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82 Compelling Productivity Statistics: 2020 Challenges & Engagement Data Analysis

Category: B2B News

Employee productivity is the predominant attribute of successful organizations. Essentially, it’s a vital operational metric that steals a match on all the others. In fact, productivity statistics have shown that maintaining high workplace productivity levels can spell the difference between a thriving organization and one that is far from impressive.

To be precise, workforce productivity directly impacts business performance/profit, and it’s indirectly correlated to revenue. However, ensuring that all employees are productive is easier said than done, especially with the intricacies of the modern workforce. Even with top-of-the-line productivity tools in the form of web collaboration software in the market, it can be hard to reap meaningful benefits without a vivid picture of industry changes.

In this article, we’ll discuss all the key figures and facts about productivity as reeled out by reputable research firms. We’ll take you through all the most important employee productivity statistics to help you remain abreast of key changes. Ultimately, we hope to help you improve productivity and reap benefits, such as increased profitability and consistent business growth.

key productivity statistics

1. General Productivity Statistics

Everything about modern workplace productivity is changing fast. The nature of work is changing, and so is the behavior and characteristics of modern employees. As a result, organizations are under constant pressure to transform their workplaces and employee experience as well. The following statistics provide a general overview of the state of employee productivity in a typical workday.

  • According to US employee productivity data, the productivity of the nonfarm businesses increased by 2.3% in Q1 2019. Besides, output increased by 1.9%, whereas time spent decreased by 1.4%. [1]
  • On the other hand, productivity in the manufacturing sector decreased by 1.6% in Q2, 2019. Moreover, output in this sector decreased by 2.1% and hours worked also decreased by 0.5%. [1]
  • Interestingly, according to KPMG, in 2012, only 15% of organizations were focused on improving workforce productivity in the next three years. [2]
  • Even more, the increased workload can decrease employee productivity by 68%. [3]
  • When summer hits, attendance drops by 19%, and workplace productivity drops by 20%. [4]
  • Additionally, 71.5% have established a way to measure productivity. [5]

An Evolving Workforce

  • According to HubSpot, 86% of modern employees prefer to work alone to reach peak productivity. [6]
  • Besides, 27% of employees believe working in an open office or newsroom can help them hit maximum productivity. [6]
  • More importantly, 65% of full-time employees think that remote work schedules can increase their productivity. [6]
  • On the other hand, 37% of employees think that a closed office can foster productivity. Besides, 23% of partitioned cubicles can help, and 19% would thrive in open desk layouts. [6]
  • Also, according to some studies, multitasking can reduce employee productivity by up to 40%. [6]
  • On average, an employee wastes 2.09 hours daily on non-work-related activities.  [6]
  • 63% of employees say benefits affect their productivity. Whereas, 53% say benefits affect their decision to leave or stay in an organization. [7]

Technology is Impacting Productivity

  • In addition, C-suite executives expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve employee productivity by 46%. [8]
  • Better still, 55% of retailers believe better technology can positively impact productivity. [9]
  • Moreover, companies with robust online social networks record 7% better productivity than those without. [10]
  • In 2018, 74.8% of global organizations were projected to increase the use of productivity tools and processes. [5]

Employee Health Has a Hand in Productivity

  • When distracted, an average employee takes 23 minutes to regain focus. [11]
  • Employee health and performance are directly related. In fact, employees who eat healthy each day are 25% more likely to perform better at work. [12]
  • According to Drumhum Inc, the use of cognitive-enhancing medication to its employees improved productivity by 4%. [13]
  • Besides, 80% of employees say that business’ workforce health programs impact their productivity. [14]

remote work and productivity

The widespread proliferation of innovative technologies has transformed the modern workplace. What used to be a mere physical space is now instant access and always connected environment where employees collaborate and communicate in numerous ways. Clearly, the distinction that existed between personal and professional life has been blurred, and the workplace is now truly digital.

As a business leader, it’s time to act and align your strategies with the changing workplace demographics. You need to provide the right tools to meet the increasing demand of the multigenerational workforce and anchor working styles on robust technologies. Statistics have shown that full-time employees savor working in virtualized work locations. Ideally, there is a need to support virtual work environments and embrace workplace evolution to remain relevant.

2. Employee Engagement Statistics

Employee engagement is the extent of the mental and emotional connection your employees feel towards their work. It is the degree, including which employees are enthusiastic about their tasks and feel more connected to their workplaces. When it comes to workplace productivity, employee engagement isn’t the silver bullet, but it can positively impact the performance of your business.

Improving employee engagement promotes a positive workplace culture and motivates every employee to put extra effort into every task. Engaged employees are more innovative, productive, happier, and healthy. On the other hand, a disengaged workforce has high rates of absenteeism and employee turnover.

  • Apparently, 72% of employees say they need to feel more engaged in the operations of a business. [9]
  • In 2016, the global employee engagement was 63%. [15]
  • Besides, according to a recent study by Gallup, 15% of global employees are engaged in their work. On the contrary, 18% of employees are actively disengaged. [16]
  • In terms of engagement by category, executives/managers/officials are the most engaged employees at 28%. The group is closely followed by professionals (27%), service workers (18%), agricultural workers (18%), clerical/sales workers (14%), and production/manufacturing workers (12%). [17]
  • Only 1 out of 4 employees believe that their employer takes their suggestion and feedback seriously. [18]

Benefits of engaged employees

  • According to AON, engaged teams achieve 17% higher productivity, 21% greater profitability, and 10% higher customer ratings. [19]
  • Besides, engaged employees are the most committed to their work. In fact, engaged employees put in 57% more effort into their tasks than disengaged employees. Also, engaged employees are 87% less likely to resign. [20]
  • Companies that have an employer brand and strong employee value proposition experience a 28% reduction in turnover. [19]
  • An increase in employee engagement can increase retention rates by up to 87%. [10]
  • In addition, highly engaged employees are 41% less likely to be absent from work. More importantly, highly engaged teams experience a 59% lower turnover. [17]
  • Better still, highly engaged business teams have 28% less shrinkage and approximately 40% fewer quality incidents. Again, when business teams are highly engaged, there are 70% fewer safety incidents. [17]
  • Generally, high performers are approximately 15% happier than their counterparts. This data aligns perfectly with the study by the University of Warwick that found happy employees to be 12% more likely to be productive. [18]
  • Increased employee interaction can boost performance by up to 20%. [3]
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The Most Engaged Employees by Category

The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Executive/Managers: 28%


The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Professionals (Accountants, doctors, etc): 27%

Professionals (Accountants, doctors, etc)

The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Service Workers: 18%

Service Workers

The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Agricultural Workers : 18%

Agricultural Workers

The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Clerical/Sales Workers: 14%

Clerical/Sales Workers

The Most Engaged Employees by Category
Manufacturing/Production Workers: 12%

Manufacturing/Production Workers


Source: Gallup 2017

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From the data above, it’s easy to see that employee engagement is important to your business. It motivates employees to make substantial improvements and to remain committed to the team’s goals. As such, to reap maximum benefits, you should explore all available avenues to improve employee engagement at your workplace.

We suggest using reliable payroll and attendance software solutions, giving each employee individual attention, and recognizing top-performing employees to increase engagement. Listening to employees, fostering close connections, and providing proper training can also create a magical atmosphere for improved employee engagement.

3. Communication for Productivity Statistics

Poor communication is a detriment to the productivity and motivation of employees. It’s like a virus that starts small and propagates quickly, eventually infecting the whole organization. It incapacitates your teams and limits your business’ ability to optimize performance. What’s more, poor communication leads to limited employee engagement, uncertainty, and confusion, thus, promoting a culture of distrust.

  • 74% of workers say they miss out on some vital company’s communication. [21]
  • Millennials represent 50% of the modern workforce. Surprisingly, this generation has the largest influence on workplace communications. [22]
  • Approximately, there are 269 billion emails sent each day globally. Unfortunately, because of the busy nature of the modern workplace, employees open only 24% of these emails. [22]
  • In addition, 21% of internal business communicators in the world say that they do not implement any formal planning. [23]
  • Interestingly, only 54% of employees in the UK believe that progress towards communications objectives is measured, researched, and weighed with KPIs. [24]

employees who miss out on most important communication

Information in the digital workplace is growing at an unprecedented pace. As such, it’s becoming difficult by the day for employees to find the information they need. But, employees need to promptly access the right information to boost their performance. To be on the safe side, your organization should put in place effective communication strategies. This way, employees will stay connected, and their ability to work together will be enhanced.

Leading Web Collaboration Software

  1. A customizable web-based collaboration and productivity software that can help teams of any type of business from any type of industry manage different types of projects easily. Read more about it in our review.
  2. Wrike. A top collaboration and project management system with tools for task prioritization, interactive timeline, discussions, and newsfeeds. Check it out in detail in this Wrike review.
  3. Smartsheet. A comprehensive spreadsheet-based collaboration system with easy-to-use features such as Gantt charts, calendar view, resource management, and activity logs. Learn more about it in our Smarthsheet review.
  4. Asana. A popular web-based collaboration software tool for teams and project managers that lets users manage tasks, collaborate, communicate, and track progress. For more information, check out this Asana review.
  5. ProjectManager. A project management application with online file storage, chat, discussions, and instant reporting tools, it lets users collaborate across different projects. Check out this ProjectManager review to learn more.

4. Productivity in Meeting Statistics

To progress as a unit, every business needs to hold meetings. But holding a meeting nowadays comes with its fair share of challenges. Just imagine having a meeting with a team of remote workers. Even with great video conferencing software, there is no guarantee that everyone will be engaged. The statistics below reveal that not every meeting delivers the desired results. In fact, some meetings gobble up your company’s resources and only end up suffocating productivity.

  • Interestingly, 40% of employees consider impromptu meetings from their colleagues stopping by their workstations as a key distraction. [6]
  • On average, employees attend 62 meetings every month. Unfortunately, 50% of these meetings are considered time-wasting. [25]
  • Besides, business units spend approximately 31 hours every month in unproductive meetings. [25]
  • Even worse, of the total number of meeting goers, 91% have daydreamed, and 39% have slept during a meeting. On the other hand, 73% of employees did other tasks in meetings. [25]
  • Additionally, 45% of employees felt overwhelmed by the numerous meetings they attended. In fact, 47% of employees claim meetings are the biggest time wasters in a business environment. [25]
  • On average, businesses in the US incurred $37 billion in extra salary costs from unwarranted meetings. [25]
  • On average, more than 23% of professionals in the US have more than 5 minutes each week. [26]
  • Besides, 68% of professionals in the US lost time because of poorly planned meetings. [26]
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The Average Length of Meetings in 2019

The Average Length of Meetings in 2019
0-5 Minutes: 3%

0-5 Minutes

The Average Length of Meetings in 2019
16-30 Minutes: 39%

16-30 Minutes

The Average Length of Meetings in 2019
31-60 Minutes: 41%

31-60 Minutes

The Average Length of Meetings in 2019
61-90 Minutes: 13%

61-90 Minutes

The Average Length of Meetings in 2019
91+ Minutes: 4%

91+ Minutes


Source: Doodle "State of meetings report 2019"

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When team members are not properly involved, meetings become a complete waste of time, and they weigh down productivity. This is the reason why you need to be selective about the meetings and the time you hold them. Ideally, you should cut all unproductive meetings that take up much time, preventing employees from achieving project goals.

5. Cost of Unproductive Employee Statistics

It goes without saying that being unproductive can be costly. The statistics below reveal the amount that organizations lose through unproductive employees.

  • Recent productivity research revealed that every year, distractions, health problems, and other vices cost employers in the US approximately $1.8 billion in lost productivity. [6]
  • Besides, lack of employee engagement with their job, cost employers $550 billion each year. On the other hand, insomnia cost employers $63 billion. [6]
  • Also, email spam cost employers an estimated $21 billion in productivity. Facebook cost employers $28 billion, and fantasy football cost employers $18.7 billion. As new innovations come up to deal with problems, the size of productivity market share is expected to increase. [6]
  • Moreover, employees that change computer password so frequently cost businesses $16billion. [6]
  • The total cost of employee absenteeism average 36% of base payroll. [27]
  • Incidental unplanned employee absences result in a 21% net loss in productivity each day. Besides, planned absences (15%) and extended absences (17%) are the other causes of productivity loss. [27]
  • In addition, companies that recorded high traditional engagement levels had a 14% operating margin. [28]
  • On the other hand, companies with highly engaged employees had a 27% operating margin. [28]

causes of loss in productivity

The cost of being unproductive can be monstrous, especially if it takes a lot of time to detect time-wasting activities. To mitigate the risk, you should implement robust time tracking tools, as well as reliable employee management solutions. This way, it will be easy to spot problems earlier and solve them sooner before they start crippling your progress.

6. Productivity Challenges Statistics

The modern workplace has become synonymous with collaboration problems, inefficient email communication, and cyberslacking. The average employee is facing a secret productivity troll in the name of email, smartphones, the internet, social media, and more. For many employees and employers, getting over these challenges caused by the offsprings of technology has been their Achilles heels.

  • Surprisingly, only 60% or less of workday hours are spent on productive work. [25]
  • Interestingly, only 20% of employees find it very easy to accomplish daily tasks. [9]
  • Additionally, 57% of businesses said increased employee absence was the key factor causing disruptions. On the other hand, 71% of businesses find absence a challenging experience. [9]
  • An average employee spends 28% of his/her workday, focusing on unnecessary distractions. Even worse, workers spend 27% of office hours feeling disorganized. [11]
  • Also, 61% of employees say that a loud colleague is a major distraction in the office. [6]
  • According to a study by HubSpot, the following are the leading employee productivity prohibitors: mobile phone/texting (50%), gossip (42%), internet (39%), social media (38%), and snack breaks (27%). Other inhibitors include noisy coworkers (24%), meetings (23%), email (23%), and coworkers dropping by (23%). [6]
  • On average, an employee faces 56 interruptions each day. [25]
  • Interestingly, 80% of the total interruptions are trivial and completely avoidable. [25]
  • 4% of organizations in the world found it difficult to establish a productivity-focused mindset amongst employees. Other challenges include quality of work (33.1%), staying focused (27.7%), team communication (24.6%),  Lack of visibility (21.5%), work-life balance (19.2%). Moreover, organizational culture (18.5%) and maintaining relationships (17.7%) are major stumbling blocks. [5]
  • On average, employees spend 20% of their time tracking down who can assist them with specific tasks. [29]

Tech-related challenges

  • 65% of employees say they have used the internet for nonwork-related purposes during their workday. [30]
  • Despite the emergence of smartphones and fast internet, employee productivity growth has averaged approximately 1%. [31]
  • Besides, on average, an employee spends 13 hours per week checking email. [11]
  • Even more, employees spend approximately 20 hours online. Worse, though, is the fact that 5 hours is spent surfing on nonwork-related websites. [6]
  • Bearing in mind that an average smartphone user checks their device approximately 150 times a day. This means that the use of smartphones in modern workplaces can hamper employee productivity. [32]
  • The average knowledge employee spends 11.7 hours every week, processing emails at the place of work. [33]

Source: HubSpot

Technology has an outsized potential to improve the productivity of your team. However, as you have seen from the data above, it can also impede progress when used the wrong way.  There is no doubt about the importance of emails, the internet, smartphones, and social media in the business environment.

However, these tools seem to bring diminishing returns when it comes to productivity. The worst thing is that you cannot completely do away with these innovations. But failing to act on the use of these tools and emerging technologies could negatively impact employee productivity. You should be watchful of how your employees use these tools and orchestrate game-changing strategies to cut their impact on employee productivity.

7. Solutions to Productivity Challenges Statistics

When employees are productive, and everything is going smoothly, you probably don’t have plenty to think about. However, at times, things can easily grind to a halt as a result of poor employee productivity.

So, when employees are demotivated, and their productivity is going downhill, what intervention do you take? The following are some of the creative solutions to the productivity challenges your organization is facing:

Technology-Oriented Remedies

  • A Productivity report shows that social technology can help organizations improve employee productivity by 20-25%. [29]
  • According to a study by Accenture, innovations like AI technology and expert systems have the potential to make labor more productive. The use of these technologies is predicted to increase labor productivity by 40% in 2035. [31]
  • 76% of employees think that using company-provided wearable tech can help employers track productivity. [6]
  • Besides, in 2019, the productivity market size will grow since 62% of global companies are implementing automation to reduce transactional tasks and eliminate repetitive tasks. On the other hand, 47% are augmenting underlying work practices to boost productivity. [34]

Strategic Remedies

  • Importantly, 46% of employees communicate with colleagues via email, phone, or IM to keep away from the distractions caused by face-to-face interactions. [6]
  • Some of the most used measures to mitigate productivity killers include: Blocking specific websites (36%), prohibiting personal phone calls during office hours (25%), monitoring emails and internet usage (22%), and scheduling lunch and snack breaks (19%). Others include limiting meetings (12%) and restricting the use of speakerphones during office hours (11%). [6]
  • Also, working in intervals, say 90 minutes intervals can help improve productivity. Also, have employees focus on the most difficult task for 1 to 1 hour and 30 minutes, and then have a short break. [6]
  • 91 % of employees would be more effective during the workday if the workspace was better organized. [6]
  • Besides, 84% of organizations think that transforming their workforce experience can improve productivity. [34]
  • Employees who feel that their feedback is valued are 4.6 times more likely to be empowered to deliver the desired results. [35]
  • Hiring employees that meet the Talent, Engagement, and Tenure (TET) trifecta can boost productivity. Unfortunately, only 5% of employees meet this trifecta. [36]

AI on labor productivity

As you may have noticed, most of the productivity-related challenges businesses face are avoidable. Interestingly, if you minimize interruptions, keep employees engaged, enumerate them well, and provide all the tools they need, increasing productivity will be smooth sailing.

How Can You Use These Statistics To Your Advantage?

There you have it, our compilation of the most important productivity statistics you should know. To summarize, here are key points to note:

  1. In spite of numerous challenges, global productivity levels are going on an upward trajectory.
  2. Technology, seen by many as a solution, is proving to be a barrier to employee productivity. Most of the challenges employees face in their workplace are the results of technological innovations.
  3. There is a dramatic shift in the way people work. Besides, the workplace has undergone a fundamental transformation, and the remote workforce is becoming prevalent.
  4. Increasing employee engagement and improving communication can significantly boost productivity.
  5. Workplace meetings are one of the leading obstacles to employee productivity.

With these in mind, it should be fairly easy for organizations to take the needed action to boost productivity. But first, you need to go back to square one. This means you have to understand what productivity is as an operational metric and know how to measure it. You can then drive alignment with employee remuneration and incentive models.

Aside from breaking this metric down, you should stay abreast of the momentous changes in the modern HR industry. Above all, you should implement the right software solutions to monitor employee productivity. This way, you will be positioned to wrestle with potential risks, disruptions, and other workforce upheavals that negatively impact productivity. If you want to maximize productivity, you might want to check out our list of the best productivity tools.



  1. ^Productivity and Costs, Fourth Quarter and Annual Averages 2019, Revised
  2. ^Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World
  3. ^The Ultimate Guide To Workplace Statistics
  4. ^Captivate Office Pulse Finds Summer Hours are Bad for Business
  5. ^State of Productivity and Management Report 2018
  6. ^How to Stop the Most Common Productivity Prohibitors
  8. ^CEO Briefing 2015 From Productivity to Outcomes
  10. ^The digital workplace: Think, share, do
  12. ^The Productivity Diet: What to Eat to Get More Done in a Day
  13. ^Workforce of the future
  14. ^Managing productivity: How are you addressing the high cost of lost productivity?
  15. ^Kincentric Best Employers Program
  16. ^Global Productivity Hinges on Human Capital Development
  17. ^State of the Global Workplace
  19. ^Creating a Compelling Employment Value Proposition
  20. ^The keys to corporate responsibility employee engagement
  21. ^Your Biggest Brand Champions Are Missing Out: New Research from Mindshare NA and Dynamic Signal
  22. ^8 Surprising Stats That Show Employee Communication Counts More Than Ever
  23. ^State of the Sector 2020
  24. ^Challenges of the UK Corporate Communications Profession
  25. ^You waste a lot of time at work
  26. ^Doodle – The state of meeting report 2019
  27. ^The Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences
  28. ^Creating a More Human Workplace Where Employees and Business Thrive
  29. ^The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies
  30. ^8 Eye-Opening Employee Productivity Statistics
  31. ^Productivity, Stalled but Not Stopped
  32. ^Future of Work – The People Imperative
  33. ^Carleton Study Finds People Spending a Third of Job Time on Email
  34. ^2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends
  35. ^The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business
  36. ^Employee Productivity Statistics 2018


Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

Stephen Kunst says:

As a one time school teacher, but most of my working life has been spent in the musical instrument repair business, which is a wood/metal shop, I have noticed how little work gets done in office settings. Not only the small office, at my work place, but when going onsite to customers, there is a very large amount of non work related activities going on. Add to this the otherwise comfy environment that the office worker enjoys. Many people have to work in hot, cold, dirty, dark, noisy, or otherwise difficult environments, many are unavoidable, but many are crappy because the employer see's their non white collar workers as cattle not as delicate house plants. A little online research reveals that there is a general agreement that office workers get only about 3-4 hours of actual productive work done in an 8 hr day. The non white collar work world is generally held, by their employers with a tighter leash more detailed time sheets to fill less salaried positions. There is often more concrete understanding if a mechanic has made a car repair or concrete has been poured. I know that at the office of one of my customers, there is an office worker who spends much of her day texting on her cell phone or internet shopping. We live in strange times and the workers who do most of the heavy lifting are not afforded the ever upgrading of their work environment like the coddled few.

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