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The stunning connection between after-hours work and decreased productiveness

The stunning connection between after-hours work and decreased productiveness

2023-12-09 02:29:35

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

Key learnings embody:

  • Workers who log out 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 in the course of the workday improves worker productiveness and well-being, and but half of all desk staff say they hardly ever or by no means take breaks.
  • On common, desk staff say that the perfect 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 contemplate these hours extremely productive.

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

The newest outcomes from the Workforce Index, Slack’s survey of greater than 10,000 desk staff, present the productiveness hole will depend on what’s driving staff to burn the midnight (or early morning) oil. About two out of each 5 desk staff (37%) are logging on outdoors 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.

Workers who really feel obligated to work after-hours register 20% decrease productiveness scores than those that log out 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 surroundings
  • 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 further 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 normal workday.

On the flip facet, staff who work outdoors of ordinary hours by alternative, to raised swimsuit their schedule or to pursue private ambitions, report no unfavourable 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. Always feeling like you’ll want to catch up is hurting staff and companies. This underscores the significance of constructing a tradition of belief the place staff really feel secure sufficient to talk up after they need assistance prioritizing and have the correct stability of time within the work day to get work finished.”

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 stability their time at work, with totally 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. An analogous 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 staff.

Alarmingly, the info exhibits that many staff throughout all ranges are plowing via their each day duties with none down time: Half of desk staff surveyed (50%) say they hardly ever or by no means take breaks in the course of the workday. These staff are 1.7x extra prone to expertise burnout.

Their break-taking counterparts, alternatively, present 62% larger scores for work-life stability, 43% larger potential 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 at all times on and that we have to burn out to be able to succeed? It goes again to the primary Industrial Revolution, after we began revering machines. The aim of machines is to attenuate 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 World
Workers who regularly take breaks have 13% higher productivity

Prime productiveness hours: Whether or not you’re a morning particular person 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 broadly, 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 contemplate these hours extremely productive.

“This goes to indicate 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 nasty factor; for a lot of staff this could possibly be a super time to take that break that can enhance their total productiveness for the day.”

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

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

The “Goldilocks Zone” for work: stability your workday to optimize your productiveness

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

No matter job tier, the analysis exhibits a “Goldilocks Zone” for the perfect stability of focus time, collaboration time, social connection, and downtime. On common, desk staff say the perfect 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 analogous 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, most typical amongst staff with lower than one 12 months at an organization and people underneath 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 stability provides you the vitality you’ll want to work your finest. We can not contemplate these essential parts of our work in silos. To be our simplest, we should create the house for collaborative work and for centered 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 liberate time

On the identical time that desk staff are scuffling with time administration, many are additionally excited in regards to the potential of AI instruments to provide 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 powerful sense of urgency. And but, our survey exhibits 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 almost all desk staff (greater than 80%) say that AI instruments should not bettering their productiveness at work—but. However they’re anticipating that AI will help with one of many largest struggles of the workday: conferences. The highest three actions that staff count on AI will present probably the most worth sooner or later are 1) assembly notes and recaps 2) writing help and three) automation of workflows.

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

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

Are you working onerous or working good? Dive deeper into what the info exhibits about the right way 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.Ok. between August 24 and September 15, 2023. The survey was administered by Qualtrics and didn’t goal Slack or Salesforce staff 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 suppose 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, workforce chief), senior employees (i.e. non-management), expert workplace employee (e.g. analyst, graphic designer). For brevity, we check with the survey inhabitants as “desk-based” or “desk staff.”


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