Working from home has been a controversial and divisive topic in the last few years, particularly in the context of productivity. For every person that thinks it’ll work, there’s another manager who swears their team will have a doctorate in Netflix by the end of the first month.
But with a global pandemic induced lockdown comes opportunity (if you’d call it that) to work from home. Early research during this period by Prodoscore has suggested a 47% increase in productivity this year.
Where Is The Data?
The research evaluated 100 million data points from 30,000 Prodoscore users in the US during March and April of 2020. Compared to the data during the same period the year prior, telephone calling is up 230%, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system activity is up 176%, email activity is up 57%, and chat messages are up 9%.
Of course, everyone has their theory here:
- Are people more worried about their jobs now?
- Are people less distracted by their colleagues?
- Does the office commute take the wind out of our sails?
A Note On Meeting Productivity
During lockdown, document access fell by 26% and use of calendar apps reduced by more than 22%.
We’ve been told many times over the years that our meetings aren’t helping productivity, and some have paid more attention than others. Thankfully, this period has forced people to meet less.
I spoke to a world leader in workplace productivity last year, Carson Tate, on my podcast (here). Carson told me then she has to cut so many of her client meetings, simply because they make people less productive. However, it’s not until experiencing this that you can expect a true benefit.
Carson also told me that they can take place in about 10 minutes and that people schedule meetings because it makes them feel part of the “busyness epidemic” that they wear as a “badge of honour”.
I can tell you first hand that my lack of meetings has meant I’ve been able to be more productive and focus on other sides of my business. I assume this is the same for many others, too.
The research also found that chat applications, CRM, and email were the most popular tools utilised. This makes total sense given that’s how we’re staying in touch whilst not being in the office.
Productivity by Time and Day
The study also revealed that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most productive days (in that order) whilst Friday is the least productive day.
The most productive period of the workday was found to be 10:30 am to 3:00 pm, and getting into the right gear to being productive takes one to three hours.
Other advantages are decreased rental expenditure, reduction of carbon emissions, decreasing travel time, reducing fit-out expenses, and lowering office expenses such as electricity.
So despite the turmoil of COVID-19, there has been a benefit to productivity.
It will be interesting to see which companies follow in the footsteps of Spotify and Twitter (with Facebook also making plans) and allow staff to work from home, permanently.