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Study: The Pandemic Changes Americans’ View on Productivity

A new survey from YouGov and Evernote has uncovered compelling data on productivity changes for Americans—from the social distancing measures started earlier this year to the long-term, post-pandemic impact we can expect.

Just in time for World Productivity Day on Saturday, June 20, the data speaks to shifts in overall activity levels, changes in daily schedules, how Americans are staying on top of things outside of work, productivity tool usage, and more. 

Key findings include:

  • ‘Hustle Culture’ may be a thing of the past. Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans report that they’ve been living life at a slower pace than before social distancing. The finding is strong across different generations (52 percent of Baby Boomers, 48 percent of Gen X, 46 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Z), and is even stronger for women (53 percent) compared to men (44 percent).
  • Americans may approach their schedules with fewer activities in the post-pandemic world. When asked to compare their approach to daily schedules before and after social distancing, over one in four (27 percent) reported they will schedule fewer activities than they used to. Only 17 percent reported they will approach their schedules with more activities than before. 
  • The definition of productivity has broadened; productivity during the pandemic expands beyond work. With decreases in socializing/traveling and more time spent at home, “being productive” has taken on a new meaning.Americans report staying productive with home improvement projects (40 percent), cooking and baking (39 percent), health and wellness activities (29 percent), and arts and crafts projects (20 percent). More than half of Americans (51 percent) report learning a new skill since social distancing began, with “cooking a new recipe” the most commonly learned skill.  
  • Americans are using productivity tools amid the pandemic. Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans report using a productivity tool for tasks. The most common tasks for using these tools include communication and collaboration (25 percent), note-taking (22 percent), scheduling (20 percent), and task management (17 percent). Americans who report using a productivity tool feel their overall productivity has increased since social distancing began (28 percent) more than those who don’t use a productivity tool (11 percent). 

“It’s heartening to learn that people are staying productive during this pandemic, whether at a slower pace or by picking up a new skill,” said Michele Don Durbin, Evernote’s Senior VP of Marketing. “And, since Americans who use productivity tools report being more productive in general, this could be the perfect time for anyone hoping to balance their new normal to try Evernote.”

Methodology:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,283 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th-12th June 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

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