The State of Productivity in 2021: How Productive Are People?

In today's fast-paced world, people are always searching for ways to make a smarter use of their time. Our to-do lists are longer than ever before, creating an entire industry built around productivity and maximizing each minute. This drive for productivity has hit the workplace, too. Companies around the world have started to track the trends in their office, compiling and analyzing data to learn more about the productivity and collaboration happening each day within their business. So, what does the data say about the state of productivity in 2021?

Productivity has risen 253% in the last seven decades.

Season Hours GIFAmericans are collectively accomplishing more, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. Over the course of that 70 years, workers have been equipped with an entire arsenal of new tools that are designed around streamlining processes and optimizing the mundane tasks to cut cost and speed up operations. The first copier didn't even hit the mainstream business market until 1959 - look at how far we've come!


The average U.S. worker works 8.8 hours per day.

the loud house sun GIF by NickelodeonInc. data shows that the average American worker spends ~44 hours per week at work. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are working. Between office chit chat, smoke breaks, phone calls unrelated to work, and snacking, up to an hour and a half could be taken from the workday. Couple that with research showing the average employee spends an hour and a half scrolling through social media, and you've got plenty of wasted time on your hands. 


U.S. companies waste $37 billion on unnecessary meetings.

meeting startup GIF by chuber channelMore specifically, employers spend this staggering amount on the employees in these meetings alone. The $37 billion figure doesn't even account for opportunities and productivity lost in exchange for holding a company meeting that could have been an email. The average amount of time that an employee spends on meetings has increased every year since 2008, according to With an estimated 55 million meetings held per week, it's safe to assume that a few of those could probably be cut from the roster. 


Higher employee satisfaction brings higher productivity. 

Moving Customer Service GIF by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®It seems like common sense, but it's worth repeating - more happiness brings more productivity. Forbes reports that happiness in the workplace boosts productivity by 20%. On top of that, highly engaged employees who are invested in their company and its work have double the productivity of disengaged employees. Unfortunately, engaged employees are much more difficult to come by. Gallup data shows employee engagement is on the decline with 14% who are actively disengaged and 54% who are "not engaged." In other words, 68% of employees are either giving the bare minimum or less when they come to work each day - how can we change that? 


Poor communication is dragging down productivity. 

talking season 2 GIF by Blunt TalkA Salesforce poll revealed that 86% of employees and executives believe that a lack of collaboration caused by poor communication is the main cause for failures in their line of work. For staffers, the problem is even worse with nearly 3/4 saying that their company feels disconnected because vital company information doesn't reach them. These statistics aren't only crushing employee satisfaction, they're also holding back bottom lines from reaching their full potential. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that miscommunication among 100 employees creates an average loss of $420K for a company annually - that's nearly half a million dollars left on the table.

So, how do you improve team communication?

In short, improving team communication all starts with a two-step process: having the right tools and training on how to use them. With many companies shifting to hybrid work - partly in-office and partly remote - or remote operations altogether, having proper communication and collaboration tools is more important than ever before. While there are thousands of software solutions out there that promise to revolutionize the way that your business works, our team believes in the value that Microsoft 365 brings to the table.

Office Software Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (Monthly Subscription)  for School Staff | Office Software on Alzashop.comIn a world where anyone can work from anywhere, having accessible and agile tools that simplify data sharing and collaboration is the difference between a company that is taking full advantage of their technology stack and one that is letting technology hold them back from their full potential. Microsoft 365 bundles together today's leading business software - OneDrive, Word, PowerPoint, and more - coming together to create a set of tools that work hand in hand to simplify operations and improve the way that your business works.

Having the right tools is only half of the battle - proper training is the key to helping you make the most of any tool that you have at your disposal. "Training" may mean partnering with a technology integrator like SeedSpark to share insights with your team or spending a few hours on YouTube learning the ins and outs of your software. Whatever your needs require and your budget affords, investing resources in proper training are the key to seeing a return on your technology investment. 

Interested in learning more about what trends are impacting the workplace? Our team broke down Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index to hit the highlights of the changes that are evolving workplaces around the world. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breakdown and stay up to date with our 5-Second Tech Tips each week! 
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Written by Samuel Adams

As a lifelong fan of technology, Sam has always had a deep interest in learning about the latest innovations and how they are revolutionizing the worlds of business, marketing, and entertainment. As Social Media and Content Specialist at SeedSpark, he spends time chasing the newest trends and breakthroughs pushing the digital transformation in our personal and professional lives.

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