Survey Finds Workers Average Only Three Productive Days per Week

Unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings are among the top time wasters that workers around the world say make them feel unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek on average, according to results of an online Microsoft(R) Office survey announced last week.

Survey respondents also said that, as they grapple with the need to work longer hours and the desire for better work-life balance, they rely heavily on technology tools to help optimize their personal and team productivity.

Worldwide, survey participants revealed some interesting conclusions about the nature of productivity in their workplace, inluding these (U.S. findings are in parentheses):

  • People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive (U.S.: 45 hours a week; 16 hours are considered unproductive).
  • The most common productivity pitfalls are unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings -- chosen by 32 percent of respondents overall -- followed by unclear priorities at 31 percent and procrastination at 29 percent (U.S.: procrastination, 42 percent; lack of team communication, 39 percent; ineffective meetings, 34 percent).
  • Women had an average productivity score of 72 percent, compared with 71 percent for men (U.S.: women, 70 percent; men, 68 percent).
  • People spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings; 69 percent feel meetings aren't productive (U.S.: 5.5 hours; 71 percent feel meetings aren't productive).
  • Only 34 percent said they are using proven scheduling tools and techniques to help them gain more free time and balance in their lives. Likewise, 60 percent said they don't have work-life balance, and being unproductive contributes to this feeling. (U.S.: 31 percent said they are using proven scheduling tools and techniques; 66 percent said they don't have work-life balance.)
  • Workers said they receive an average of 42 e-mail messages per day (U.S.: 56).

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