[Infographic] Want to Be Less Productive? Here's How

2 minute read
Barry Levine avatar

Too much email, pointless meetings and interruptions by fellow workers. According to a new infographic from Atlassian, those are the three leading reasons you’re not getting as much work done as you’d like.

Atlassian, whose products include tools for project management and content collaboration, drew upon stats from various sources to compile its picture of why “working” is not the same as “being productive.”

$37 Billion Annually

Take email. Each worker receives an average of more than 300 emails weekly, checks their email an average of three dozen times in an hour, and spends an average of 16 minutes refocusing after dealing with email.

In other words, dealing with the stream of constant email is like losing an entire night’s sleep, in terms of ability to focus. The bottom line is more dramatic: annual productivity costs per employee are US$ 1250 because of spam, US$ 1800 due to unnecessary emails, and between US$ 2100 and $4100 because of “poorly written communications.”

Then there are those meetings, meetings, meetings. On average, an employee attends 62 meetings each month and considers half of them as time wasted. That’s 31 hours, or three quarters of a work week, spent in unproductive meetings each month.

In those meetings, as many as 91 percent of people daydreamed, about three-quarters did other work, and nearly half felt overwhelmed by how often they were meeting. Bottom line: a whopping US$ 37 billion in employee salaries annually wasted for unnecessary meetings.

Interruptions <> Productivity

What were we saying? Oh, yes, let’s not forget interruptions.

Learning Opportunities

Atlassian reports, on average, nearly an hour a day in interruptions, such as a chatty employee wandering to your desk, and about two hours a day spent recovering from distractions. Eighty percent of those interruptions are considered trivial.

All in all, 60 percent or less of an average employee’s time is actually spent productively.

Here's another way to look at it:


Infographic courtesy of Atlassian