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15+ Surprising Statistics on Employee Efficiency

Disha Mainkar

April 4, 2023

Productivity is one of the most important aspects of any business, as it directly affects the bottom line. It also measures how efficiently and effectively employees are working towards achieving the company's goals. In today's fast-paced business environment, where competition is fierce and margins are slim, productivity is more critical than ever. Employers often seek ways to improve productivity, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

In this article, we will explore some surprising statistics on employee efficiency, highlighting areas where businesses can focus their efforts to improve productivity.

According to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks third in the world in terms of productivity, behind Luxembourg and Norway.

However, the same study found that the US lags behind many other countries in terms of working hours, suggesting that American workers may not be as efficient as those in other countries.

Check out the factors affecting productivity at the workplace

Workplace distractions bring down productivity levels

One factor that affects productivity is workplace distractions. 

A study by Udemy found that 70% of workers say they feel distracted at work, with 16% saying they are almost always distracted. 

  • The same study found that interruptions, such as phone calls and emails, are the biggest distractions, with 80% of workers saying they are interrupted at least once a day. 
  • The study from the University of California suggests employees take an average of 25 minutes to return to their original task after being interrupted.

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Workplace distractions can have a significant impact on productivity levels. The study by Udemy highlights that a large percentage of workers feel distracted at work. So, by minimizing workplace distractions, employers can help employees stay focused and improve productivity.

Employee engagement and productivity are closely linked

Another factor that affects productivity is employee engagement. 

A Gallup study found that only 34% of US workers are engaged in their jobs, meaning they are emotionally invested in and focused on their work. 

  • The same study found that engaged employees are more productive, with companies in the top quartile for engagement seeing 21% higher profitability than those in the bottom quartile.
  • Also, from the Gallup study, companies with high engagement levels have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 40% reduction in quality defects.

The above figures suggest employee engagement plays a crucial role in determining productivity levels in the workplace. By prioritizing employee engagement, employers can improve productivity and overall company performance.

Time spend on non-work-related activities

According to a study by Salary.com, the average office worker spends 2.5 hours per day on non-work-related activities such as checking social media, browsing the internet, and chatting with colleagues.

This represents a significant loss of productivity and highlights the need for employers to implement measures to reduce distractions and improve focus.

Multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40%

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not increase productivity. In fact, studies have shown that multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40%. When employees switch between tasks, their brain needs time to refocus, resulting in a loss of time and energy.

Lack of sleep reduces productivity

Sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on productivity. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, employees who sleep less than six hours per night are less productive than those who sleep seven to nine hours per night. Lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, reduced cognitive function, and increased stress levels.

Flexible working arrangements increase productivity

Flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting, can increase productivity by up to 30%, according to a study by Stanford University.

Employees who work remotely have more control over their work environment and are less likely to be distracted by office politics and interruptions.

Boosting productivity in the workplace is a crucial aspect of effective employee management. Research on employee productivity has shown that remote work can significantly increase productivity levels. 

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The Benefits of Employee Training and Development

  • Businesses that invest in employee training see a 24% increase in profit margins on average (SHRM)
  • 74% of employees feel they aren't achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities (Hays)
  • Companies that offer training and development programs have a 34% higher retention rate than those that don't (SHRM)

Employee training and development programs can have significant benefits for businesses. By offering training and development programs, companies can not only improve employee skills and productivity but also increase employee satisfaction and retention rates.

By eliminating the distractions and stress associated with commuting, remote workers often have more time and energy to dedicate to their tasks. Additionally, remote working productivity can be enhanced by leveraging technological tools and platforms that facilitate collaboration and efficient communication. By focusing on managing the productivity of remote workers, organizations can harness the benefits of remote work while ensuring optimal performance and results.

Microbreaks increase productivity

Taking short breaks throughout the day can actually increase productivity. A study by the University of Illinois found that employees who take brief breaks throughout the day have higher levels of focus and concentration than those who work continuously for long periods. Microbreaks can include stretching, walking, or simply taking a few deep breaths.

Workplace design & culture affects productivity

The design of the workplace can have a significant impact on productivity. According to a study by the British Council for Offices, employees who work in offices with natural light, comfortable temperatures, and good air quality are 16% more productive than those who work in offices without these features.

  • Employees who feel their workplace is inclusive are 1.3 times more likely to feel their work has meaning and purpose (Harvard Business Review)
  • Inclusive companies have a 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period (Harvard Business Review)
  • 40% of LGBTQ employees report feeling bullied at work, leading to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates (HRC)

 Managing productivity of remote workers requires clear communication, goal setting, and regular check-ins to keep employees motivated and accountable. By increasing worker productivity, organizations can maximize efficiency and achieve their desired outcomes.

Employee productivity management is a vital component of workplace success. To increase employee productivity, organizations must focus on creating a conducive work environment that fosters engagement and motivation


Productivity is essential for the success of any business. By understanding the factors that impact employee efficiency, employers can identify areas where they can improve productivity levels. Surprising statistics highlight that workplace distractions, employee engagement, non-work-related activities, multitasking, lack of sleep, inflexible working arrangements, inadequate training, and poor workplace design and culture can negatively impact productivity.

Employers can implement measures such as minimizing distractions, prioritizing employee engagement, allowing for flexible working arrangements, offering training and development programs, and creating an inclusive workplace to improve productivity levels. By prioritizing productivity, employers can increase profitability, employee satisfaction, and retention rates, leading to overall business success.


  • "The Productivity-Inclusiveness Nexus" by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • "The 2018 Workplace Distraction Report" by Udemy
  • "State of the American Workplace" by Gallup
  • "The Impact of Training and Development on Employee Productivity" by the Society for Human Resource Management
  • "The Causal Impact of Inclusive Workplace Cultures" by Harvard Business Review
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/curtsteinhorst/2020/02/20/how-multitasking-erodes-productivity-and-dings-your-iq/?sh=44179e773b7e

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