Most workers feel productive for less than 6 hours a day

By Hung Le   September 25, 2019 | 07:07 pm PT
Most workers feel productive for less than 6 hours a day
Staff work in the office of a company in Hanoi. Photo by Shutterstock/Jimmy Tran.
68 percent of Vietnamese workers feel they are productive for just 4 to 6 hours per day, a recent survey has found.

Only 14 percent of respondents reported feeling productive for over 7 hours per day, the survey covering 500 office workers and 200 employers carried out by Switzerland-based recruitment firm Adecco found.

Although Vietnamese corporate culture demands employees to be at the workplace during working hours, being at the office does not directly translate into productivity, said the survey report.

It found that while 78 percent of employers expect their staff to stay in the office at all times, 54 percent of employees say they usually or sometimes stay at work late even they have no tasks assigned.

83 percent of employees believed a flexible working schedule would boost their productivity, with most saying that morning periods between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. are their most energetic times, and not the late afternoon.

According to employees, distractions at work was also a major limit to productivity. 55 percent of respondents said they have to read above 15 emails daily, and another 14 percent reported reading above 40 emails.

54 percent of employees said they had to check their phones at least 10 times daily, while research from American business magazine shows that every interruption means at least 20 minutes of lost productivity, with social media being a top concentration killer, the Adecco survey report said.

It found three-fourths of workers admitting that lack of motivation negatively affects their engagement at work. Factors such as lack of growth opportunities, poor work benefits and negative working environments lowered morale and productivity.

"Managers should plan and create progression roadmaps for every position, as well as introduce constant training programs that encourage innovation among employees. This ensures allocating human resources to the right jobs, and allows employers to monitor growth of each employee," said Thanh Le, director of Adecco’s Ho Chi Minh City Office.

"Rewards and benefits also play an important role in raising productivity, so a fair and transparent recognition policy needs to be created to reflect the contribution of employees," added Ha Nguyen, Adecco’s Hanoi director.

A General Statistics Office (GSO) report released last month said that with Vietnam’s GDP growth of 7.08 percent, average labor productivity reached VND102.2 million ($4,409) per worker in 2018, up 6 percent year-on-year.

Despite this increase, the country’s productivity continues to lag behind many of its Southeast Asian neighbors, and the gap is widening, said GSO general director Nguyen Bich Lam.

Based on purchasing power parity (PPP) at 2011 constant prices, the GSO estimates Vietnam's overall labor productivity at 7.3 percent of Singapore, 19 percent of Malaysia, 37 percent of Thailand, 44.8 percent of Indonesia and 55.9 percent of the Philippines.

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