Prialto released its 2021 Executive Productivity Report, a survey of 600 high-earning (minimum $100K annual salary), high-ranking (director level, and above) executives asking them how they approach productivity. The first annual surveys were conducted in 2019, just before the pandemic struck, and upended every aspect of work and life. A supplemental study in 2020 augmented the 2019 data with information on how executives adapted to a changing work environment.
The 2021 report provides a great "before and after" picture of remote work's impact on leaders' productivity.
The results can be a guide for you to be more productive in 2022.
74% of Executives Said They Are More Productive Working from Home
Did your productivity improve while working remotely?
Executive productivity rose sharply from 2020-2021, and three of four said they are more productive working from home. That is a big jump from 2019, when just 40 percent of executives said they are more productive working remotely.
Executives Invested in Productivity Tools and Systems in 2020
Do you seek out new productivity tools and apps?
Here is one reason executives got more productive at home. The use of productivity tools and apps jumped 26 percent in 2020, and the executives turning to productivity and time management methodologies rose 18 percent. In 2021, the use of tools and methodologies returned to just above 2019 levels, indicating that executives got their remote productivity routine dialed in during the previous year.
Executives Asked More People for Help with Productivity
Do you adhere to a productivity system like GTD, Franklin Covey, or the Pomodoro Method?
Another reason executive productivity rose in 2021 is that more executives asked for more help from more sources. The number of executives that turned to peers, staff, friends, coaches, and virtual assistants all rose by five percent or more. Reliance on a coach or mentor jumped 14 percent, and 25 percent turned to virtual assistants. The only source of support that saw a decline was colleagues, due to reduced informal interaction without an office environment.
Executives Worked Harder on Productivity
What actions do you take to become more productive?
The actions executives take to boost productivity also grew across the board, except strategic time management. Asking for help from friends rose 25 percent, searching for tips online jumped 26 percent, and delegation grew 14 percent. It is clear that 2020 marked a sharp rise in executives' search for and use of productivity support.
Executive Satisfaction with their Productivity Returned to 2019 Levels
Are you satisfied with your current level of productivity?
Amazingly, executives said they are precisely as satisfied with their productivity now as they were in 2019. Given the turmoil of 2020, that says a lot about executives' ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
A Blueprint for Executive Productivity in 2022
For executives continuing to struggle with productivity, this survey offers a playbook of sorts for how to boost productivity now and into 2022.
Invest in productivity tools
Adopt a time management system
Reach out to your professional network for input and support
Delegate more tasks to others
Look online for productivity tips
Find a coach or mentor
Hire a virtual assistant
Note that this data is from the executives themselves. There are a lot of productivity theories and a lot of management gurus that can give you advice on how to be more productive. The Prialto Executive Productivity Reports are what executives say they actually do to improve their productivity.
Outsourcing the Admin Work
Some 25 percent of executives turned to remote virtual executive assistants to improve their productivity—up from 20 percent in 2019. These executives have learned the poor ROI of paying themselves to do tasks like:
CRM data management
Lead follow up
Invoicing and payment processing
Prialto offers a managed virtual assistant service that hires, trains, and supervises remote executive assistants for U.S. executives, fast-tracking support, and productivity. To learn more about working with a Prialto virtual assistant, download our guide.
About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.