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ActivTrak Productivity Lab: 20% of Employees are Disengaged Due to Ongoing Underutilization, up 67% from 2021  

With risk of attrition on the rise, organizations that lack critical insights face millions of dollars in potential workforce investment losses

The ActivTrak Productivity Lab today released its 2024 State of the Workplace: Emerging Technology & Employee Engagement Trends, a study of digital workplace behaviors revealing that 20% of employees are disengaged1 due to ongoing underutilization, a 67% increase since 2021. Meanwhile, 7% of employees risk burnout due to overutilization. With nearly 30% of workers at risk of attrition due to workload imbalance, organizations face millions of dollars in potential workforce investment losses.

The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. Assuming an average voluntary turnover of 20%, a 1,000-employee organization with 27% attrition could lose an additional 70 employees — equal to $2.1M in replacement costs — due to workload imbalance.2

The Productivity Lab examined three years of anonymized insights based on 958 companies, 135,098 users and 96,912,446 hours worked, representing one of the most direct and objective studies of productivity based on actual behavior (versus self-reported surveys). The study reflects user behavior examined from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 18, 2023 across productivity, engagement and technology adoption. 

Key Findings 

Engagement findings show that 27% of employees risk attrition due to burnout or disengagement.

  • 20% of employees were disengaged in 2023, up 67% since 2021
  • 7% of employees risked burnout due to overutilization, down slightly since 2021
  • 4% of employees worked on weekends, down from 5% in 2022

 

Productivity findings show that employees completed their work in less time.

  • The workday got 15% shorter (-47 min) from Q1 2021 to Q4 2023
  • Employees were +8 min/day more productive in the first half of 2023 vs. the second half 
  • Time spent on collaborative activities such as chat and messaging increased slightly
  • Total digital activity, productive time and focus time stayed relatively constant

 

Technology findings show that industry, company size and workplace environment influenced AI tool adoption.

  • 22% of employees used AI tools in 2023, an increase of 50% from Q1 to Q4
  • Telecom (34%) and Legal Services (32%) had the highest AI tool adoption (≥ 25% of employees) 
  • Across any given industry, 1 in 10 employees used AI tools, with Financial Services using the most 
  • Slightly more employees in mid-market organizations (23%) used AI tools compared to their larger (21%) and smaller (21%) counterparts
  • Employees were 5% more likely to use AI tools when working remotely than when working from the office 
  • Across 23 industries, ChatGPT was the most used tool in all but one (Legal)

 

And while AI usage increased, there was no apparent impact on productivity when comparing employees who used AI tools to those who did not. This may be attributed to early exploration and experimentation that have yet to produce meaningful results. 

“There are positive signals in this year’s report, with shorter workdays and productivity remaining steady. Burnout is declining, hopefully, because employers are adopting the right initiatives. On the other hand, disengagement is growing, which must be a key concern for leaders in 2024. Businesses that get the future of work right must revamp their approach to understanding where these risks exist across their organizations,” said Gabriela Mauch, vice president of ActivTrak’s Productivity Lab. “Answering these questions can help organizations make better use of untapped workforce capacity and improve business outcomes.”

To learn more about the ActivTrak Productivity Lab and how organizations can better anticipate and plan for the future of work: 

 

1Employees at risk spend >75% in an underutilized state annually.
2Based on 20% annual voluntary turnover and replacement costs equal to half of a $60K annual salary.

 

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Media Contact:
Cybele Diamandopoulos
ActivTrak, Inc.
[email protected]

 

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