Remote vs. in-office productivity varies, but meetings are killers

Employers and employees alike are thinking through the future of office work, be it fully remote, fully in office or hybrid, and productivity comes up often.

Results from a recent survey of office workers’ feelings vary, but productivity killers are similar in all settings.

Staffing firm Robert Half surveyed more than 2,400 office workers across a wide range of professions, and two-thirds of employees said they felt their boss cares more about their contributions to the company than when and where they work.

One in five professionals said productivity was equal wherever the work occurred. Thirty five percent said they accomplish more at home, and for those commuting to the office, 43% said they perform the best in a private space rather than a collaborative one.

Regardless of the setting, professionals have a pattern of productivity throughout the week and individual day.

“Monday and Tuesday were the times people felt, either at home or in the office, that they got the most work done. Most employees said that they hit their stride in the late morning between 9 and 12, or early afternoon between 1 and 4,” said Trey Barnette, regional vice president for Robert Half in D.C.

When asked what most impedes their productivity, the overwhelming answer was universal, no matter the setting.

“Unnecessary calls and or meetings with colleagues and especially with superiors. Doing those during the middle of the day, unnecessarily or without any true content will make people exhausted and unproductive,” Barnette said.

Separate research from Robert Half shows 27% of managers don’t mind if their direct reports put in fewer than 40 hours a week as long as the job gets done.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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