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The Latest Employee Productivity Statistics (Updated 2024)

Do employee productivity statistics show staff are as productive as possible, or is there room fo...

J.R. Johnivan
Business and HR Tech Journalist
Contributing Experts
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15 Best Employee Rewards Programs (2024)

Even the best managers sometimes struggle to maximize their workers' productivity. Incentivizing day-to-day tasks is one way to tackle the issue, while technology such as time-tracking software, performance management systems, and employee monitoring tools help quantify team and individual productivity.

Is the modern workforce regularly outperforming expectations? Are managers happy with current levels of productivity, or are employee efforts falling short?

The employee productivity statistics we present below point to a workplace culture more concerned with being busy than productive.

15+ Important Employee Productivity Statistics

  • Over half of employees report being relatively unproductive at work.
  • Employees were 8 mins/day more productive in the first half of 2023 than in the second half.
  • The workday got 15% shorter from Q1 2021 to Q4 2023, with workers finishing their tasks in less time.
  • Nearly 90% of working Americans get distracted at least once daily, and almost 1 in 4 are interrupted more than six times per workday.
  • Studies into productivity found that checking communication channels (like Slack and email) and attending unimportant meetings are the most prevalent distractions reported by remote workers. If we can overcome these productivity barriers, the U.S. economy stands to gain $1.4 trillion.
  • After checking Slack or email, it takes a person over 23 minutes to regain focus on their primary task. Despite this, knowledge workers check their communication channels every six minutes, on average.
  • 80% of employees agree that a strong digital experience is a driving factor in the long-term success of their company.
  • Open-plan offices increase negative mood by 25% and physiological stress by 34%.
  • 42% of employees admit to multitasking during staff meetings.
  • 87% of hybrid workers agree they are productive every day.
  • 85% of organizational leaders find it more challenging to gauge productivity in a hybrid work environment.
  • 43% of employees indicate that their company collects employee feedback annually.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) can boost productivity by almost 14%.
  • Employees who feel obligated to work after-hours register 20% lower productivity scores than those who log off at the end of the standard workday.
  • Workers who regularly take breaks have 13% higher productivity.
  • Most workers agreed more than two hours a day for meetings is too much.
  • Employees consider 71% of time spent in meetings as unproductive.
  • 60% of an employee’s time at work is spent on work about work—activities you do throughout the day that aren’t what you were hired to do.
  • 71% of organizational leaders feel pressure from executives to strengthen employee productivity.
  • An organization with 100 employees has an average of three worker absences per day, while a company with 500 workers has 15 daily absences.

How Does Employee Productivity Affect Profitability?

Generally speaking, managers serve as a bridge between the workforce and the company owner, CEO, or other executives. When it comes time for a manager to report on their team’s productivity, a significant consideration is how their output translates into profitability.

  • Globally, disengaged employees cause $8.8 trillion in lost productivity every year.
  • U.S. employers lose anywhere from $483 to $605 billion annually due to lost productivity.
  • During an 8-hour workday, the average employee only spends 4 hours and 12 minutes actively working. 
  • 47% of workers cite surfing the internet as their top off-task behavior.
  • 45% of workers cite checking social media as the second most prevalent distraction, and 44% cite breaking out their cell phones as the third.
  • Workers spend an average of 1 hour and 5 minutes reading news during the workday.
  • Teams that are highly engaged are 23% more profitable than their disengaged counterparts.
  • Overall worker productivity has jumped over 60% since 1979.

How Does Job Satisfaction Affect Employee Productivity?

According to the old adage, happy workers are productive workers. These days there are plenty of solutions for keeping the workforce content, including employee recognition software.

But how (and to what extent) do employee experience and job satisfaction influence a person’s output? And, if the objective is improved productivity, what part does employee recognition play?

The Importance of Where We Work to Productivity

  • The most productive workers tend to work in companies with higher tech adoption and a generous amount of flexibility in when or where they work (60%)—28% more than those who say they are less productive.
  • 63% of current workers prefer a better work-life balance as opposed to better pay.
  • 64% of employees believe it’s easy to achieve the optimal work-life balance in a remote environment.
  • In an SSR survey, 30.20% of respondents said they would take a mediocre job over their dream opportunity if it meant they could live within two minutes of their workplace.
  • 65% would rather work 100% remotely.
  • 32% prefer to work in a hybrid workplace.
  • 45% of remote workers save at least $5,000 compared to working in the office.
  • 84% believe a remote or hybrid job would make them happier in their personal lives.
  • 77% believe working from home helps them manage mental health issues.
  • 60% of employees feel that working from home has made them feel less connected to their co-workers.
  • 93% of remote workers agree that work-life boundaries are important.
  • Research found that when a worker's environmental sound level was above 50 decibels, each 10-decibel increase was related to a 1.9% decrease in physiological well-being. However, when office sound was lower than 50 decibels, each 10-decibel increase related to a 5.4% increase in physiological well-being.

How Productive Are New Employees?

New employees are often given a grace period to acclimate themselves to their new role before their output is expected to be on par with seasoned colleagues. But what are fair managerial expectations regarding the lag between employee orientation and optimal productivity?

  • Companies with a positive structured onboarding program result in employees being 18 times more committed to the company and 38% more effective at their job.
  • 36% of employers don’t have any sort of structured onboarding process for new hires.
  • 81% of managers believe it takes 6 months and over for the new hires to be 100% productive.
  • Approximately 20% of employees had a poor employee onboarding experience (or none at all) for their current role.

Correlations Between Employee Engagement and Productivity

Employee engagement describes the connection felt between individual staff members and their day-to-day responsibilities, colleagues, and managers. Those who feel greater levels of engagement tend to experience higher productivity levels than those who are disengaged. However, this doesn’t paint a full picture of the relationship between employee engagement and productivity.

  • Workers who are consistently engaged over time have the best performance.
  • When organizations are highly effective at designing a positive employee experience, they are 1.6x more likely to report high overall organizational performance.
  • Actively disengaged employees account for approximately $1.9 trillion in lost productivity in the U.S. Estimates suggest that only 33% of employees are actively engaged.
  • 1 in 3 employees find it challenging to stay motivated, and almost 30% have a hard time keeping their focus.
  • 68% of managers believe their people’s wellbeing is the same or better compared to 12 months ago. Meanwhile, 45% of employees say their well-being is worse in the same period.
  • Full-time workers working less than 40 hours show significantly higher rates of engagement and overall well-being and lower psychosocial risk and rates of burnout, compared to those working 40+ hours.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 workers (87%) believe they would be more productive if they worked their desired number of days at home rather than five days at the office per week.
Correlations between burnout and productivity

Why Aren’t More Employees Engaged at Work?

  • Nearly half of respondents to a recent Slack survey say they don’t feel more productive now compared with before the pandemic. Their top reasons were lacking support from their manager and having too many crises or chaos at work on their plates.
  • 98% of HR professionals have experienced burnout in the past six months, with 88% dreading work.
  • According to McLean & Company’s HR Trends Report 2024, only 47% of employees are satisfied with the total compensation received. Over 40% said work-related stress remains a problem.
  • 41% of Americans report they feel underpaid.
  • 1 in 3 employees don't feel valued at work.
  • More than other generations, Gen Z wants to have their voices heard. Yet, less than half surveyed say their boss helps them maintain a healthy workload, and 28% say they struggle with their mental health because of their boss.
  • One-third of workers state they don't have someone at work who encourages their professional development.
  • Only 32% of workers say they trust senior leaders at their organizations.
  • 23% of respondents in a recent InHerSight poll say they have felt a decline in their employer’s support for them personally in the past six months.
Diversity investment 2023

Does Employee Retention Affect Productivity?

Organizations with high turnover rates often find it difficult to meet quotas, deadlines, and obligations. Conversely, those who are able to retain talented workers are better equipped to minimize productivity losses.

  • Between 3 and 4.5 million workers quit their jobs monthly.
  • It takes a new employee an estimated one to two years to reach the productivity of an existing employee.
  • Approximately 20% of all employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment which negates the cost and time associated with recruiting them.
  • 69% of workers are likely to stay with their company for three years after undergoing a positive and productive onboarding program.
  • Nearly 10 times as many people quit at their one-year mark of employment versus the five-year mark.
  • 79% of current employees are likely to look for a new job after experiencing just one bad day at work.
  • U.S. employers spend $2.9 million per day ($1.1 billion annually) looking for replacement employees
  • 63.3% of employers believe it’s harder to retain employees than it is to hire new ones.
  • 81% of organizations agree that “turnover is a costly problem”.
  • 79.3% of small businesses say that turnover is detrimental to their organizational growth.
  • 78.6% of small businesses believe that turnover has a negative impact on day-to-day productivity.
  • States with the highest turnover rates include Kentucky (2.92%), Arizona (2.75%), and Tennessee (2.72%).
  • States with the lowest turnover rates include New York (1.21%), Connecticut (1.26%) and Massachusetts (1.27%).

Are Healthy Employees More Productive?

In theory, coming to work despite feeling unwell is good for company productivity, but presenteeism (when employees come to work instead of prioritizing their recovery) has proven to have a negative effect on productivity.

Sick workers affect productivity negatively. This is due to their own performance and absence, but also their effect on the productivity and attendance of their colleagues in the case of contagious health issues such as the flu. Generally speaking, to achieve optimal productivity, employee health is critical.

  • Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for more than three-quarters of all such losses and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses.
  • Staff with unhealthy diets were 66% more likely to report having a drop in productivity.
  • Employees who had difficulty exercising during the day were 96% more likely to have increased productivity loss.
  • 30 to 40 is the age group that is most likely to suffer productivity loss.
  • Poor employee wellbeing costs $322 billion in lost turnover and productivity globally each year.
  • Employees who aren’t thriving at their job experience a 61% higher likelihood of burnout, 48% higher likelihood of daily stress, and 66% higher likelihood of daily worry.
  • Only about 25% of American workers believe their organization cares about their health and wellbeing.
  • 46.1% of companies say obesity impacts productivity and the ability to complete job functions and increases mobility challenges in the workplace (43.5%).
  • Absenteeism costs employers $82.3 billion each year, with presenteeism making up for an additional $160.3 billion.
  • Extreme heat is projected to cause over $4 trillion in lost productivity annually by 2030.
  • High temperatures have a negative effect on workplace productivity in terms of work accuracy. The older and less skilled the workers are, the more their productivity is affected by high temperatures.
  • When temperatures rise above 27°C (80°F) in workplaces requiring manual labor, productivity drops by as much as 4%/degree.
  • A 1-degree increase in the 10-day temperature average raises the probability that a worker will be absent by as much as 5%.
  • A wet-bulb temperature over 28°C can reduce productivity by 5.8%.
  • 52% of employees are struggling with at least one chronic condition. 53% of them reported that their conditions have negatively affected their productivity and ability to focus at work. Among Gen Z and Millennials, this number was 76%.
  • 94% of leaders agreed that workers with chronic conditions are less productive, with 60% saying those workers lose at least 6 hours a week of productivity.
How employee health affect productivity

What Does Productivity Look Like in the United States?

Approximately 60% of the U.S. population was employed between 1990 and 2022, but how many of them were considered highly productive? And, given the barriers to productivity we’ve discussed, what are employers doing to help them reach optimal levels of output?

  • Employee productivity is declining at its fastest rate in 75 years.
  • On average, Americans lose 1 hour and 18 minutes each day due to distractions, resulting in nearly 340 hours of productivity lost annually.
  • 1 in 2 U.S. workers considers chatty coworkers their main distraction in the office. Other office-related distractions impacting labor productivity include excessive office noise (25%), office gossip (17%), and background noise (15%) such as music or podcasts.
  • Employees in Houston, Tampa, and New Orleans who experience an average of 6 interruptions per workday with some losing up to two to three hours of daily work, are the most distracted in the U.S., while Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Washington are the least distracted.
  • 67% of managers correlate employee performance with work productivity.
  • 47% of companies effectively reduced the number of staff meetings by 40% by implementing two no-meeting days per week.
  • Tuesday tends to be the most productive day of the week
  • U.S. workers tend to be satisfied with their flexible work schedule but dissatisfied with pay.
Long term labor productivity by sector for selected periods

What Does Productivity Look Like Around the World?

Most of the statistics presented thus far center on employers and employees within the United States. However, our nation only comprises a small slice of the global workforce. What does productivity look like in other countries? Do other companies use the same benchmarks to measure productivity, or do they use different methods?

Productivity declines in four G7 countries

Productivity and the Modern Workforce

Given the easy access to technology, the modern workforce is expected to be more productive than ever.

  • Slack reports that the most productive people are 242% more likely to use AI than their less productive counterparts.
  • 77% of employees agree that automating routine tasks would improve their productivity.
  • Globally, employees save an average of 3.6 hours weekly through automation.
  • According to McKinsey, generative AI could enable labor productivity growth of 0.1 to 0.6 percent annually through 2040, depending on the technology adoption rate and worker time redeployment into other activities.
  • Combining generative AI with all other technologies, work automation could add 0.5 to 3.4 percentage points annually to productivity growth.
  • However, such tools are still far from mass adoption. Merely 23% of leaders surveyed by Slack have enhanced their organization’s tech stack in an attempt to boost productivity in the past six months. Nearly two-thirds say their companies have not yet incorporated AI.
How Gen AI impacts productivity

Our expectations of productivity have seen some ups and downs during recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of hybrid work, and the rapid evolution of AI technology. However, McKinsey suggests that investing in the future while managing risks can be a key to productivity growth. By upskilling workers and restructuring operations, offsetting higher input costs and interest rates, and targeting investments in capital and technology, organizations can operate more efficiently, empower workers, increase wages sustainably, and accelerate growth.

three-sided productivity opportunity
J.R. Johnivan
Business and HR Tech Journalist
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Combining a lifelong love of technology and the written word, J.R. is constantly balancing traditional arts with next-gen breakthroughs and advancements. With 30-plus years of experience working with computers and IT of all kinds, including over a decade of reviewing HR software, he caters to audiences all around the globe from his quaint home in West Michigan.

Featured in: project-management.com

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