productivity vs efficiency at workplace

“Productivity and efficiency are two of the key goals of any business enterprise. But they are two very different things and often compete with each other. However, many people are still confused about the difference between productivity and efficiency.

The words are far too considered synonymous but they aren’t. Though they are similar, they cannot be used interchangeably. For example, improved productivity can come at the expense of efficiency, and improved efficiency can reduce productivity. But what is the difference between them?”

Read this blog to better understand productivity vs efficiency and how it impacts you in your professional life.

What is Productivity?

Productivity level

The term “productivity” refers to how efficiently a business person or machine produces goods or services. It can be quantified by counting the number of outputs from the specified set of inputs.

Or, as the National Bureau of Economic Research proposes, productivity refers to the “units of output per unit produced of a particular input.”Measuring productivity is straightforward, and that’s why many people place their focus here.

In other words, productivity is closely connected to the yield, i.e., the larger the yield, the higher the organisation’s productivity. Therefore, it can be calculated under


Productivity= Output Obtained / Input Consumed.

How to Measure Productivity?

Within a business, productivity can take many different forms. However, these separate components increase the productivity level of the overall business.

For instance, each employee contributes to the productivity of the business as a whole at their level of production. Additionally, there are other departments or aspects of a business for which productivity can be calculated separately.

But how exactly do you calculate productivity?

Using the productivity formula previously mentioned, you must calculate output with input. Again, this is probably different across different areas, departments, and factions of a business.

Example of Productivity in the Workplace

Let’s assume you are an HR manager and that you take thirty minutes on average to interview a potential employee. If your company only cares about productivity, they would probably give you the order to interview two candidates at once (thirty minutes).

You are therefore looking for a means to speed up the procedure, remove some common questions, and limit your candidate’s speaking time.

Finally, you can interview two candidates simultaneously. Again, you worry that you didn’t make a wise decision because you didn’t spend enough amount of time getting to know your candidates. Additionally, the pressure to accomplish more with the same number of resources causes burnout (which is time, in this case).

What is Efficiency?

Working Efficiently

In the article published by Stefan Tangen, efficiency is described as “doing things right” Efficiency serves as a measure of output quality. It aims to produce an outcome that satisfies the production motive.

Work is inefficient if it does not provide the desired quality or is not functional. Existing quality standards establish a criterion for judging effectiveness.

If we fully comprehend, it becomes clear that efficiency is a comparison of input and output. Efficiency places equal emphasis on input quantity and output quality. We examine the expenses associated with intake and output.

Therefore, efficiency seeks to produce the highest quality output with the least input. It is a measurement of profit and waste produced. The definition of actual efficiency is producing high-quality results with few inputs.


Efficiency = Input costs + Output Quality.

How to Measure Efficiency?

When measuring efficiency, as opposed to productivity, you would consider the resources needed to produce that output.

You would also consider the results’ quality, giving superior outcomes a higher priority than simple quantity.

Consider a salesperson whose productivity can be measured by the average weekly closing of two new accounts.

To understand the salesperson’s efficiency, you can track the following.

  • How many calls or emails does it take on average to book a sales call
  • How many sales calls do it take on average to close a sale
  • The dollar value of each new account

Example of Efficiency in the Workplace

You write a blog as a content writer. In five working days, you must complete your blog post. You can produce an average of 700 to 800 words daily (together with research, brainstorming, etc.).

Your manager has just informed you that you have three working days to complete your upcoming blog posts.

The company has recently experienced a labor shortage; therefore, fewer people will be required to produce the same amount of work. As a result, you must complete the same task now with less time and resources.

You managed to finish your blog post on time, but you are concerned that your research was inadequate and the response to the issue was insufficient.

Consequently, doing the same work while using fewer resources may not result in better quality either.

Productivity vs Efficiency:

Productivity is the amount of work completed by a team, organization, or individual. Contrarily, efficiency refers to business owners’ resources to complete that work.

What Is the Difference Between Productivity And Efficiency?

There are several ways that productivity and efficiency differ from each other:

  1. Productivity means the rate at which the organisation produces the goods, i.e., the higher the number of goods produced, the greater the productivity level. Efficiency can be described as using resources to minimise waste and maximise output.
  2. Productivity measures the number of outputs produced with the given input. In contrast, efficiency measures the optimum utilisation of the firm’s resources to obtain better results with the least wastage.
  3. Productivity stresses the number of products the enterprise produces; efficiency emphasises the products’ quality.
  4. Productivity can be calculated by dividing the total output obtained by the input consumed in the production process. On the contrary, efficiency can be expressed as the combined effort of input costs and output quality.

Why Do You Need Both?

The difference is significant because it impacts how you carry out and manage your daily tasks. The objective is to meet or exceed a certain productivity level; you’ll need to make sensible decisions about which tasks to streamline.

Naturally, achieving this is not always straightforward if your responsibilities continuously change. However, acquiring this ability is crucial because it serves as the basis for future, career-long time management success.

What tasks can I streamline to be more productive under these circumstances?
It should be your constant question. It will also assist you in choosing what will be your top priority at any given time during the day, week, or month.

Balancing efficiency, productivity, and your organisation’s goals takes a lot of practice, but it should always be top of mind no matter the setting.


We explored the differences and compared productivity vs efficiency. We understood these terms in depth. There is a difference, but they can not act without each other.

In conclusion, it can be said that efficiency is all about using your time wisely so you can accomplish more with less.

Contrarily, productivity is more than raising the performance level to provide better results and increase overall yield.

Striking a balance between productivity and efficiency is crucial to business longevity. To build a team, seek help from planner apps like Week Plan.

This app is designed to help you achieve effective results. The ultimate goal is to work smarter, not

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