Sunday nights can be scary before the work week begins, but Monday and Tuesday, especially in the morning, are when employees are most productive, suggests new research from staffing firm Accountemps. More than half of workers surveyed said their productivity peaks at the beginning of the week, with Monday (29 percent) edging out Tuesday (27 percent) by two points. After Hump Day (20 percent), worker productivity dips: 13 percent of employees do their best work on Thursdays, followed by 11 percent on Fridays.
Many professionals said they accomplish more work at the start of the day: 44 percent are most productive in the early morning and 31 percent in late morning, compared to 2 percent, who like to burn the midnight oil. It’s probably best to avoid scheduling meetings at noon: only 2 percent of workers surveyed said they get the most work done at lunchtime.
For peak productivity, where is as important as when to work, but employees are divided:
- Those ages 55 and older have the strongest preference for working in an office, with nearly half (45 percent) reporting they work best in a private office with a closed door, according to the survey.
- Meanwhile, working in an open office (38 percent) was the top response among 18- to 34-year-olds.
- Telecommuting was a close second choice for younger workers, at 36 percent, compared to 26 percent of professionals ages 35-54 and 17 percent of employees 55 and up.
Employees were also asked about the single biggest distraction that impacts their productivity during the workday. Coworkers who are too chatty and social topped the list (32 percent), followed by office noise (22 percent), unnecessary conference calls and meetings (20 percent), cell phone use (15 percent), and unnecessary emails (11 percent).
Steinitz added that workers should hold themselves accountable for their own productivity and offered suggestions for minimizing disruptions: “Employees should focus on important assignments when they’re most alert and energized, and if necessary, consider posting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at their desk or switching team chat status to ‘Busy.’ Finding ways to shut out distractions can help maximize productivity, no matter the day, time or place.”
The survey revealed the following differences by market:
- While workers, on average, ranked Monday as their most productive workday, Tuesday came in first across 13 markets and tied for the top spot in Denver and Houston.
- Nashvillians are the most likely to have productive Fridays, at 21 percent.
- In Miami (35 percent) and Chicago (26 percent), office noise is the top productivity disruptor.
- Workers in San Francisco are almost equally distracted by their cell phones (25 percent) as they are by chatty colleagues (26 percent).
- Los Angeles professionals report a near-even split for preferred workspaces: 24 percent for open office, 31 percent for private office, 22 percent for working from home and 22 percent for working from an offsite location.
About the Research
The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments in the United States.
Productivity at work can hinge on what you do off the job. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and get adequate sleep. Being out of balance in any of those three areas can throw off your ability to concentrate.