them out—usually from micromanaging them—they’re distracted from their work and less productive. According to a senior executive at Chegg, when management backed off their employees and trusted them to do their jobs, productivity increased and projects were completed ahead of schedule.
That doesn’t mean things will always stay the same, especially as employees struggle with a lack of social interaction—but micromanagement is seldom the answer.
Looking to improve your employee management process? Look to our guide to effective people management skills for more information.
19. 67% of Managers Track Performance Through Productivity (Cornell University)
Too many managers today aren’t aligned with employees on how to track performance, as evidenced by this study showing that just half of employees feel productivity is a good measure of their performance. Managers overwhelmingly prefer to track an employee’s performance based on their productivity rather than their output or efficiency. Related, a lack of perceived employee privacy—usually from tracking employee behavior on their computers—leads to higher stress levels in employees, reducing productivity.
Employee Well-being & Productivity
20. 84% of Workers Say Remote or Hybrid Work Makes Them Happier (FlexJobs)
Happy employees make for productive employees. By offering hybrid work where possible, employers may see increased productivity because their workforce is happier and more engaged. In an older study from SHRM, when employers prioritize employee wellness, they see an ROI of $1.50 for every dollar invested in an employee wellness program.
21. 64% of Workers Find It Easier to Balance Work & Personal Life Remotely (Pew)
Working from home and remotely has made it much easier for workers to balance their work and personal lives. However, 60% of employees also say they feel less connected to their colleagues now compared to working in an office full time.
22. Taking Breaks Increases Productivity (Plos One)
Employees who take short breaks of about 10 minutes, whether working in an office or from home, increase productivity. While it sounds counterintuitive, getting up from your desk gives a person about 60% better odds of feeling energized.
Especially for workers who are traditionally in front of a computer and at a desk all day, little breaks can have a massive impact. The ideal pattern, according to the study, is to work for about 90 minutes, followed by a 20- to 30-minute break, along with micro-breaks in the middle of a working stretch.
23. Engaged Employees Are 81% Less Likely to Call Out Sick (Gallup)
Engaged employees show up to work, resulting in 81% less absenteeism. According to this study, that also leads to a 14% increase in productivity over less engaged workers. Companies with engaged employees also see 18% lower turnover, keeping morale high and reducing costs to hire.
How to Calculate Worker Productivity
Worker productivity is typically calculated by measuring the output produced per unit of labor input. This can be done using the following formula:
Worker Productivity = Output / Labor Input
Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculating worker productivity:
- Determine the Output: Output refers to the quantity of goods or services produced within a specific timeframe. This could be the number of items manufactured, the revenue generated, or any other relevant measure that reflects the work completed.
- Determine the Labor Input: Labor input is the amount of work contributed by employees during the same period as the output measurement. This can be measured in various ways, such as the total number of hours worked, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, or the total labor cost.
- Calculate Worker Productivity: Divide the output by the labor input to obtain the worker productivity value. The resulting figure represents the average productivity of an employee during the specified time frame.
For example, let’s say a company produces 10,000 units in a month, and its employees have worked 2,000 hours. Using the formula mentioned above, the worker productivity would be:
Worker Productivity = 10,000 units / 2,000 hours
Worker Productivity = 5 units per hour
This means that, on average, each employee at the company produces five units per hour. Productivity can be influenced by numerous factors, including employee skill level, resources available, and work environment.
It’s important to note that using this formula is a great place to start, but should not be all you consider. Establishing a baseline of productivity is important, but make sure you’re not pulling some unreasonable expectation out of thin air. Using this calculation can be one way to help you establish a baseline as you grow your business.
There are many factors that go into employee productivity, and some of them are not easily calculated. Make sure you’re effectively managing your employee engagement—and your worker productivity will naturally fall in line.
In business, staying ahead of the curve is vital to your success. Unlock the full potential of your small business by investing in employee productivity strategies that address these statistics. Take action today to propel your company forward, ensuring long-term success and sustainability.