Canadian Underwriter

Better productivity in the office? Think again, HR survey finds

July 7, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

In an illustration, a woman on the left is in business clothes working at an office desktop. On the right, she is in a hoodie working from a laptop in a home office.

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Remote work is now tied with the office as the place to do the most productive work, according to a new survey by recruitment and employment services provider Robert Half.

Forty-two per cent of professionals report accomplishing more work at home than at the office, finds the survey of more than 500 Canadian professionals across various fields, including finance. 

Comparatively, 23% of professionals are equally productive wherever they work. However, those who go in to the office perform best in a private space (42%) versus a collaborative one (14%). 

Productivity peaks early in the week, usually on Mondays and Tuesdays, whether at home or in the office, the survey found. These results are consistent with a pre-pandemic in 2019, before remote work became commonplace.  

Most professionals report working best in the late morning (9 a.m. to noon) and early afternoon (1 to 4 p.m.), regardless of where they work. Very few find themselves most productive during lunch or evening hours, according to the survey.  

Managerial concerns about flexible work have decreased, the survey finds. About two-thirds (67%) of employees find their boss cares more about their contributions to the company than they do about when and where they work.

Nonetheless, employees can do 15 things to boost productivity regardless of where they work, Robert Half suggests in a separate blog post. Three notable tips to employees include:

  • condense your daily to-do lists
  • aim for quality, not quantity
  • implement a formal time management strategy  

“When implementing a flexible schedule, managers need to set clear expectations; cultivate a culture that promotes trust and discourages micromanagement; and establish performance metrics based on results,” says David King, senior managing director of Robert Half Canada.  

By shortening your daily to-do list, employees can leave room for unexpected interruptions or short-notice projects, while setting realistic and achievable work goals. Further, focusing on one task at a time can help employees increase productivity, rather than repeatedly switching between assignments.  

Employees may also consider implementing a new method of structuring their work, Robert Half suggests. The Pomodoro Technique — whereby employees work for 25-minute increments and take five-minute breaks in between — can actually help professionals recharge between tasks and better focus on their work.  


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