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The stunning connection between after-hours work and decreased productiveness

The stunning connection between after-hours work and decreased productiveness

2023-12-10 15:29:56

Fast take: How do you spend your time at work and what’s it costing you? Slack’s Workforce Index, based mostly on survey responses from greater than 10,000 desk staff across the globe, uncovers new findings on find out how to construction the workday to maximise productiveness and strengthen worker well-being and satisfaction.

Key learnings embody:

  • Staff who sign off on the finish of the workday register 20% larger productiveness scores than those that really feel obligated to work after hours.
  • Making time for breaks through the workday improves worker productiveness and well-being, and but half of all desk staff say they not often or by no means take breaks.
  • On common, desk staff say that the best quantity of focus time is round 4 hours a day, and greater than two hours a day in conferences is the tipping level at which a majority of staff really feel overburdened by conferences.
  • Three out of each 4 desk staff report working within the 3 to 6pm timeframe, however of these, just one in 4 take into account these hours extremely productive.

For many years, placing in additional hours on the workplace was seen by many as an indication of laborious work and productiveness, even a badge of honor. However new analysis from Slack reveals regardless of that longstanding notion, working after hours is extra usually related to decrease ranges of productiveness—and could possibly be a purple flag that an worker is juggling too many duties and desires assist prioritizing and balancing their time.

The most recent outcomes from the Workforce Index, Slack’s survey of greater than 10,000 desk staff, present the productiveness hole depends upon what’s driving staff to burn the midnight (or early morning) oil. About two out of each 5 desk staff (37%) are logging on exterior of their firm’s normal hours no less than weekly, and greater than half (54%) of those staff say it’s as a result of they really feel pressured to, not as a result of they select to.

Staff who really feel obligated to work after-hours register 20% decrease productiveness scores than those that sign off on the finish of the usual workday. In addition they report:

  • 2.1x worse work-related stress
  • 1.7x instances decrease satisfaction with their total working atmosphere
  • 2x larger burnout
Employees who feel pressured to work after hours report 20% lower productivity throughout the day

Each teams say round 70% of their time spent working is productive—an indication that these working additional hours are placing in as a lot effort as their colleagues—however those that work after hours are 50% extra prone to say their productiveness is blocked by competing priorities in comparison with those that log a regular workday.

On the flip aspect, workers who work exterior of normal hours by selection, to higher swimsuit their schedule or to pursue private ambitions, report no unfavorable impacts and even a slight uptick of their wellness and productiveness scores.

“We’ve lengthy seen a deal with amount over high quality throughout many facets of labor, from how we spend our time to how we outline productiveness. Continuously feeling like it’s essential to catch up is hurting workers and companies. This underscores the significance of constructing a tradition of belief the place workers really feel protected sufficient to talk up once they need assistance prioritizing and have the appropriate steadiness of time within the work day to get work achieved.”

In relation to productiveness, it’s not amount of time spent working, it’s high quality

Outcomes from the Workforce Index present that a good portion of desk staff throughout the globe are struggling to steadiness their time at work, with completely different job tiers experiencing this downside in several methods.

A couple of in 4 desk staff (27%), together with greater than half (55%) of executives, say they spend an excessive amount of time in conferences. The same share (25%) of all desk staff, together with 43% of executives, say they spend an excessive amount of time in e-mail.

One in 5 (20%) don’t have sufficient time to attach with coworkers, and this downside is most pronounced amongst extra junior workers.

Alarmingly, the info reveals that many staff throughout all ranges are plowing by their day by day duties with none down time: Half of desk staff surveyed (50%) say they not often or by no means take breaks through the workday. These staff are 1.7x extra prone to expertise burnout.

Their break-taking counterparts, alternatively, present 62% larger scores for work-life steadiness, 43% larger capability to handle stress and nervousness, 43% larger total satisfaction, and—maybe surprisingly—13% larger scores for productiveness.

“Why did all of us come to imagine that we’re extra productive if we’re all the time on and that we have to burn out with a purpose to succeed? It goes again to the primary Industrial Revolution, after we began revering machines. The aim of machines is to reduce downtime. However for the human working system, downtime will not be a bug, it’s a function. Elite athletes know that restoration is a part of peak efficiency. Downtime is a productiveness multiplier.”

Arianna HuffingtonFounder and CEO, Thrive International
Workers who regularly take breaks have 13% higher productivity

Prime productiveness hours: Whether or not you’re a morning individual or an evening owl, the afternoon hunch is actual

On common, desk staff say that 70% of their time at work is productive. When requested about prime hours for productiveness, solutions range extensively, with some desk staff preferring the morning and others preferring the night. However irrespective of their desire, a majority (71%) of desk staff agree that the late afternoon is the worst time for work, with productiveness plummeting between the hours of three and 6pm.

Whereas three out of each 4 desk staff report working within the 3-6pm timeframe, just one in 4 take into account these hours extremely productive.

“This goes to point out that productiveness isn’t linear. Productiveness occurs in bursts, on and off all through a day, not essentially in prescribed home windows of time, and positively not for eight consecutive hours. The ‘afternoon hunch’ shouldn’t be seen as a foul factor; for a lot of staff this could possibly be a super time to take that break that may enhance their total productiveness for the day.”

Christina JanzerSVP of Analysis and Analytics and Head of the Workforce Lab, Slack

The most efficient individuals use time administration methods. They’re 1.6x extra prone to block time to finish particular duties, 1.7x extra prone to solely examine e-mail at particular instances, and a pair of.2x extra prone to set focus timers.

The “Goldilocks Zone” for work: Easy methods to steadiness your workday to optimize your productiveness

Whereas there’s no one-size-fits-all schedule that applies throughout all industries, roles, and job ranges, a detailed examination of the info reveals a system rising to set workers up for fulfillment.

No matter job tier, the analysis reveals a “Goldilocks Zone” for the best steadiness of focus time, collaboration time, social connection, and downtime. On common, desk staff say the best quantity of focus time is round 4 hours a day. Greater than two hours a day in conferences is the tipping level at which a majority of staff say they’re spending “an excessive amount of time” in conferences, with an identical sample rising throughout all job ranges. Individuals who say they spend an excessive amount of time in conferences are greater than twice as prone to say they don’t have sufficient time to focus.

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In distinction, about 10% of desk staff, commonest amongst workers with lower than one yr at an organization and people below 30, say they spend too little time in conferences, and that is additionally related to decreased sense of belonging and productiveness.

“Focus time, collaboration time, connection, and relaxation are just like the macronutrients of a workday. The proper steadiness offers you the power it’s essential to work your finest. We can not take into account these important elements of our work in silos. To be our simplest, we should create the house for collaborative work and for targeted work.”

David ArdSenior Vice President of Worker Success, Slack and Salesforce

What do desk staff most need from AI? Help and automation to rightsize the assembly load and unencumber time

On the similar time that desk staff are scuffling with time administration, many are additionally excited concerning the potential of AI instruments to present them extra command over balancing their time.

An amazing majority of executives—94%—really feel some urgency to include AI into their organizations, with half of executives saying they really feel a robust sense of urgency. And but, our survey reveals that adoption of AI continues to be in its infancy, with just one in 5 desk staff reporting that they’ve used AI instruments for work.

Given the low adoption, it’s not stunning that the majority desk staff (greater than 80%) say that AI instruments usually are not bettering their productiveness at work—but. However they’re anticipating that AI will help with one of many greatest struggles of the workday: conferences. The highest three actions that workers anticipate AI will present essentially the most worth sooner or later are 1) assembly notes and recaps 2) writing help and three) automation of workflows.

“Individuals at each job degree could also be shocked to see that greater than two hours of conferences a day reduces productiveness. It might really feel unrealistic to many staff leaders to attempt to hit that concentrate on right this moment. However that’s the place the most recent technology of AI instruments could possibly be a lifesaver. An AI assistant that might precisely summarize assembly notes and automate frequent workflows could possibly be the important thing that frees up our time and helps us to unlock the steadiness we have to set ourselves up for fulfillment.”

Christina JanzerSVP of Analysis and Analytics and Head of the Workforce Lab, Slack

Are you working laborious or working good? Dive deeper into what the info reveals about find out how to optimize your time at work in our webinar New research uncovers the secret to a productive workday.


The Workforce Index surveyed 10,333 staff within the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the U.Okay. between August 24 and September 15, 2023. The survey was administered by Qualtrics and didn’t goal Slack or Salesforce workers or clients. Respondents had been all desk staff, outlined as employed full-time (30 or extra hours per week) and both having one of many roles listed beneath or saying they “work with knowledge, analyze data or assume creatively”: government administration (e.g. president/companion, CEO, CFO, C-suite), senior administration (e.g. government VP, senior VP), center administration (e.g. division/group supervisor, VP), junior administration (e.g. supervisor, staff chief), senior workers (i.e. non-management), expert workplace employee (e.g. analyst, graphic designer). For brevity, we consult with the survey inhabitants as “desk-based” or “desk staff.”


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