40+ Shocking Employee Productivity Statistics for 2024

Labor productivity has a far-reaching impact. As well as helping companies achieve success, a high-performing workforce contributes to the local and global economy.

That’s why a range of business stakeholders look for current insights into maintaining workforce efficiency.

To keep you in the loop, our report unpacks the latest employee productivity statistics and trends for 2024.

Top Employee Productivity Stats

Here are the most revealing statistics on employee productivity:

  • HR says performance is one of the biggest challenges of 2024.
  • The average employee spends a third of their shift on performative work.
  • Six in ten people are quiet quitting globally.
  • The majority of companies say technology issues slow them down.
  • Productive teams are over twice as likely to be using AI.

The state of employee productivity

Nothing’s more vital to the success of a company than employee productivity. When teams perform well, it directly impacts profitability and growth.

The global workforce is finally stabilizing after years of tumult. However, it’s not all good news.

As the following research demonstrates, sustaining employee productivity continues to be a challenge.

Performance is one of HR’s biggest challenges in 2024.

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Around half of HR teams say performance management is extremely or very challenging.

This involves both measuring employee progress and helping them become more effective at their jobs.

Half of workers confess to being unproductive at work. (McKinsey)

A recent study found that 53% of employees are actively disengaged. Due to their low productivity, companies could lose around $1.1 billion over the next five years.

Employees spend a third of their working day on performative tasks. (Slack)

Many tasks appear productive but don’t provide any benefits for workers or their employers. Some common examples include checking emails constantly or spending too long on low-priority work.

85% of companies say remote work makes it harder to trust employees.

company confidence in remote work

Managers have limited oversight of remote teams as they may only communicate through emails, meetings, and asynchronous tasks.

Many of them have begun to wonder whether reports could be taking excessive breaks or finishing early.

Trusted employees are twice as productive as other team members.

Showing your confidence in your workforce can make teams feel more in control and independent at work.

This makes them twice as focussed and over four times more satisfied with their jobs.

A strong culture can make teams up to 4.9 times more agile and efficient.

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When teams feel connected to their workplace, they’re also more likely to recommend it as a place to work.

The study concludes that investing in culture and promoting the right values can have a significant impact on business performance.

Statistics on employee productivity habits

What does productivity look like? In this section, we explore research concerning employees’ habits and preferences.

Only 1 in 4 workers think the afternoon is productive.

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Although most workers continue working after 3 pm, they often experience a slump.

However, this is most likely natural — people tend to have lower energy in the afternoon due to their internal body clock.

The ideal focus time is four hours.

“Focus time” is time in your schedule you set aside for deep work that requires a lot of attention. Most people agree they can only sustain this type of work for a limited time.

They need to combine it with collaboration, administration, training, and rest periods to sustain their productivity levels from day to day.

Monday is the most productive day of the week.

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, the same survey discovered that Saturday and Sunday are the least productive days. That’s when most people have time off work.

Sales is the only industry to say that Friday is the most productive day, perhaps due to the fact more customers and clients are available then.

10 to 11 AM is the most productive time for US workers.

There’s a little variation between the states but usually only by 30 minutes to an hour. Only North and South Dakota really stand out — their workers are most productive around 3 to 4 PM.

Employees say a good night’s sleep is the best way to improve productivity.

Sleeping well increases energy and concentration levels so people can perform their tasks more efficiently.

Survey respondents also mentioned other healthy habits like eating nutritious food and taking breaks help them work harder.

The average screen time is 7 hours and 24 minutes.

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Electronic trackers on work devices allow researchers to measure productivity levels throughout the year.

Since the pandemic ended, the amount people interact with their work computers has stabilized at around 7.5 hours.

Statistics on employee productivity demographics

Productivity levels aren’t uniform across the global workforce. Here’s a look at how performance can differ between different businesses and employee groups:

Overall US productivity growth has slowed down to 1.4% year-on-year.

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Labor productivity levels normally increase by 2.2% each year but began to decline in 2005. If the US can get back on track, they could add $10 trillion to their GDP.

Gen Z reportedly has the lowest levels of productivity. (Protiviti)

37% of Gen Z say they’re unproductive, a stark contrast to 30% of Millennials and 22% of Gen X.

But could these findings be partially down to differing attitudes towards work among the age groups?

Maybe the youngest generation has developed a new idea of what hard work looks like.

Ecommerce had the highest increase in productivity over 2023. (BLS)

Online stores already have a high potential for productivity as they can operate 24/7 without direct management.

With the latest advances in automation, even one-person teams can accomplish a lot of tasks with very few resources.

Wholesalers of miscellaneous durable goods had the biggest dip in productivity.

2023 brought a lot of economic instability and supply chain disruptions. It’s possible this had a knock-on effect on stores.

Durable goods often require longer, more complex manufacturing and distribution processes that may be more vulnerable to global issues.

Managers are most likely to be disengaged. (Gallup)

Only 22% feel like their company cares about and values them. The underlying issue seems to be that organizations keep pushing managers to do more with less given the high number of layoffs and budget cuts over 2023.

Over half of working mothers report feeling burnt out.

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The same survey found that 66% of these women are the default parents a.k.a the ones automatically responsible for childcare.

These extra responsibilities mean working mothers are twice as likely as working fathers to be unable to perform all their job duties.

Statistics on workplace challenges and distractions

A variety of workplace issues can directly or indirectly cause low productivity levels. This section explores the main ones:

71% of managers say they face pressure to raise productivity levels.

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Likewise, 50% of employees feel like they must seem productive. These statistics suggest that most companies believe their teams are generally underperforming.

Only 42% of workers get the chance to give feedback to managers.

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That number is even lower for peer feedback — only 32% of team leads say they get constructive feedback from other senior staff.

Without these vital insights, managers can’t learn how to manage their reports more effectively and raise productivity levels.

Large age gaps between managers and reports cause up to 1.5 times less productivity.

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Managers over 12 years older than their teams are more likely to experience low performance.

The report suggests the underlying issue is inclusive workplace practices that alienate the younger generations.

Only 42% of workers understand their role expectations. (Gallup)

Gallup experts suggest the problem is lackluster performance management. They note that many companies don’t offer regular reviews and feedback sessions or help their workers set meaningful goals.

Companies lose 22% of their productivity when employees lack the right skills.

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Talent shortages are the single biggest drains on productivity, followed by disengagement and inefficient processes.

Companies have been struggling with labor scarcity for the past few years and the issue is only predicted to get worse.

70% of workers say that they have too many meetings and emails.

Although important, tasks like these can disrupt employees during focused work. Afterward, they may require time to refamiliarize themselves with what they were doing and regain concentration.

49% of employees experienced disruptive legal issues during the year.

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These issues include buying a new home, arranging elder care, or handling traffic violations.

Many survey respondents admitted they’d had to either take time off or manage these matters during work hours.

Employee productivity and wellbeing statistics

Time and time again, research links job performance to mental and emotional health. This section explores the latest statistics related to productivity and employee wellbeing.

Employee stress levels dropped by over 10% in 2023.

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Decreased stress is great news for productivity. When employees are rested and relaxed, they’re more likely to perform well at their jobs.

They’re also less likely to get sick and require time away from work.

40% of workers say they have an excessive workload. (Headspace)

Teams can actually become less productive when they have more tasks to do. Aside from the fatigue and burnout, they may become more stressed, burnout, and disengaged.

Regular breaks make teams 13% more productive.

Well-rested teams not only perform better at work but also experience higher job satisfaction. They also find it easier to manage the stressful elements of their roles.

Over half of the global workforce is quiet quitting. (Gallup)

Although these workers are present in the office, they are mentally disconnected from their roles. Gallup estimates this issue costs the world a collective $8.8 trillion.

Remote workers are most likely to be quiet quitters. (Paychex)

81% of remote employees consider themselves quiet quitters compared to 61% of hybrid and 38% of in-office.

These findings suggest that managers find it harder to recognize the signs when teams work from home.

Job responsibilities are the biggest cause of quiet quitters.

61% of survey respondents said their role demotivates them. However, mental health issues, inadequate compensation, and poor management styles were also common causes.

A fifth of workers considered resigning due to the impact of their mental health on productivity.

Survey respondents said their condition made them less focused and less engaged at work. 36% explicitly said their mental health issues had affected their job performance.

Amy Spurling

“In my experience, productivity soars when people aren’t just showing up but genuinely want to engage. That means building a workplace that’s rooted in trust and shows you actually care about the individual behind the job title.

You can’t expect people to show up fully if you — as the employer — don’t show up for them.”

Amy Spurling, CEO and Founder at Compt

Statistics on employee productivity initiatives

Now we’ve explored all the challenges concerning employee productivity, let’s look at what companies are doing to maintain or improve performance.

70% of remote employees say the arrangement makes them more productive.  (Buffer)

Work-from-anywhere policies mean workers can choose an environment that suits their needs and preferences.

They can also avoid workplace distractions like coworkers talking or leaving for lunch.

Two-thirds of workers would choose a better work-life balance over higher pay. (Flex Jobs)

Many respondents said remote or hybrid policies had helped them achieve a healthier balance, making them reluctant to return to the traditional, in-office arrangement.

This research suggests that compensation may be important but it’s not a major productivity driver.

Half of hybrid companies say they’re continuing the arrangement to improve productivity and wellbeing. (Paychex)

The respondents say they plan to maintain work-from-anywhere policies until the end of 2024.

They’ll supplement this initiative with training and development to ensure teams can continue to manage themselves, without the direct oversight of their managers.

81% of employees say managers should help them prioritize their workload.  (Microsoft)

A further 74% say this extra guidance would improve their performance. However, only 31% have received any kind of direction during one-on-ones with team leads.

44% of HR teams say constant complaints are the best way to spot a quiet quitter.

Other signs of disengaged workers include missed deadlines and social isolation. By identifying these team members early, HR has a chance to address the issue before it escalates.

Around a third of executives measure productivity by looking at visible activity.

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Only 19% of managers look at individual and team progress toward KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and goals.

However, that’s how most employees believe companies should measure their productivity levels.

79% of employees say they’re more productive after receiving constructive feedback.

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A similar number of respondents said they’d like more input from their managers. With the right feedback, they know how to improve and what they’re already doing well in their jobs.

The top three skills required for productivity are active listening, time management, and decision-making.

Employees agree on the main abilities they need to develop to perform their jobs well. Other important skills respondents mentioned were coordination and active listening.

Amanda Stephens

“The main way to improve productivity is by giving people motivating, fulfilling work. When team members are doing something they care about, productivity is almost a side effect.

Of course, not all work is glamorous or passion-fueled. In those cases, I think it’s really important to show your team the “why” behind things. 

Here’s an example: checking emails can be monotonous, even stressful at times. You can reframe a full inbox in a different way for your employees: People need you. Your input is valued. Your services are in demand. You have job security. It can actually become a new motivation.”

Amanda Stephens, Vice President of Operations at seoplus+

Technology and employee productivity statistics

As technology is such a major productivity driver, we feel it deserves its own section. Here’s a look at how the latest advances and innovations are impacting workplace performance.

The vast majority of teams struggle with ‘digital friction’.

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95% of companies say technology issues have affected productivity levels. Issues include lagging software, poor connectivity, and trouble logging in.

The most productive teams are 242% more likely to be using AI.

Generative AI can bolster efficiency by handling mundane tasks and providing quick insights.

As a result, employees can dedicate more time and effort to initiatives requiring creativity, innovation, and empathy.

Performance management is the top planned use for AI among small businesses.

Lean teams often have to work harder to compete with large corporations. The same group of respondents also said one of their biggest expected outcomes was higher productivity.

Workers save around 3.6 hours a week by using automation tools.

Half of the survey respondents say they use automation tools to save time and free up resources.

However, the number varies between industries — 71% of tech workers use automation compared with just 36% in sales.

Mark Hayes

“My biggest productivity challenge comes in the form of balancing creativity with data-driven tasks. 

Marketing is a fast-paced industry where a lot of innovation takes place — survival in the industry often depends on it. There’s sometimes a clash between this kind of work and the somewhat slower, more structured pace of the analytical tasks.

I’ve found that employing the best communication and project management tools helps foster balance between the creative and data-driven sides of our workflow.

Asana and Slack are our go-to. They allow for more seamless integration between creative brainstorming and rigorous analysis.”

Mark Hayes, Head of Growth at TASK Group

Wrap Up

As our report demonstrates, employee productivity is a complex and multi-faceted issue. Low performance could be due to poor training, low morale, outdated practices — or a combination of issues.

If our report has one main takeaway, it’s that communication is the key. Only employees know what they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.

Companies can’t hope to maintain high productivity levels and achieve their goals without the input of their teams.

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Rhiannon is an experienced B2B SaaS content writer who specializes in reviews and comparisons to help readers make the most fully-informed choices.