How Productive Are Full-Time Workers?

A survey showed that full-time workers feel that they are productive for only about 28 hours of each work week, on average. Another survey showed that many executives believe that their employees are working at only 60 to 65% capacity. There are several reasons why so many full-time workers are not as productive as they could be, including unclear goals, inefficient processes and pointless meetings.

More about work productivity:

  • An international survey of workers revealed that employees receive an average of 42 emails per day.

  • In the US, male full-time workers work an average of 8.3 hours per day, and women who are employed full-time work 7.8 hours a day.

  • There are many time management techniques and tools available, but only about one-third of all workers use one of these systems.

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Discussion Comments


The real reason is likely to be: insufficient compensation. The wealthy, non-salaried get wealthier on the efforts of those who work. All human societies are socialist to one extent or another.

The real problem is when those who don't work (and are subsidized) do nothing productive for those who do work. Teachers are subsidized by the shoemaker and the barber. What does a hedge fund manager like Chelsea Clinton or George Sorros contribute or provide to the truck driver or car mechanic or the teacher? The function of government (taxes) is to make sure those who do not produce anything useful, are forced to contribute and pay their fair share.

Unfortunately, after 30 plus years of 'trickle down,' the failure of the most wealthy 2 percent to pay their fair share has produced the same results twice: 1929 and 2007. The top 2 percent cannot continue to be both a complete non-productive drain on any society or allowed to be hoarders of wealth without, in my opinion, causing inevitable economic collapse.

The "Robber Baron" period of the late 1800s and our current period of the 1980s forward are the warning period. If strenuous and complete regulation is not imposed now as it was after the 1929 collapse, there will be another complete collapse.

Unfortunately, I do not think President Obama or Congress is up to this task. I would like to see Romney get elected and the Republicans completely destroy the economy so that they and their philosophies and goals are "finally" demonstrated to be harmful in the extreme and that anyone espousing them is quickly eliminated.

What truly amazes me is the number of supposedly intelligent people who will elect someone who lies and steals from them! Unless, perhaps I have it wrong, and these people are not intelligent?


As a teacher, I worked seven hours and 11 minutes every day with a 35-minute lunch. No real breaks. I very seldom sat down during my working day to just take a break. At home in the evening I worked another couple of hours and usually put in 6 to 8 hours on a weekend. It took longer when report cards were due.

I added up all my extra hours (of meetings beyond the school day, grading and writing lesson plans) that year and it added up to 40 extra work days. My summer was "45 work days" off. Most teachers I know work very hard.


Michener's book "Poland" had figures on how many hours people worked while on their jobs. This was published in the '80's perhaps. At that time, Americans worked about 68 percent, Hong Kongers about 95 percent, and Polish about 16 percent. The Polish government divided the number of full time jobs by full time workers and got two jobs per person. The workers were working on one job and sleeping on the other. There was a factory where workers had broken through to a vacant building and put beds in there. But bear in mind, these figures were for around the time that Communism still held sway.


What about the 10 minute smoke break per hour that becomes 15 minutes?

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