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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

The Secret Factor That Determines Your Work-from-Home Productivity

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

During the past year+ of working remotely, we believe the entire workforce can be divided into two distinct camps.

1. “I love working remotely! I’m so much more productive. I hope we never go back to the office!”

And, 2. “No more Zoom calls… I’ll wear a hazmat suit if it means I can go back to my office!”

In other words, those who primarily embraced the “new normal” and those who desired anything but!

No matter which camp you fell into, or if you identify somewhere in between, new research has been released which aims to explain why certain employees were much more productive than others during work-from-home orders. And it doesn’t have to do with the presence of an untrained puppy, the need to perform double-duty as a times-tables tutor for your fourth-grader, or any other third-party factor which might’ve contributed to your feelings of productivity.

Rather, they found a significant correlation between efficiency and mental health.

A survey funded by the Economic and Social Research Council found that just over half of respondents reported performing “more productively” while remote, nearly one-third said their productivity remained consistent before- and during lockdown, and only 10% of people felt their productivity had gone down.

They also surveyed respondents on other measures, and found the following correlation when it came to self-reported mental health (using the World Health Organization’s WHO-5 index):

In fact, the mental health scores for the most productive workers were twice as high as the least productive.

However, it’s important to consider that correlation doesn’t imply causation; in other words, it’s not clear whether being productive contributed to feeling better, or vice versa. (However, in our opinion, we think it’s safe to say both might be true!)

While some companies are transitioning back to the office, a vast majority (80% of company leaders, according to one survey) have announced permanent telecommuting plans or a hybrid option. So, with mental health struggles reaching all-time highs during the past year of social isolation, job insecurity, and other unforeseen challenges, these findings show that if corporations want their employees to stay productive, it’s absolutely critical to invest in measures to support their mental health.

This week, we encourage you to contemplate: What can you do to support your people? How are they doing – really doing?

If you need advice on improving employee engagement and caring for your team, let us help! We’d love to serve you and have a happier, healthier, more productive workforce across the world. Just email us at!

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