Across multiple channels, Ireland has been named the most productive country in the world, based on a wide array of factors. Data from time tracking and productivity app DeskTime found that among 150 countries surveyed, with over 250,000 employee participants, the Irish workforce was found to have the highest productivity percentage.

The DeskTime data found that the Irish workforce spends 94.7% of time at work productively, while the runner-up, Germany, has a productivity percentage of 92.7%. Other top-performing countries include Indonesia (92.5%), Mauritius (91.9%), and Argentina (90.8%). Productivity percentage is calculated based on the amount of time spent using productive applications while at the computer, compared to unproductive applications, as defined by the employer. Altogether, 768 companies participated in the study.

The findings are consistent with a study on national productivity by the OECD, which found Ireland as the most productive country in the OECD, though based on different statistics as the DeskTime report. The study by the OECD found that Ireland contributes a far higher amount to the national GDP per hours worked than other surveyed countries. The contribution to the GDP of the Irish workforce provides on average $142.50 (USD) per hour worked, compared to $104.9 as the OECD average. Greece takes the lowest position, with $93.6 per hour.

Conversely, the least productive country was noted as Japan, with a 41.6% productivity rating. Contrary to the popular notion of the Japanese workforce working extremely long hours to the brink of exhaustion, the study implies that though many hours are spent at work, the time at the computer is spent not necessarily tending to work-related tasks.

Despite being a highly productive workforce, the Global Attitudes Towards Work report found that the majority of the Irish workforce – 51%, identified as “dissatisfied with their job”. Meanwhile, Germany, the USA and France reported the happiest workforce, with 64% demonstrating high levels of satisfaction.

Proof that productivity is not tied to a rigid 9-5 work schedule, the same report found that the Irish workforce rates timeliness low on their list of priorities (4.21%), when compared to other European countries such as Germany (66.7%) and Sweden (67.3%).

The most used productive applications used by the global workforce, based on the study by DeskTime, included email apps such as Gmail and Outlook, word processing apps such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs, communication apps such as Slack and Skype, as well as developer tools, such as PhpStorm.

The most commonly used unproductive apps globally include social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, communication apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram, and a surprising amount of video and media applications, such as Youtube. VLC, Netflix and Windows Media Player. This is a change in workplace culture thanks to the rise of video streaming technologies. In fact, 37% of individuals from around the world have admitted to watching video streaming services at work, according to the New York Times.

These findings reflect a developing work culture, where hours put in is not the defining criteria of success, both in terms of business development and GDP growth. Where strict schedules become more laid back, and a focus is placed more on getting work done, even if it means breaking for a quick Youtube video to give the mind a rest. After all, the mind is like a muscle, and can’t be flexed all the time.

Prepared and edited by @EdinaZejnilovic, Journalism Student at DCU.


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