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NextGen Magazine


Survey: Working Beyond 9 to 5 May Reduce One's Productivity

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Dec 7, 2023

Working more than employees are required to can actually make them less productive, a new survey revealed.

Those who do not work beyond the standard eight-hour day can be as much as 20 percent more productive, Slack's Workforce Index found after polling 10,333 full-time desk workers in the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom in August and September. Thirty-seven percent of the workers surveyed work beyond the required hours at least weekly, and 54 percent of them said it's because they feel pressured to do so. And 50 percent of the desk workers said that they never or rarely take breaks, despite such breaks being beneficial for productivity and well-being.

Those who work longer hours are 50 percent more likely to say they have too many competing priorities, which often include meetings. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents, including 55 percent of executives, said they spend too much time in them.

A majority of the workers surveyed said that more than two hours a day spent in meetings is “too much time." And respondents who say they spend too much time in meetings are more than twice as likely to say they don’t have enough time to focus.

Twenty-five percent of desk workers, including 43 percent of executives, say they spend too much time on email.

But some employees work outside of standard hours by choice, as it suits their schedules or enables them to pursue personal ambitions. These respondents reported no negative impacts, and slightly higher wellness and productivity scores.

“We’ve long seen a focus on quantity over quality across many aspects of work, from how we spend our time to how we define productivity,” said Christina Janzer, senior vice president of research and analytics, and head of the Workforce Lab at Slack. “Constantly feeling like you need to catch up is hurting employees and businesses. This underscores the importance of building a culture of trust where employees feel safe enough to speak up when they need help prioritizing and have the right balance of time in the work day to get work done.”