How did the war affect productivity?

Apr 25 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

With the uncertainties and anxiety felt by Americans during the war with Iraq, some employees may have been distracted or preoccupied.

Did companies experience changes in productivity due to these distractions? The US Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey during the week of April 15-21, 2003, with 289 responses from human resource professionals about the productivity in their organization during the war.

When asked, "How is the war affecting productivity in your organization?" respondents answered with the following;

  • 2 percent reported “greatly decreasing productivity”
  • 22 percent reported “somewhat decreasing productivity”
  • 72 percent reported “no effect on productivity”
  • 3 percent reported “somewhat increasing productivity”
  • 0 percent reported “greatly increasing productivity”

In a Management-Issues poll on this website in the same week, more than six out of ten respondents said that people in their workplaces were spending more time than usual surfing the web for news of the war. A third said that the war was having no effect at all, while only six per cent said that they could not think about anything else.