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.
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?
Another year has come to a close, and boy was it a productive one! From total hours worked, to projects completed, DeskTimers have a lot to be proud of this year.
So enjoy this year-end infographic and make 2016 even more productive than last year!
Do you run a small business? How do you keep tabs on your employees? Many small businesses don’t have an HR department; it’s up to you, the CEO, to monitor staff workflow and productivity. It’s a good thing that in this day and age, there are myriad tools to help. One way to complement your HR initiatives is through time tracking tools like DeskTime.
But don’t take our word for it – we surveyed 2000 DeskTime account owners and administrators to find out why they use our tool. Here are the top 5 reasons why they use time tracking and how your small business can benefit, too.
Everyone loves Fridays.
The first five days after the weekend might the hardest, but Friday’s the day it’s about to get easier. And when the weekend’s so close you can feel it, no wonder people end up leaving before it’s 5pm.
It turns out, leaving earlier doesn’t only apply to Fridays.
While web is a critical business tool, its misuse in the workplace could cost businesses more than $178 billion annually in lost productivity, as calculated by Websense. Your Facebook check doesn’t sound that guiltless anymore, huh?
Listening to music at work is still an individual thing – one can find it helpful, while others, disturbing. Yet, various studies claim that it’s able to boost overall workplace performance.
In a survey by Spotify, respondents admitted that music helps them do more because it creates a relaxing state, which makes them less nervous and fatigued, more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.
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.
The average size of a company using time tracking is 18 people. However, there are companies with 100 or 200 employees successfully using DeskTime (the productivity and time tracking software), the largest coming in at 430 employees. Working in the time tracking sphere, we’re often confronted with the question “well, who uses time tracking software anyway?” And so we’ve decided to give you a look into the different industries using time tracking, and why it works so well for them. To do that we’ve surveyed them all to find out what industries are already successfully using time tracking software in their companies.
Unsurprisingly, the top industries using time tracking are Marketing and IT tied for first place (both making up 21% each of the industries using DeskTime). In second place comes Web Development, and in third place comes Web Design. Together they make up about 3/4 of all the industries using DeskTime.
Here are the results from the DeskTime survey for a better look:
The results are significant.
What is it about these industries that make them want to use time tracking and productivity tracking software, and what are they gaining from it?
1. Accurately billable hours – it saves them time and money
What marketing, IT, web development and web designers all have in common is that they often work on a “project” basis. A certain project is expected to take a certain amount of time, and that amount of time is what will determine either the salary for said project of the employee, or the sum that will be asked of the recipient for the receiver of this project.
Tracking time, therefore, becomes a very useful tool. In stead of ball-parking an estimated amount of time it took to realise a project, you’re able to give a specific amount of time, which results in being paid exactly what you needed to be paid. We often round the amount of time down, or estimate less time. This gives you a fair and accurate figure of what you’re owed.
|DESKTIME PRO TIP
On DeskTime it’s possible to use the “Projects” function in order to track the amount of time spent on a very specific project. For projects that involve several employees (for example a designer and a programmer), you can even have the time spent on said project by cumulating it. All they have to do is both name the project exactly the same. (If the second person begins to type in the same name into the “create a project” category, they’ll see it already pop up as a pre-existing project). In this way, the administrator will see the total amount of time spend on the concrete project.
2. Real statistics on their personal productivity
The industries, which use time tracking successfully happen to be industries, where you’ll find the most technologically advanced, the most willing to apply technology to their everyday lives. Programmers, IT specialists, marketers and designers tend to be part of the group of people who are on top of the trends, and aren’t afraid of trying the latest software out there. This is why these industries are the first to say goodbye to ancient time sheets, and to embrace the online solution. People who are friendly with technology also have a tendency to look to the tech for a solution to an every day problem.
These people are also getting used to having measurable statistics readily at their fingertips – some examples include Google Analytics for those who manager web pages, Facebook Page Insights for those who manage corporate Facebook pages, and Facebook Graph searches for the generally curious. People want the data, so why wouldn’t they want data on how they spend their time at the computer? This is one of the reasons that we’ve made sure that the DeskTime reports section provides as much possible information.
3. Remote working becomes an easily implemented tool
Particularly with a job that can be done at a computer, remote working is becoming more and more common. Some startups and companies are even hiring talent from different companies. What makes this possible and easier is;
- Connectivity through the internet
- The possibility to collaborate online
Collaboration and knowing that your colleagues or employees are really working is important, and that’s exactly what an automatic time tracking software like DeskTime does, regardless of different time zones and being in different offices.
So some industries that would absolutely not benefit from time tracking would be those that spend a minimal amount of time at the computer. Say, agriculture, retail, (as in store clerks) and post officers. Because they wouldn’t track any time at a computer. For these industries there are alternative time tracking solutions, like clocking in, electromagnetic swipe ID cards, and time sheets. All of these require you to be physically present to complete the job.
Conclusion – not for everyone, but ideal for some
Time tracking and productivity software is not for everyone. However it is perfect for those who would benefit financially from the precise data, who are interested in different kinds of data, who work from a computer and possibly even from a different country.
*Because we only tracked industries for companies using DeskTime, we don’t see the data for individuals. Some may be interested to know that the highest “industries” for individuals are students, writers, and consultants.