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Worker productivity best on Mondays, Tuesdays, depending on city


By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

Workers are most productive on Mondays and Tuesdays, according to new research from the staffing firm Accountemps.

More than half of the workers surveyed said their productivity peaked at the beginning of the week, with productivity declining significantly by Fridays.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), labor productivity is “a measure of economic performance that compares the amount of goods and services produced (output) with the number of hours worked to produce those goods and services.”

Productivity increased 3.4 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the first quarter of 2019, BLS reports, with unit labor costs decreasing 1.6 percent for seasonally adjusted annual rates. Manufacturing productivity increased 0.4 percent and unit labor costs increased 2 percent.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), from 1973 to 2017, net productivity rose 77 percent while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated, increasing 12.4 percent over 44 years (after adjusting for inflation).

Americans for Tax Reform points out that after the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 90 percent of wage earners have higher take home pay. It published 800 examples of new hires, pay raises, benefit increases, bonuses, facility expansions, and utility rate reductions where the companies cited tax cuts as a key factor.

Among those who are productive, many said they accomplish more work at the beginning of the day, the Accountemps survey found. About 44 percent say the early morning is when they get most of their work done; 31 percent say late morning works best for them. Only 2 percent say they like to “burn the midnight oil.”

Tuesday was reported as the most productive day across 13 markets and tied for the top spot in Denver and Houston. Nashville workers reported their most productive workday is Friday.

Employees ages 55 and older prefer to work in an office, with nearly half (45 percent) reporting they work best in a private office with a closed door, according to the survey.

About 38 percent of younger workers between the ages of 18 and 35 prefer working in an open office. Not far behind, 36 percent of the same age group said they prefer to telecommute, compared to 26 percent of professionals ages 35 to 54 and 17 percent of employees over 55 years old.

“Employers can play to the unique strengths of their team by knowing when and how they’re most productive,” Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, said in a prepared statement. “If you can provide access to their preferred workspaces or bring in temporary professionals to help staff reach peak productivity, do it. What matters most for the bottom line is the work employees get done – not where and when.”

The Accountemps survey also asked employees what the single biggest distraction to their workday is. Thirty-two percent said chatty and social coworkers, followed by office noise (22 percent), unnecessary conference calls and meetings (20 percent), cell phone use (15 percent), and unnecessary emails (11 percent).

Workers in Miami and Chicago said office noise is the most disruptive factor affecting their productivity. In San Francisco, workers said they were nearly equally distracted by cell phone use and chatty colleagues.

The Accountemps survey, conducted by an independent research firm, interviewed more than 2,800 workers nationwide.