Six Factors Proven to Affect Worker Productivity



David Harrison

CoreNet Global





ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 3, 2015 – The findings of a study sponsored by Allsteel identify six key “proxy measures” for the productivity of knowledge workers – those whose functions are involved with intellectual content or information.

“Unlike metrics for measuring manufacturing output, there are no universally applicable metrics for measuring the performance of knowledge workers,” said Jan Johnson, Allsteel’s vice president of Design and Workplace Resources, CoreNet Global member, and one of the authors of the new CoreNet Global Action Memo, Effectively Measuring Knowledge Worker Productivity. “Knowledge work and its outcomes are too complex, varied, situational, and, in some cases, subjective to be quantified with a single metric like ROI, And yet, if we could know what could truly lead to more effective performance, think of the competitive advantages we’d have even in these turbulent economic times.”

The study summarizes research conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), a London-based workplace strategy consultancy, and their partner,  The Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa), an Amsterdam-based organization that “researches” research and advocates for informed decision-making. For this project CEBMa scanned, appraised, and validated academic, peer-reviewed research to determine what is known about the factors correlated to knowledge worker productivity.

While the results make it clear that there is “no holy grail” – if by that we mean a consistent, broadly applicable, single way to measure knowledge work - it identifies the six key factors with the highest impact on performance:

  • Social cohesion: Camaraderie, interpersonal comfort with one’s teammates makes one willing and motivated to contribute their knowledge, ideas and energy to the greater good of the team.
  • Perceived supervisory support: Team members’ belief that their boss “has their back” impacts their organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions.
  • Intra-team information sharing: The comfort level with which teams utilize each member’s distinctive knowledge for the team’s benefit – and the extent to which members ”know what each other knows” – is indicative of success.
  • Vision and goal clarity: Clearly stated goals help team members channel and prioritize their efforts; they also give their work meaning. In turn, they motivate teams to enhance their performance.
  • External communication/outside resources: Communicating with outside teams or other subject experts encourage workers to expand their boundaries, to build bridges between teams, both within and outside of the organization. Networks of professionals may be particularly helpful to knowledge workers since they are valuable sources of new ideas.
  • Trust: Trust is developed horizontally throughout teams and vertically with respect to management. Trust in team members promotes a shared direction towards common goals over personal interests.

“Given the chronic shortages of skilled labor and this new, powerful, “best available” information about what truly does support effective team performance, organizations would do well to realize that ignoring the power of these six factors and other research on what works and what doesn’t simply won’t wash, and certainly won’t give them the competitive edge they will need,” according to the white paper.

About CoreNet Global

CoreNet Global is the world’s leading professional association for corporate real estate (CRE) executives with strategic responsibility for the real property used by multinational corporations for their own operations. CoreNet Global’s more than 9,500 members, who include 70% of the top 100 U.S. companies and nearly half of the Global 2000, meet locally, globally and virtually to develop networks, share knowledge, learn and thrive professionally. For more information, please visit

About Allsteel

Allsteel Inc., headquartered in Muscatine, IA, has been designing, building and delivering award-winning workplace furniture solutions since 1912. Allsteel continues its commitment to innovation with its extensive product portfolio, which includes movable glass wall offerings. Allsteel offers solutions designed to improve efficiency, foster teamwork and deliver long-term value to increase the effectiveness of businesses. The company has Resource Centers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Washington, D.C. For additional information, visit or follow Allsteel on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube.