What time are employees most productive?

HR leaders should take note of the highs and slumps of staff

What time are employees most productive?

The implementation of remote work across the world has made it impossible for employers to physically supervise their staff, which in effect caused them to lose a bit of sense of how their employees are being productive.

A recent survey of Milieu Insight among Southeast Asian employees sought to address that information gap, revealing that workers are most productive for five to six hours, particularly on the first half of the day.

Forty-five per cent of the 2,500 full-time employees in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam said they are productive for about five to six hours during a workday, with 25% saying they are productive for seven to eight hours.

Majority of these employees also said they are productive during the first half of the workday, from 8 a.m. to 12:59 p.m., according to the survey.

Non-work activities

While not working on a workday, 72% of the employees said they spend less than an hour on non-work activities, with majority of the respondents saying they browse social media, eat snacks, or call or chat their friends.

An interesting non-work activity that emerged amid remote work among Southeast Asian employees is housework, with a small number of employees saying they carry out household chores while not working despite designated work hours.

Read more: Four-day work week: The good and the bad for Southeast Asians

What does this mean for employers?

With these results considered, employers could take note of when and for how long employees say they are productive so they can plan for the day accordingly. This means that employers should give employees the time and space to complete urgent tasks, or activities that require concentration.

Meetings held in the morning should also be time-efficient, according to the Milieu report, while activities that require less energy such as attending seminars could be held after 1PM.

The results underscore the fact that the level of productivity from employees is not something that could be consistent every day. This is also applicable to the fact that employees may not also consistently take uniform breaks every day.

Employers should take note of another interesting finding from the survey, where employees are divided between taking long breaks or having scattered short breaks during a workday.

Milieu’s survey, which was carried out in January 2022, sought the responses of 2,500 full-time employees, divided equally from respondents from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

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