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COVID-19 continues to ravage the US—an all-time high number of deaths in a single day, 3,600, was recorded for Wednesday, Dec. 16. In April of this year, the cumulative number of deaths from COVID-19 was 3,500, from the pandemic’s start through to April. The US economy and the workforce were upended, as efforts to slow the spread sent anyone who could to work remotely. A new report from Prodoscore analyzed productivity for remote workers from data gathered in a survey from the company’s 30,000 US-based users. A key takeaway from the report is that work hours have changed dramatically, as employees work from home.

“Work is now intermingled with our personal lives,” said Harprit Bhui, co-founder and VP product, Prodoscore. “How we engage with technology and utilize that to interact with our colleagues has become hyper critical. We see our platform as a vehicle to facilitate 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents all while enabling visibility to what we are doing.”

“The research is consistent with the larger body of psychological research showing the benefits of measuring productivity to support remote and on-site workers’ needs,” said Eric Frazer, Psy.D., Prodoscore research council member and consulting psychologist, assistant clinical professor-Yale University School of Medicine. The insights “such as ‘the productivity window'” advise give organizations the necessary information to implement enterprise strategies for building resilience and social support and prevent burnout and fatigue among their workers.”

Productivity in the workforce during COVID-19

Productivity was strong from March to May, with a slight 3% decrease in May through August 2020, but when compared to pre work-from-home orders from May through August of 2019, data revealed a 5% increase in productivity, which means that employees were more productive working remotely than they were working in an office.

“The presentation of productivity outlined in this report and what we will identify in future reports could challenge everything we know about the ideal work arrangement,” said Nadine M. Sarraf, chief marketing officer of Prodoscore and an author of the report. “The data we’ve uncovered sheds light on the way we work today, how that’s changed over time, and what it will look like in the future. “

The report revealed that the productivity window is narrowing. In its recent study, Prodoscore found the 10 am to 1 pm time slot is the most productive period, but earlier in 2020, people were most productive from 10:30 am to 3 pm.

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The workday isn’t starting as early (9:20 am) as it did in March and April (8:32 am) and it’s also ending sooner (5 pm vs. 5:38 pm)

However, but the report said “the five-day work week has mostly disappeared for the remote worker.” This is because employees continue to work on the weekends, as they began to do at the start of the pandemic.

Productivity is lowest on Friday, but the most productive day of the week is Tuesday, followed by Wednesday and Thursday.

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Changes needed due to current business environment

Prodoscore suggested possible reasons for the “shrinking workday.” Optimistic analysis purports employees may be better at time management. It is also a possibility that employees feel fatigued and overwhelmed from working too many hours, and do not have enough downtime.

“Today’s executives are having to make profound changes to adjust to the current business environment,” said Tom Moran, chief strategy officer at Prodoscore in the report. “With the distributed workforce here to stay, at least in some capacity, creating a streamlined experience for employees is imperative. Using data-driven insights will help advance decision-making that leads to more engaged, productive and happier employees.”

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