Here at DeskTime, we did a study of the most productive employees to understand their habits and learn from them. Originally published on Daily Muse, the article took off and was republished by Mashable, Business Insider, Inc.com, and Lifehacker. Here’s the original and complete text of the study with even more useful tips to increase your productivity.
If you’ve been following the DeskTime blog, you know that attention is like a muscle – it can only be strained for a certain amount of time before it needs rest. Though this is undeniably true, and supported by multiple studies, sometimes we just need that extra boost to get sh*t done.
Now how do you hack your attention span, which is subject to biological law? Here are X tips to get you started, hack that attention span, and push the envelope to get things done.
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t need to think about how to get your employees to work more?Wouldn’t it be great, if it just happened all by itself?
That automatic habit of doing isn’t simply coincidence, and neither is it luck.
It’s a carefully crafted office culture of productivity.
Though it may come more naturally to some than it does to others, it’s possible to create a positive office culture that oozes productivity in any business.
DeskTime surveys every minute of over 250,000 employees in 105 countries around the world. As a result, we have a significant amount of productivity-related data that we can use the compare the de facto productivity of people around the world.
We’ve collected and compared data that shows us the most productive and unproductive countries in the world, based on their DeskTime productivity metrics. That is – the amount of time spent at work and the ratio of productive vs. unproductive apps they use.
We considered countries that had 100 DeskTime users or more, to achieve statistical significance. Of the 105 countries using DeskTime, 67 qualified under this criteria, making a total of 768 companies participating in this roundup.
So what are the most productive countries in the world, and which programs do they use?
Jack-o-lanterns, cotton cobwebs strewn across desks, office dress-up parties, punch with fake eyeballs floating in it, these are all staples of the typical Halloween office vibe. But none of these supposedly “scary” elements even compare to the terror that can be instilled by a boss, often with just a few words.
Here are some of the most terrifying things a boss can say, that are actually going to leave you fearful for your existence. The good news is, you don’t have to be helpless. Use this guide to prepare yourself for the worst, while making yourself a more valuable employee.
Employee motivation at the workplace seems to be a problem nowadays.
A study on employee engagement has found that 70% of employees are disengaged at work. For a manager whose success depends on the productivity of their employees, these statistics don’t exactly inspire confidence.
The chances are that your employees are counting down the minutes until they can shut down their computers and call it a day. That’s quite the opposite of the vision you have for dedicated, passionate employees who will stop at no ends to guarantee the success of your company.
Research from the University of California found that demotivated employees are 31% less productive, are 3x less creative and 87% more likely to quit than motivated employees.
And it gets worse:
It was calculated that every unmotivated employee costs the business an estimated $2246 a year. Now, imagine your company employs over hundred people, out of which 70% dislike their job… That’s a LOT of money they’re losing.
The question is: if 70% of all employees say they are disengaged and unmotivated at work, then what the heck are managers doing that terribly wrong?
It’s no great secret that the job market is more competitive now than it ever has been before.
Not only are there fewer jobs to go around, but there are more skilled workers with degrees, ambition, and experience waiting in the wings to take those jobs.
Many employees have started upping their game for promotional opportunities. Moreover, there is a need now to secure their current jobs in the face of budget cuts, and younger, more qualified competition. One method being employed is to put in extra hours at work.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
The most important tasks for a company owner or manager are to make sure that work is getting done, and everyone is moving in the same direction.
Each employee is like a cog in a complex machinery, and everyone has to be doing their job to reach the common goal.
However, all too often, managers and owners alike run into the challenge of dealing with unmotivated employees not doing their jobs. That can range from not coming to work, taking leisurely lunch breaks, not clocking in or out, and ultimately, cheating the system.
Well, I tried, here are the results.
A while back I came across research done by the University of Chicago. They found that drinking two beers helped accomplish creative tasks. Their reasoning was that it broke down barriers of critical thinking and helped them think outside the box to reach more solutions to the problem solving task they were given.
We recently pulled out the statistics of the most-used unproductive applications so far used in 2014. Some of the results are predictable, like social networks like Facebook and Youtube taking the top spots. Other results show us a change in working dynamic, for example, that Gmail is marked as a top unproductive app. Check out the rest:
Social media is dominating our work lives
Of the top 24 unproductive apps, 5 of those are social networking sites. Facebook, the undisputed leader of unproductive time spent at work, being by far the largest piece of the pie. Together, time spent on social networks accounts for about half of all of the unproductive time spent at work.
As social media takes an increasingly large role in our daily lives, it’s more relevant than ever that companies consider their policies on social media. One side of the debate maintains that time spent on social media is wasting company time, and therefore company money. Another side of the debate considers web surfing on social media as a necessary break throughout the day, saying that employees can’t be expected to be constantly engaged and productive for 8 hours straight.
It is not the presence of the technology itself that influences productivity but how it is used –Bulkey & Van Alstyne, 2004
In this study by Bulkey and Van Atstyne, they conclude that using social media itself isn’t what’s unproductive, rather than the reasons for using it. For example, social media can be beneficial for sharing information, gathering knowledge, networking and communicating with customers.
Email is no longer considered productive
The fact that enough people have designated email as unproductive application is a telling sign. It used to be that being in your email was a symbol of productivity. And while it is a helpful tool for communication, and can at times be very productive, recent tendencies in the workplace are showing people’s addiction to email, constantly checking, etc.
However the latest productivity specialists suggest that constant email checking is a habit that decreases productivity, as it pulls you out of a certain task, and you’re not left with a long enough stretch of time to delve deeply into your work. A study by Altos Origin says 40% of employee time is spent working on internal emails alone. Productivity experts say that 80% of those emails are a waste of time, bringing no value to the company.
Suggestions and best case practices offer creating a habit to limit email checking time to a few times per day, and working on them in batch. Other suggestions suggest to avoid email first thing in the morning, and rather tackle the day’s most important task right off the bat.
Some research shows that those employees who use social media throughout the day produce the same amount of results as those who do not, due to the mental break that it allows, and the resulting spur of productivity that occurs from a rested mind.
Video-watching at work is a thing
According to a study, 64% of employees watch videos at work. Our collected data shows that within the top unproductive applications you’ll find Youtube, Netflix and Hulu. This brings video-watching at work to 23% of all wasted time.
Similar to the argument on social media usage, breaking and relaxation is a necessary part of the working day to rest the mind so that the employee is able to return to their work at a higher level of productivity.
Food for thought
The working climate around us is changing. It’s up to you how you manage your time and build habits. A manager or business owner will have to decide on the policy on social media, email communication and leisure time at work. Will it be
Employees want to have fun as well. Besides social media, top visited unproductive applications include sites that are just plain fun(ny), like 9gag, imgur, and even just a site to play puzzles and logic games. We can see that employees are looking for entertainment throughout the day.