Employee Productivity Statistics

The State of Productivity

The productivity of employees is a major factor in the success of any organization, representing one of the most essential performance measures.

More precisely, workforce productivity is a major determining factor in the success of a business, with an indirect relationship to revenue. However, ensuring all employees remain productive is a challenging task, that requires reviewing a number of different inside and outside factors of an organization.


  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation are the most productive industries in the U.S.
  • Warehouses that use Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) report a 25% increase in productivity.
  • Ergonomic workstations improve cycle time by 18% and lean processes by 27%.
  • The average office employee is productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes (31%) of an 8-hour workday.
  • Checking social media is the most common distraction, with 47% of employees checking their feeds throughout the workday.


Productivity Statistics

Employee productivity varies between different industries, regions, and demographics.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly collects a number of statistics that dive deep into the differences of productivity in various areas of work.  Some of their results are discussed below.

Which Is The Most Productive Industry?

15 of the 21 major industries saw an increase in total factor productivity. The highest increase was observed in arts, entertainment, and recreation (15.1%), followed by accommodation and food services (12.4%), management of companies (6.2%), and information (4.6%).

However, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting experienced a decrease in productivity at -5.4%. This was followed by mining, which dropped by -3.9%. Notably, transportation and warehousing remained unchanged over the course of the year.

The reopening of museums, entertainment venues, sports arenas, and parks resulted in a remarkable 36.5% expansion in output, buoyed by an unprecedented 15.1% growth in total factor productivity and a sizable 18.6% increase in inputs. While this remarkable growth partially mitigated historic losses, further progress is needed.

The Most Productive U.S. States

In 2021, states such as the District of Columbia, California, and Tennessee experienced a surge in labor productivity of more than 4.0 percent. In contrast, Arkansas and Oklahoma saw no change in the efficiency of their labor force, as the output matched the number of hours worked.

On the other hand, data collected from nine states (Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey) indicated a decline in labor productivity as the number of hours worked increased more significantly than the output.

Productivity In An Aging Workforce

In the last fifty years, the number of noninstitutionalized senior citizens in the United States has increased steadily, and is expected to continue to do so. This population aging is one of the major components of the aging of the American workforce.

A study examining the difference in productivity between older and younger workers showed that 41% of productivity between younger and older workers was the same, while 31% percent reported that younger workers were more productive and 28% reported that older workers were more productive. Out of those findings, 58% stated that older workers had a better performance than younger workers. Presenteeism generally showed no significant differences between the age groups (61%). The only outcome where younger workers outperformed older workers was with absenteeism (43%).

As aging has come to workplaces, holistic approaches addressing total health are suggested to overcome the worldwide workforce aging phenomenon. Experienced older employees want more flexibility in how they work, like part-time or flex-time arrangements, and sabbaticals. These models will help keep them healthy and engaged in their jobs, which is important given the current worker shortage.

Industrial and Warehouse

Productivity Statistics

Labor productivity, measured as the output per hour of labor input, is an indicator of how effectively labor is utilized for the production of goods and services. Variables such as technological advances, capital investment, capacity utilization, and the utilization of resources can all have an impact on the growth of labor productivity.

Productivity In Manufacturing

In the second quarter of 2020, the manufacturing output and hours worked experienced the most significant decreases since World War II, with respective year-on-year decline rates of 43% and 38%, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The manufacturing output has shown signs of continuous growth in the second quarter of 2022, with a 3.5% increase from the previous quarter in 2019 that wasn’t affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. The hours worked for manufacturing have increased in all but two quarters since 2020 and have almost reached the level it was at in 2019 by 1.2%. With this, labor productivity for manufacturing has risen by 4.7% in 2022 when compared to 2019.

Warehouse Automation Labor Statistics

According to studies, labor is the highest operating cost in a warehouse, taking up 50 to 70% of a company’s warehousing budget. Therefore, it is essential to find the right technology and workforce to maintain high productivity levels and keep labor management cost-effective.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) have the potential to increase order accuracy levels to above 99.99%.
  • The accuracy of orders has always been important, and it has only become more so as customers have come to expect higher levels of service. By integrating directly into a warehouse management system, AS/RS can remove a lot of the human error that can occur when picking and shipping orders (Source)
Management System
Warehouses that use Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) report a 25% increase in productivity
  • Generally, companies often experience a 25% increase in productivity, a 10-20% improvement in space optimization, and a 15-30% decrease in safety stock when transitioning to an automated system from a paper-based one (Source)

Which Factors Influence Warehouse Employees’ Productivity?

An unproductive warehouse is an unsuccessful warehouse. Warehouse operations affect businesses and consumers in almost every industry. With lost productivity, warehouses risk losing time, money, clients and more.

Some of the causes that lead to a loss of productivity within a warehouse or industrial setting include:

Inefficient Facility Layout

Facility Layout

Saving time, reducing traffic, and maintaining organization within warehouses increases efficiency and lowers the opportunities for distractions.

Company Culture

Company Culture

It’s important that all messages come from the top and are carried out from the top down. In a machinery-filled facility of any type, safety should be a priority.



Flexibility or the lack thereof could be a huge non-motivator from a productivity standpoint.



Standardization and consistency helps employees feel heard and appreciated. When it’s easier to get a job done it is easy to stay motivated.

How Ergonomics Increase Productivity In Manufacturing And Warehouses

Employment in manufacturing facilities and warehouses often necessitates the performance of repetitive tasks, which can lead to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). WMSDs are injuries or dysfunctions of bones and soft tissues that are the result of continual movements, over-exertion, and difficult postures. According to the 2022 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, these injuries amount to $49.18 billion in direct U.S. workers compensation costs. 

By creating a safe and comfortable working environment, and prioritizing employee wellbeing, retention rates will increase. In addition, their enhanced environment will foster the highest levels of performance, reducing the amount of defective products and cutting down on preventable errors.

As a leader in ergonomic industrial workstations, BOSTONtec contracted The Ergonomics Center at North Carolina State University to conduct a study for the industrial environment.  See some of the findings related to productivity below.

Ergonomic workstations improve cycle time by 18%

Our study examined the assembly and packaging tasks of 10 different industrial workers—five male subjects and five female subjects, all with varying heights, weights, and BMIs.

The use of an ergonomically optimized, height-adjustable workstation resulted in an 18% improvement in both assembly and packaging task cycle time compared to a traditional, fixed workstation. Workers were able to complete tasks more efficiently, with the ergonomic workstation taking less time.

Workers completed packaging tasks in 2.20 minutes and assembly tasks in 3.78 minutes, as opposed to the 2.70 minutes and 4.62 minutes, respectively, required at traditional workstations.

By taking ergonomics into consideration in their planning and purchasing decisions, businesses can realize tangible benefits in the form of reduced cycle time, thereby leading to increased output and improved process efficiency.

Ergonomic workstations improve lean processes by 27%

The study showed that workers using fixed, non-optimized workstations had to make more non-value-added motions, which are movements that don’t add value, like looking for a washer or nut. Overall, the ergonomic adjustable workstations had 27% fewer of these types of motions for the packaging task and 39% fewer for the assembly task.

Non-value-added movements lead to increased cycle times and diminished efficiency. Ergonomic workstations, however, can reduce cycle time by enhancing worker productivity — through features such as adjustable heights, extendable arms and accessories, and improved organization.

Ergonomic workstations reduce ergonomic risk by 59%

By having an adjustable and optimized workstation, the number of reaches workers have to make outside of their reach zones is significantly reduced. For the packaging task there was a 59% improvement, and for the assembly task there was a 46% improvement.

The ergonomic workstation enabled the worker’s reach to remain within the Low Risk to Negligible Risk range, as indicated by the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) scores. In comparison, the fixed workstation resulted in a number of reach activities falling into the Moderate Risk to Low-Risk range.

Organizations can reduce costs associated with musculoskeletal injuries and strains by investing in ergonomically designed workstations for industrial workers. When employees experience fewer aches and pains, they are more likely to attend work regularly and carry out tasks with precision.

Ergonomic workstations increase usability by 76%

Workstations with ergonomic features, such as extendable arms and adjustable heights, allow a more diverse group of employees to complete their tasks efficiently. Worker productivity is increased when their stations are designed for ease-of-use. These workstations report a 76% increase in packaging tasks and 64% increase in assembly tasks.

Overall, there is clear evidence to support the need to focus on ergonomics in the industrial sector. Ergonomic workstations come with several benefits, including shorter cycle time, less non-value-added motions and fewer chances for worker injuries.

Organizations are increasingly introducing this type of workstation in order to cater to a growing population of aging employees. With longer working hours, there is a greater variety of physical abilities, muscular strength, reach, and pain thresholds. To ensure the health of their personnel and to maximize their overall productivity, companies are taking proactive approaches to support their workers.

Office Employee

Productivity Statistics

Having gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are forced to consider what type of work environment is optimal for each of their employees’ productivity and the tasks they need to complete. Additionally, the metrics used to measure employee productivity varies drastically depending on the industry, as the output or results of a typical work day are not identical across industries.

How Much Of The Day Are Employees Productive At Work?

This question varies drastically based on the industry – office, retail, industrial, medical, etcetera. 

In general, studies show employees in offices are productive only about 60% of the time. Additionally, most employees are more likely to be productive working from home when that is an option.

According to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, employees in the office setting are interrupted approximately every three minutes and five seconds. After these interruptions, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task after a distraction. 

The question then is, what are employees doing for the 23 minutes and 15 seconds while trying to re-focus?  It is easy to see how all of these factors add up to less than 3 hours a day of productivity, and leading to some employees preferring to work in an isolated environment at home to get more done.

While data on productivity within other industries is not available, we can conclude that time spent in various work environments during a shift longer than 5 hours would include unproductive time. 


The average employee is productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes (31%) of an 8-hour workday.


70% of employees admit to feeling distracted on the job.

What Causes Employees To Not Be Productive?

The main culprits of on the job office distractions are coworkers, ringing phones, loud conversations, and people moving around in the workplace. Regardless of the distraction, once an employee is distracted, it takes them an average of 23 minutes to refocus. 

Granted, not all distractions stem from external factors; some are employee-driven. 

Social Media


32% of employees’ workday is spent on Facebook. Studies show the average employee spends up to 32% of their time on social media, or 2.35 hours daily.



41% of employees say stress leads them to be less productive. 70% of employees want to reduce stress from commuting alone. Additional sources of workplace stress include low company morale (34%) project completion delays/failures (44%) lost sales (18%), and missed performance goals (25%).

Multi Tasking


Multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%. Our brains lack the ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Even in the moments we think we’re multitasking, we’re more likely just switching quickly from task to task. 

Top 10 Work Distractions

Checking social media is the most common distraction with 47% of employees checking their feeds throughout the workday.

Other common workplace distractions include reading news websites (45% of employees), discussing out-of-work activities with colleagues (38% of employees), making hot drinks (31% of employees), and smoking breaks (28% of employees).

When People Get Work Done

Our most productive time of day is 11 a.m., when we complete the most tasks (9.7% of all tasks). Which is ironic considering that after lunchtime, our productivity drops — and it completely plummets after 4 p.m. That means we have about one hour of optimal productivity. 

Understandably, after recovering from the Monday blues, Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. Employees are least productive at the end of the week (Friday, 16.7%) and unsurprisingly get virtually nothing done on the weekends (Saturday + Sunday, 4.7%).

Fall ranks as the most productive season, where the highest percentage of tasks are completed in October (9.5%). Winter is by far the least productive season when the lowest percentage of tasks are completed in January (7.2%).

What Makes Employees More Productive?

With staffing shortages in all industries, it is more important now than ever that employers figure out what makes their employees ‘tick’


46% of employees feel as though the appropriate digital tools make them more productive.  Few things are as frustrating as not having the necessary resources. Productivity and technology statistics continue to show us a correlation between technological sophistication and productivity.


89% of employees believe that gamification can increase workplace productivity. Having fun in the workplace and introducing friendly competition is a great way to increase engagement.


Stellar onboarding processes increase employee productivity by an astonishing 70%. Knowing that an employer has invested in timely and adequate front end training goes a long way in showing a new employee they matter.

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Increase Your Productivity With These Ergonomic Principles