Productivity Vs. Efficiency: What’s the difference?

We listen to the terms productivity and efficiency multiple times daily. Are we aware of its true meaning? Is there any difference between productivity and efficiency? We will analyze both terms critically.

We are supposed to be productive in the workplace. Some of us relate productivity with the quantity of work we do. However, we also interrelate productivity and efficiency. So, is productivity to do something with efficiency or not? Let’s find out.


What is Productivity?

The level of effort against the level of production measures productivity. It means you have to increase your output to enhance your productivity.

However, productivity also depends upon the nature of the task. Sometimes, we take it as the quantity of work we perform. For example:

  • The number of boxes an employee can pack in an hour.
  • The number of mirrors a worker can clean in a day.

If an employee packs 20 boxes in an hour and the next day, he packs 25 boxes in an hour. His productivity has increased.

However, the Calculation of office-based work productivity is a little complicated. The nature of work affects the way of measuring productivity. So, everyone can have a different approach to measuring productivity.

What is Efficiency?

Efficiency is defined as using minimum resources to get the maximum output. It means we must put in our input in the most competent way. Input includes:

  • The efforts we put in to get the output.
  • The time we spend on performing several tasks.
  • The resources we use.

Efficiency emphasizes more on the quality of work. You can only be efficient if you produce more output by compromising quality. 

We have to balance the quality of output and quantity of input perfectly. Refrain from using your time and effort and maintain your quality standards.

For example:

An employee can pack 20 gifts in two hours. We want him to be efficient. So we will train him to pack 20 gifts neatly in an hour. 

Look, we are that much concerned about quantity. However, we want neat packaging to ensure quality, and we want to save time on it.

Productivity Vs. Efficiency

Quantity and Quality

The major debate between efficiency and productivity is on the quantity and quality difference. 

Efficiency emphasizes more on the quality of output. On the other hand, productivity is all about the quantity of output. So, quantity and quality difference exists.

Cost affects efficiency

Efficiency is concerned with using minimum cost to attain maximum output. However, productivity is less concerned with expenses. If we are getting great results, it means we are productive. So, efficiency emphasizes more on cost-effectiveness.

Waste Vs. Output

We are efficient if we minimize cost, effort, and resources to get high-quality results. In contrast, productivity is just concerned with the maximum output generation. We are not concerned about the waste of time and effort.

Importance of Productivity and Efficiency

An organization adopts several strategies to achieve its goals. Efficiency and productivity are part of many strategies. Companies need to emphasize productivity, and sometimes efficiency plays a vital role in business success.

Companies use a combination of productivity and efficiency to accomplish projects. At the end of the day, we need both quality and quantity to increase the profit ratio. So, we must recognize all of them while making strategies.


Despite the differences, there are also many similarities between efficiency and productivity. We have elaborated on the difference between both. However, both terms are still mixed in many ways. We need both efficiency and productivity to plan and pursue our strategies.

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