Productivity Statistics for 2021 (and Beyond)

Did you know that 71% of people feel more productive while they listen to music? Or that only 7% of workers consider themselves productive during official work hours? See what numbers can tell us about productivity and what we can do to improve it.

What increases productivity — statistics

What increases productivity?

Well, a great start includes the following: having a good night's sleep and being well-rested, being hydrated, not hungry, etc.

Another equally relevant category refers to the objective conditions in our surroundings, and, if possible, making those conditions optimal for productivity. We're referring to the room temperature, noise levels, whether the chair we are sitting in is comfortable, and similar aspects of our immediate environment.

Some other secrets to increasing productivity are specifically work-related, and specific methods and strategies can be applied to achieve great results.

productivity statistics what increases productivity

A healthy life is a great start

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle positively impacts every aspect of our lives — especially our cognitive capabilities.

There's an abundance of obvious reasons why everyone should strive to be fit and healthy, starting with getting the most of our bodies in terms of longevity.

Some other no-brainers include reduced stress levels, better self-esteem, prevention of chronic diseases, and lower medical and insurance costs.

Let's see how all that affects our productivity levels.

Adequate nutrition boosts productivity levels by 25%

We've all seen a variety of popular commercials for Snickers candy bars with a campaign based on the saying "You're not you when you're hungry." That's exactly what happens when we're hungry because our body needs different kinds of nutrients to properly function.

Now, while candy bars are not a perfect example of adequate nutrition, this specific slogan is surely on point.

Proper intake of vitamins and minerals matters for our energy levels but that may be even more relevant for our cognitive abilities. So if one wants to achieve maximum-quality performance, they need to intake the right amount of right food at the right time.

Creating a healthy diet plan is vital to our energy levels — so there's a direct correlation between what we eat to how we perform at work. That's why you should always plan and schedule your meals, even snacks.

According to the so-called "productivity diet", a compilation of various research results by HubSpot, employees with healthy and balanced diets, in general, have 25% better overall performance.

Similarly, productivity statistics show that workers who eat fruits and vegetables at least 4 times a week are 20% more likely to be productive compared to the ones who don't.

The direct correlation between our nutrition and health is also seen in the fact that employees with healthy diets who regularly exercise were 27% less absent from work.

As little as 30 minutes of exercising improves one's focus

Another health-related factor that can have a major impact on our productivity rates is how we feel in our bodies.

When we're uncomfortable in any way, for example, when our back is hurting, it is much harder to concentrate, and productivity levels drop. So when we regularly exercise, we are making ourselves more comfortable in our body and more alert in several ways.

The first and the most obvious reason is that our body pumps more blood to our brain, and that increases our cognitive performance. Moreover, exercise is an amazing way to release stress, as two vital types of neurotransmitters — serotonin and endorphins — are released during the process.

The most important thing is to practice exercise regularly, making a daily habit out of it — and experts recommend exercising at least half an hour for 5 days a week.

Serotonin actually stimulates our mood and emotions in a way to be able to constructively deal with stressful situations.

So, the impact on our mental health is tremendous but let's mention some other benefits.

Exercise and work productivity statistics further indicate that active people have better immunity, thus lower risk of various diseases (from the common cold to Type 2 diabetes), resulting in fewer sick days.

Moreover, the risk of a work injury also gets significantly lower.

A creative approach to achieving focus

It's exactly like one of the greatest minds of all time, Albert Einstein, once said — "Creativity is intelligence having fun."

Creative people are better problem solvers, as they think out of the box.

They are also more easily motivated, since a creative approach to any problem or a task makes it infinitely more interesting.

Furthermore, creative thinking makes us more mentally active, often in a non-typical way.

Below are several creative solutions which help people boost their productivity levels.

71% of people are more productive when they listen to music

We're not talking about the commonly mentioned theory of the Mozart effect, so we're not trying to say you'll be smarter if you listen to music while working. The original paper was published in 1993, presenting a theory that is still a controversial one. The authors argue that a specific type of IQ — spatial-temporal — increases after listening to Mozart's sonata for two pianos (K448) for 10 minutes.

However, the role of music may be more about increasing our energy levels, as well as decreasing environmental noise. Even though some tasks will require silence, most of the time, people will be more productive if they tune out the surrounding noise with the help of their favorite playlist.

Accountemps conducted a study that is mentioned in the PR Newswire report, and the results indicate that only 1% of respondents said they don't feel productive when there is some background music.

Here's what others had to say on the subject of how music makes them feel, in relation to their productivity:

There are some differences by the age category, though, as a staggering 95% of those aged 18–34 report the positive impact of music.

On the opposite end, it's only 66% for those aged 55+, while the middle group, aged 35-55, boasts 84%.

Respondents who do listen to music while working also reported a preference for specific genres.

See what kind of music usually motivates and boosts productivity.

We have to mention another relevant factor, which is loudness.

The role of music here is not to fully attract our attention — that's why we go to concerts.

In the case of trying to better concentrate on work, music is only meant to cover environmental sounds because our brain connects those with stress.

Over time, the connection can become strong enough for your body to release cortisone (the stress hormone) when you hear traffic noise, for example.

Gamification of tasks makes 89% of workers more productive

Most people will try to find a way to make their work interesting and fun, even if it isn't. That's especially true when it comes to repetitive tasks.

This is only natural, as our attention span is shorter and our ability to focus lower if we consider a task to be boring.

Gamification may be a solution and the concept refers to the application of game-like rules and elements to non-game tasks.

The desired result is to make work-related tasks more enjoyable and engaging, as a game would be, as well as provide real-time feedback to employees.

Unfortunately, finding a distraction happens more often than not, but, no worries — there's a way to tackle this issue.

According to productivity statistics found on Statista, making work in general, as well as individual tasks, more game-like, makes people more productive.

89% of the respondents agree on that, and it's no wonder that the number of businesses using this method rises by the day.

Also, some people just thrive in a competitive environment.

To add to the fact, there are 3.243 billion active video gamers worldwide, meaning that all age groups enjoy the activity.

Do you know what else confirms this?

It's Google's approach when there's no Internet connection available — instead of just letting us idly wait for the connection to come back, in 2014, Google introduced a fun game for its users. It's a simple one, resembling Super Mario basic moves with arrows, where a player is supposed to avoid many obstacles coming at them, with the T-Rex in the main role. If you've ever played the game, you must be aware of how fun it can be.

It's only natural that the employees who enjoy doing their tasks are more likely to perform better, right?

Well, as you can see from the data above, gamification within the corporate strategy is proven to be an amazing method for boosting the employees' morale, engagement, and productivity rates. Because, who doesn't like to have a little fun at work?

Engagement in workers results in 38% higher productivity levels

Feeling actively disengaged or not engaged at work is a serious problem — in 2020, employee engagement productivity statistics indicated that 80% of the global workforce felt that way.

The same Gallup study points to the results for 2019, and we can see that the percentage of disengaged workers increased by 2% yearly, from 78%.

We can attribute this drop to the pandemic-related event, most certainly, as before 2020 hit us, a steady increase in the percentage of engaged workers was reported for 10 years straight.

But what does being "engaged at work" even mean?

Well, simply put, it means being enthusiastic and passionate about your job and further being psychologically attached to the company.

The Society for Human Resources Management relates the term to the level an individual employee is committed and connected to the organization that employs them.

When a person is actively engaged, their focus is much better, and there's less room for distractions.

That's why happiness and productivity at work statistics from Gallup's study indicate that higher engagement results in a 38% increase in productivity.

The right technology for your workflow

Technology and AI developments have had a major impact on efficiency and precision at work in many industries. Usage of software radically increases performance possibilities, allows easier and instant communication, and lowers the margin of error.

Worker productivity statistics reveal almost everyone — 92% of workers — agree about it.

Here's what else you need to know about statistics on achieving productivity with technology.

Tracking software increases productivity by 47%

Time tracking tools are a modern and improved version of writing your schedule in a planner. People often don't fully grasp the importance of time management, and a whopping 82% don't have any system for getting the most of their time.

We ought to understand just how limited the resource of time is and allocate our daily, weekly, and monthly tasks in accordance.

To achieve work-life balance, one must understand how much time they need for a certain task. That's where a time tracker like Clockify can jump in and help you understand your habits, performance, and productivity level, all in order to improve.

After all, productivity statistics from a Forbes article point to a 47% increase in productivity levels among California-based employees who use time tracking software.

What decreases productivity — statistics

Closely related to the previous segment, many factors can negatively impact one's productivity levels.

It's essential to learn to recognize this, as that's the first step in getting the most out of your day. For one, it's always better to take a break at that point — otherwise, you're only wasting your time because you can't focus when you're tired.

That's just one of the reasons why everyone should track their time and efficiency while performing certain tasks. Being aware of the comparison in your performance in different settings will help you determine which conditions are optimal for the best results.

Moreover, productivity statistics from the latest Gallup report include this shocking detail — the cost of lost productivity is $8.1 trillion per year. The main factor the report examined was the previously mentioned lack of employee engagement.

However, it doesn't really come as a surprise, as the year 2020 was the one with the lowest overall happiness score, for the obvious, COVID-19 outbreak reason. But there is always hope and something we can do about it, starting from ourselves.

Now let's see what happens if we don't pay attention to our habits and our environment.

This section will cover the aspects that reduce our productivity, so read on to make sure you're aware of those.

Only once you're aware of what negatively affects your productivity can you act on it.

productivity statistics what decreases productivity

The excessive use of technology

As we've already seen, technology can be one of the greatest assets and significantly ease the process of achieving your desired goals.

However, if not adequately used, it can turn out to be an obstacle.

That's why we need to carefully consider the combination of tools that only enhance productivity.

Excessive use of tools in the digital workspace results in a loss of productivity

Even though almost everyone agrees about the advantages of using digital tools, there's a limit to a number that can be useful. When workers are required to switch between different apps often, not only are they losing time in this very process, but it also makes it easier to get distracted.

Average employee productivity statistics indicate 44.3% of workers believe that using too many apps significantly lowers productivity.

Another relevant factor mentioned was receiving too many notifications.

Stress and fatigue

From everyday responsibilities to traumatic events, both stress and fatigue are natural reactions that everyone experiences. Their impact on our performance is evident because both affect not only our body, but our feelings, thoughts, and behavior as well.

That's another common way our productivity levels are reduced, so it's crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms and act on them.

41% of people agree that stress harms their productivity

We can't think of a single thing that stress can have a positive impact on — can you? Only 41% of people admit they can be fully productive while they're coping with stress.

There are many reasons one can feel that way, from personal relationships, health, and financial issues, to work-related stress.

Yet, if we want our performance to be the best, we ought to learn how to deal with it.

Take some time to develop a strategy, and put it into your schedule. It may sound strange to dedicate a period of time to think about why you are stressed, but it'll bring you some perspective and focus.

It's all about training your brain to learn what to let go, and what to pay its full attention to.

High levels of fatigue decrease one's performance by 33%

Living in the digital age often means living on the go and the way technology shapes our lives highly impacts how we allocate time to various activities.

Although it's not recommended to use our devices an hour before going to bed, most of us do. And that's just one of many reasons an abundance of people ends up being sleep deprived.

In order to function at our full capacity, our bodies need to get enough rest, and our brain needs to go through all the stages of sleep (3 non-REM and REM stages).

The consequence of not getting enough sleep (7-9 hours for adults) is feeling a high level of fatigue throughout the day.

Alexia Cambon, a research director at Gartner, recently gave an interview for Forbes, depicting the results of their latest study.

One of the productivity statistics she pointed out is that fatigue can decrease performance and productivity by 33%.

Furthermore, the results also show that this lowers feelings of inclusion by 44% — consequently, such workers are 54% more likely to leave their employers.

An unhealthy lifestyle

People are creatures of habit, it's as simple as that. But what does this mean, exactly? Think about Dryden's famous quote "We first make our habits, then our habits make us."

It's of utmost importance to understand that our lifestyle is just a combination of recurring patterns.

Yet, the choice is ours.

Knowing how bad habits impact our health, performance, and productivity can help you motivate yourself to break these habits.

Consuming sugary and calorie-ridden food slows down productivity

Consummation of heavy and sugary food and drinks is another way to significantly reduce our performance and make us tired. Well, not at first, and especially not while we are consuming them.

We've mentioned how proper nutrition can benefit your productivity rates so this would be the opposite. The reason is the sugar spike, or sugar rush, that we feel at first, obligatorily followed by a crash.

That's when the drop in both our energy and productivity levels happen.

It's a less known fact that our brain, despite accounting for only 2% of our body mass, consumes approximately 20% of our daily calories, another interesting detail we found in the HubSpot's Productivity diet report.

Dehydration of only 3-4% can result in a 25% drop in productivity and performance

Staying hydrated is one of the most overlooked aspects of our performance. Dehydration can cause serious health issues in the long run, and it should be quite obvious, considering 40-75% of our total body mass is water.

Our cognitive abilities, such as memory, critical thinking, and alertness are highly impacted even when we're experiencing mild dehydration.

Productivity statistics from The Hydration Equation report further indicate only 1% of dehydration can negatively affect one's performance by 12%, while 3-4% can take up a full quarter, 25% of our abilities.

That's why it matters to track your daily intake.

People are less productive when the room temperature isn't optimal

When the surrounding conditions are not optimal, they become a distraction for both our body and our mind. Why?

Well —it's hard to concentrate when you're shivering or sweating. We can't say what a perfect temperature is because it varies for individuals, not to mention groups of people from different parts of the world.

However, we can point to these 2 productivity statistics:

Furthermore, did you know that 20% of workers admitted that they had a problem with their coworkers, because of the difference in their preferred optimal temperature?

Bad work habits

Procrastination, distractions, inability to accept feedback, not taking regular breaks or being a team player are just some of the most common bad habits in the workplace.

When an employee struggles with breaking such habits, it is reflected not only in their professional achievements, but negatively impacts the whole company as well.

Learning how to recognize that you're not using your full potential is the first step in taking action to improve.

So let's check out which habits impact productivity, and in what way.

Multitasking can decrease productivity rates by 40%

Many people consider themselves to be great at multitasking and believe they are saving time that way. However, it turns out it's simply not true, or at least for the vast majority.

Multitasking is an impossible goal to achieve, or at least for a whopping 97.5% of people. The explanation lies in the wiring of our brain, as the neuroscience research pointed out, because, for most people, mental processing and attention simply can't be divided.

So what most people actually consider to be the definition of multitasking is that a person is supposed to completely focus on a task, then redirect 100% of that focus to another task. During the process, there are 2 operations for our brain to complete:

That's where the "task switch cost happens and cognitive demands increase.

Statistics show that, consequently, what we do while we think we're multitasking can lower our performance and productivity by a staggering 40%.

After distractions, it takes 23 minutes to regain focus

Being focused is the key element of being productive. This implies paying attention and doing a task without interruptions.

Think of the last time you were in "the zone" and someone interrupted you — it was obnoxious, right?

That's because it's not only the pace of our task performance that changes — our brain also completely transitions to a different mental state. As a consequence, it takes some time to get back into the previous mental state of being focused.

Evidently, a disruption from a full focus costs us 23 minutes and 15 seconds of productivity. That's how long it takes for our brain to re-focus on the task we were doing before we were distracted.

86% of executives agree ineffective communication causes productivity-related issues

Communication is the key element in every interaction. People are trying to convey what they want to express with the right words for the recipient to understand it correctly and not misinterpret the message.

However, when that doesn't happen, productivity is affected, especially in the workplace. Productivity statistics reveal 86% of the executives believe that ineffective communication is the main problem for all productivity-related issues. That's because it's often expected to be concise and even impolite if you're not concise — during meetings, when writing an email, etc. For this reason, everyone needs to work on improving their communication.

Workplace productivity statistics

Every successful business owner knows that tracking and managing productivity among the employees makes all the difference.

Not only is there a direct correlation between productivity and revenue but between productivity and employee morale as well.

Over the last couple of years, working conditions have significantly changed and the adoption rates of non-traditional work models have skyrocketed.

Remote work productivity statistics

At the beginning of the global pandemic, the whole world seemed to turn upside down. For the majority of companies, lockdowns and further measures of social distancing resulted in an abrupt change to employees having to work from home.

The adaptation period may have been difficult but the results actually showed positive results. The digital workspace removed many redundant aspects and distractions such as needlessly long meetings, time spent commuting, chatty coworkers, etc.

Such a more flexible work model pointed out several advantages of remote work — as a consequence, companies worldwide have been embracing it, and a lot of companies stayed remote even in 2021.

98% of employees would like a permanent remote work arrangement opportunity

For many people, the remote work setting was uncharted territory before the pandemic made it a requirement.

The transition was abrupt, or rather non-existent, and too many aspects suddenly started depending on the quality of our devices, as well as the quality of our Internet connection. Many people found it frustrating.

However, once they got used to the remote work model, the advantages started being obvious and the adoption rates have been skyrocketing ever since.

Before the unfortunate events, 44% of companies didn't have a remote work policy.

When it comes to the preference of working arrangements, the numbers differ for employers and employees.

This is what leaders think they should offer:

On the other hand, none of the employees agree that no remote policy should be an option. Their answers were as shown below:

50% of employees report feeling healthier while working remotely

The fact that half of the global workforce feels better while working remotely tells a lot.

People are able to better understand and organize their time, thus having a better work-life balance.

Productivity statistics from the report above indicate that 66% of employees say they often get more work done while working remotely, compared to when they had to go to the office.

An explanation for the majority of employees is that they feel they would otherwise use this time to commute, for example.

The difference in the number of emails between February 2020 and 2021 is 40 billion

As the shift to digital workspace happened with no warning, it boosted the importance of email communication.

As Deloitte reports, in the period of a single year (between February 2020 and February 2021), the number of sent emails grew to a stunning 40 billion.

The number of meetings also increased by 100%.

45% of workers miss social interaction in the office

One of the biggest issues while working remotely is that most people are used to interacting with their coworkers.

Chatting by the water cooler and going on breaks together can significantly improve the workflow, as the relationship between people strengthens and communication gets easier. Deloitte also examined what are the most common aspects of the in-office setting socialization and here are their answers:

Interpersonal relationships matter but, interestingly, remote work productivity statistics from the same report indicate that 55% of workers believe their co-workers are equally or more productive since they've started working remotely.

productivity statistics remote workplace

Office work productivity statistics

Working in the traditional office space puts some people in the correct mindset, and the very environment boosts their productivity.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of having a dedicated workspace (especially one that's not in one's home) and the productivity statistics below will help you understand the most important elements for both.

While working in the office, 55% of employees get 2 or fewer hours of deep work

What does it mean for an employee to be in a state of deep work? It is defined as the state of focused attention without any interruptions.

The data found in the 2021 Global Agency Productivity Report suggests that 55% of in-office workers don't manage to get over 2 hours of deep work. Ouch!

Let's check out and compare the numbers for in-office and remote workers.

In-office productivity — hours of deep work:

Remote work productivity — hours of deep work:

Small talk with coworkers is the biggest distraction in the workplace.

When it comes to productivity in the workplace, statistics show that 80% of in-office workers believe their most common distraction is chatting with their coworkers.

Some other common distractions include:

productivity statistics office productivity

37% of jobs can be done fully remotely

Both employers and employees have started embracing the advantages of remote work. One of the main issues for business owners was how to keep track of whether their employees are actually working.

Well, luckily, the tools we have available are more than enough.

According to CNBC, over one-third — 37% — of jobs in the US don't require coming to the office.

However, some tasks do require in-person meetings, so the percentage for partially remote opportunities is 56%.

It's not surprising that the companies report investing in remote technology resources, 40% saying their capabilities are currently "much better." For an additional 28%, said capabilities are "better", as stated in the article we've mentioned.

productivity statistics popular

Hybrid work productivity statistics

Innovative companies had started introducing a hybrid model of work much before the events of the pandemic. The model implies flexible working hours, a combination of remote and in-office work, or both.

Moreover, Nordic countries are slowly embracing a four-day week, allowing people to spend more time with friends, family, and leisure.

The impact on mental health was so positive that the productivity rates were boosted. Furthermore, the total weekly workload was't impacted in the vast majority of cases.

There's a 15% increase in the work-from-home days on a yearly basis

Not everyone is a fan of remote work. Some people simply don't have the conditions to work from home — but it's great that more and more companies are offering the option.

Before the pandemic, the percentage of working-from-home full days in the US was only 5% — according to Bloomberg. In a single year, the percentage grew to 20%.

That being said, working-from-home days are quite disproportionately distributed among the essential workers and the ones in higher positions.

The availability of partially remote, hybrid work will result in a 5–10% decline of money spent in major city centers, because many companies' choice for an office location is exactly the city center.

By industry, the possibilities of implementing the hybrid model go as follows:

productivity statistics hybrid workplace

54% of employees would leave their job for another offering flexible hours

As the number of companies offering different types of working conditions increases, employees are more likely to think about other options if the company offers only the traditional setting.

According to Gallup's research, 54% of employees would leave their job if an opportunity with flexible working hours arises. It's only logical, as flexibility is one of the key drivers for employee engagement and productivity.

Productivity statistics from the same research indicate that any kind of re-optimization of working arrangements results in at least a 5% productivity increase.

Only 4% of employees would prefer to go back to working on-site

The work conditions, demands, and possibilities around the world have changed, and everyone should accept that — especially business owners. The hybrid model of work proved to be beneficial for both sides and according to the latest Gartner survey, only 4% of hybrid or remote employees would prefer to be back in the office.

There are many potentially severe implications of the fact, as the HR director of Gartner suggests — companies could lose up to 39% of their workforce if they tried to force the traditional setting.

Interesting productivity statistics from all over the globe

As with basically everything else in life, certain distinctions exist depending on the part of the world. So, before we get to the conclusion, we'll share several country-specific interesting details about productivity.

Ireland is the most productive country in the world

If you're wondering how one can measure productivity on a country scale, it's just simple math. The equation is a gross domestic product per hour worked. Of course, many other factors can't be taken into account. The number of hours varies by country, and different industries are prevailing.

However, since we can't calculate all that, let's see the list of the top 10 most productive countries by the equation we've mentioned.

The numbers show how much an average worker contributes to the country's economy on an hourly basis.

productivity statistics top 10 most productive countries

In South Korea, productivity per hour grew a whopping 1,220% in less than 50 years

Productivity statistics by country reveal the staggering change in productivity in the period 1970-2017. For example, workers in the US saw a 115% increase in productivity, while it's 168% for the UK. The more the country is technologically advanced, the lower the increase was in the said period, at least for the majority.

Some countries, such as Venezuela, Nigeria, or Barbados actually saw a decline in productivity. The increase in South Korea is undoubtedly the highest reported — 1,220%. The only other country that got close to 1,000% (with 939%) is Ireland — coincidentally (or not) the most productive country in the world, as we've seen.

The percentages indicate a relative change in the overall productivity levels, which is a different category than the absolute change. The latter one refers to the wage increase and all the discrepancies can be attributed to the pay—productivity gap.

2 trials in Iceland proved shorter hours result in better productivity

Iceland was the pioneer in implementing the 4-day week and introducing shorter hours, hoping to prove it doesn't affect the workload. 2 experimental trials were conducted from 2015 to 2019 and turned out to be a major success.

Not only was the weekly workload completed, but the employees reported being more productive than usual. The result is better work-life balance, happier employees, and recognizing the importance of their personal lives and overall well-being.

As of 2021, a stunning 86% of the country's workforce has either moved to shorter hours, or has the right to negotiate such conditions. Followed by their example, a similar program is soon to be launched in Spain. Some other countries that are eager to try it out are New Zealand and Germany.

Productivty statistics conclusions

Different people apply different strategies to boost their productivity rates and the main question is whether one should focus on internal or external factors. We hope these productivity statistics will help you understand what matters the most in terms of improvement, so you can become the most productive version of yourself.

Once you master the productivity-related skills at the workplace, the same set of skills will help you improve your overall daily productivity, even when you're on vacation, and get the most out of your time.

Remember, various aspects impact productivity rates, and many of them have changed lately, as a direct consequence of the rapid shift to remote working conditions. This all may sound challenging, and we believe most people just don't know how to start tracking their time.

Like any other aspect in life, you can't get the best results if you don't track and measure the change.