The Real ROI of a sustainable work culture

Happy and Productive - The Real ROI of a Sustainable Work Culture

If you missed our most recent Office Hours, check out the recap below or watch the video here.

Make sure you don’t miss the next one by registering for the next Office Hours!

Every first and third Wednesday, our Head of Community Anna Dearmon Kornick hosts a LIVE deep dive into a different time management topic. Then, she opens up the floor for your questions and coaching.

This week we shared the learnings of our recently released Clockwise report “Happy and Productive: The real ROI of a sustainable work culture.

What does the future of work look like?

Lately it seems like everywhere you look, there’s another headline about the future of work. 

  • The future of work is remote. 
  • The future of work is hybrid. 
  • The future of work is flexible. 

At Clockwise, we’re a core values driven team, and one of our values is curiosity. So when it came to making predictions about the future of work, we started asking questions. 

In fact, we surveyed more than 1000 knowledge workers from across the US in a variety of different industries and roles to find out how workplace culture impacts innovation, retention, profitability, and more. 

After diving into the data, we found that the key to a profitable and productive company is a sustainable work culture. 71% of workers at sustainable workplaces feel their workplace culture improves how engaged they feel with their work. 

The future of work is sustainable - at least, it should be. That’s what workers want. It’s what they need. And they’re willing to walk away from their current roles in order to find it.

The Leadership Gap

The truth is, smart leaders are more clued in to how their teams and employees are feeling than ever before. But the one thing that could be impacting your company’s growth, slowing your innovation and causing you to lose your best workers? 


When it comes to ensuring that your team is able to thrive in a sustainable work culture, the one thing that may be clouding your judgment is your own comfort. Our research shows that only 5% of managers describe their workplace culture as unsustainable, compared to 22% of individual contributors. 

There are many possible reasons for this gap, among them a lack of awareness, and a lack of empathy, and poor communication or inadequate opportunities for feedback.

The Gender Gap

In addition to the leadership perception problem, we identified another startling gap. 

There’s a big difference in how men and women experience sustainability at work. 

Women are more than twice as likely as men to feel their work culture is very unsustainable. Interestingly, women without children are experiencing this more than mothers. 

Again - there are a number of reasons why this could be the case.

What’s most important is that we’re aware. When we’re aware of the gaps, we begin looking inward and critically examining our own workplace culture in order to bridge them. 

What can we do today that will create a sustainable foundation for the future of work that enables our teams to be both happy and productive?

Three Key Ingredients for a Sustainable Work Culture

We’ve uncovered three focus areas that can increase the sustainability of your work culture: workload, rewards, and opportunity.


A well-rested team with a healthy work/life balance is actually happier, more productive, and more profitable.  When a team member has clear expectations around workload, that same team member is more likely to be engaged and less likely to burn out. The old way of working - longer hours, less time off, and 24/7 availability -  might seem profitable in the short-term. In the long-term, 24/7 work cultures inevitably lead to lower quality work, disengagement, and eventually burnout. 

Here are actionable tips that you can start doing today in order to make your workload more sustainable, whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor.

If you’re a manager:

  • Do a temperature check at the beginning of your team syncs to see how your team is feeling regarding their work/life balance
  • Make sure your team is getting enough Focus Time. You can do this by asking them and by reviewing Team Analytics in Clockwise.
  • Set clear expectations about response times to messages sent via email, Slack, or other channels.

If you’re an individual contributor:

  • Conduct an audit of all of your existing “moving” projects.
  • Implement your own personal “office hours” as a boundary for ending your work day each day.
  • Clearly communicate your boundaries with your manager.


Team members whose managers praise them for their hard work and accomplishments and take a proactive approach to their reports’ career progression are more engaged, productive, and less likely to quit.  Most managers miss the mark. Only one out of three employees we surveyed said they’d been recognized in the past week.

Try these tips for rewarding members of your team or your colleagues to keep morale high.

If you’re a manager:

  • Kick off meetings by celebrating wins.
  • Start a team “kudos” tradition by inviting your team to celebrate and thank each other.
  • Advocate for raises, promotions or awards on behalf of your team.

If you’re an individual contributor:

  • Tell your manager when you think they’re doing a great job.
  • Thank you team members and collaborators for their help, hard work, or support.
  • Seek out award opportunities for yourself and your team.


Finally, let your team make decisions about their tools, their projects and how they spend their time. Our survey found that feeling empowered to make strategic decisions was highly correlated with a sustainable workplace culture. Plus, nearly burnout-proof teams have managers who position every member to spend most of their time playing to their strengths.

Although spreading decision-making responsibilities can feel daunting at times, here are a few simple ways that you can create opportunities for opportunity!

If you’re a manager:

  • Involve your team in selecting new tools. After all, they’re the ones who will be using them day-to-day.
  • Learn your team’s strengths and Genius Zone activities. This will help you pair the right person with the right projects, enabling them to shine.
  • Give your team options rather than directives. 

If you’re an individual contributor:

  • Learn your strengths and Genius Zone activities so you can make intentional requests for new projects or opportunities.
  • Talk with your manager about projects that align with your interests and your professional goals.
  • Recommend new tools, methods, or processes to your team or manager. 

The future of work is sustainable.

Our research links a sustainable work culture with more engagement, retention, performance, productivity, innovation, and revenue. In some ways, the future of work is already here. The highest performing companies are already hard at work creating sustainable workplaces, but there’s still work to be done to ensure that it's evenly distributed. 

The companies that aren’t actively investing in their culture are leaving a ton of value on the table and gambling with their futures. 

Download the Report

There’s a lot more that we discovered about the future of work and sustainability - download the full report for a look at how to make your company more sustainable for your team. 

Time is a shared resource. And therefore, a shared problem to solve. We as leaders have a responsibility to help our teams re-work the work day around their needs.

It’s time for a new way of working where time is as dynamic as people are. Because a more human approach is the key to a sustainable future of work. 


Are there any integrations or tools from Clockwise for Clickup, similar to Asana?

Not at this moment, but we’re always eager to explore! Let us know what type of integration would be helpful or interesting for you!

How do you inspire your team to participate in celebrating their teammates’ wins? 

It’s important to first understand how each of your teammates prefers working and recognition - maybe one teammate is more extroverted or introverted than the other. One suggestion is to encourage teammates to submit their wins prior to the meeting to alleviate any of the pressure they may feel in the moment! Another suggestion is to have one teammate read aloud a win submitted for another teammate, so everyone is celebrating each other versus themselves. 

I’m a manager that asks my team members to track and report all their tasks and time usage. Does this support a sustainable work environment? 

While this specific correlation was not evaluated as part of our study, we can say asking a team member to track their specific time usage may not be the best way to encourage and promote opportunity in the workplace. This requirement could be felt as micromanagement. However, time tracking is such a great tool to use for gaining awareness and visibility of where time is being spent. Consider using the practice for information gathering rather than closely monitoring your team.

Be sure you make the next Office Hours to ask your own questions by registering here!

We built a way to take our time back.

Clockwise optimizes teams' calendars to create more time in everyone’s day.
See why more than 10,000 organizations run on Clockwise.
Posted in:
Time Management