Research Outline

Knowledge Workers' Productivity


To determine if the productivity of knowledge workers has increased within the past decade including an analysis of productivity trends amongst professionals or subsets of professionals.

Early Findings

  • A 2020 publication by Harvard Business Review compared the productivity of knowledge workers in 2013 and 2020 amidst the pandemic. The study established that knowledge workers were more productive in 2020 compared to 2013.
  • The study found that during the lockdown, knowledge workers were more focused on the tasks that really matter.
  • "They spent 12% less time drawn into large meetings and 9% more time interacting with customers and external partners. Lockdown also helped people take responsibility for their own schedules. They did 50% more activities through personal choice and half as many because someone else asked them to."
  • The report also noted that during the lockdown, the number of work classified as being tiresome dropped from 27% to 12%.
  • Also, the number of work that could be easily offloaded to others dropped from 41% to 27%.
  • Furthermore, a report by Smarp reported that 71% of employees believe that their leaders don't spend enough time communicating their goals and plans with them.
  • The report by Smarp also reported that 91% think that their leaders lack communication skills. These are some likely factors that hinder the productivity of knowledge workers.