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New research from Microsoft Surface reveals how 'productivity anxiety' is overwhelming Brits as society starts to resurface from restrictions
[November 11, 2021]

New research from Microsoft Surface reveals how 'productivity anxiety' is overwhelming Brits as society starts to resurface from restrictions

LONDON, Nov. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Findings reveal that almost half of us (42%) say we're battling to keep on top of ever-increasing to-dos, with two thirds of us (63%) feeling that we're currently at the point of 'stress overload'
  • As society goes back to the office, less than half of Brits feel they have the tools and resources to deal with stress and anxiety, whilst 51% of Millennials experience dread about the work day ahead
  • Microsoft Surface has partnered with leading UK chartered psychologist Dr Rajvinder Samra and qualified psychotherapist Joshua Fletcher (@AnxietyJosh) to provide tips and resources to help people turn down this pressure burden and unfold a healthier, more sustainable relationship with productivity
  • Find useful tip and tricks to help you overcome your productivity trap here

As we head into this year's much anticipated festive period, Brits are more anxious than ever, according to new research released by Microsoft Surface. Two thirds of us (63%) are currently at the point of 'stress overload' with 'productivity anxiety' reaching significant highs (42%), and 61% reporting that this feeling has increased since the easing of restrictions. No longer working exclusively from home, many are struggling to get as much done - 42% feel as though they aren't able to keep on top of their to-dos, whilst 40% often feel guilty for not fulfilling all of their commitments across their personal and work-lives.

For many, the feeling of productivity anxiety is routed in their relationship between achievement and perfectionism. The research also revealed that almost three quarters (72%) of Brits are showing signs of unhealthy perfectionism. Gen Z reporting the highest levels of this (89%), closely followed by Millennials (84%) and Gen X (74%), and more than half (51%) of millennials now dread the day ahead 'most nights of the week'.

So to help understand and overcome this underlying feeling of productivity anxiety, and to mark the launch of the new Surface Duo 2, Microsoft has partnered with leading UK chartered psychologist Dr Rajvinder Samra and qualified psychotherapist Joshua Fletcher (@AnxietyJosh). Together they will provide a set of tips, tricks and other resources to help people turn down the pressure they put on themselves and develop a healthier, more balanced relationship with productivity.

"As restrictions have eased there is a sense of optimism and excitement for the upcoming festivities and getting back to old routines. However, there is clearly an underlying anxiety rooted in productivity weighing in the backgrond for many of us." says Joshua Fletcher, a psychotherapist who specialises in issues around anxiety management. "By partnering with Microsoft Surface, I want to help people unlock some of the tools that they have at their disposal right now that are designed to help them to unfold a healthier, more sustainable relationship with productivity. What's more, it's important we use technology to help us, by supporting a reset, establishing clearer boundaries, reducing our daily cognitive load - and by making the most of the time available to us."

Managing Productivity Anxiety: Dr Raj and Anxiety Josh's top tips

  1. Name to tame – identify the unhealthy behaviours, habits and expectations that may be driving your productivity anxiety
  2. Let go of 'I should' – work out what matters most to you, not other people, and use that to set your goals and routine
  3. Use tech to lower the (cognitive) load – dual-screen devices such as the Surface Duo 2 support your working memory, helping to lower the mental energy it takes to get things done and be more efficient
  4. Challenge your negative self-talk – 'I'm not there yet', 'I had an off-day', 'that wasn't the best I can do' rather than 'I've failed' or 'I'm a failure'.
  5. Use tech to create a rock solid routine – do-not-disturb, personal and work settings, calendar blocks, helpful apps; technology can help you stay on the right track
  6. Value progress, not perfection – let go of rigid high standards and allow yourself to celebrate growth
  7. Build rest into your routine - Prioritise yourself on your 'to do' list
  8. Reserve 'perfection' for when it really matters - You can't apply it to everything. Instead, use it selectively to strive for what you value most
  9. Be realistic about your limitations. Don't be afraid to say no. Avoid overloading yourself, which can lead to burnout

And there are other relatively simple fixes that can help. Whilst half of Brits (49%) use technology to recover from daily stresses, and the same time use it to help them be more productive (51%), only 34% use it to reinforce their boundaries (e.g. do not disturb settings and calendar blocks). Kate Wright, Microsoft UK and Ireland Consumer Devices Director, says Microsoft has a role to play in helping people unfold a healthier, more sustainable relationship with productivity;

"The research shows that there's a vital need for us to kick start a conversation about the productivity trap, what it is and how we can help people navigate through it. Technology can play an important role here – it can be used to reconfigure new routines, set new boundaries and truly support productivity. Our new dual screen device, Surface Duo 2, is designed for just that – to help users lighten their load and boost their productivity. Studies have shown that people see up to a 42% boost in productivity when they use two screens versus one "

The all-new Surface Duo 2 was built for this new hybrid world and redefines what a productivity device should look and feel like, making it a true partner to help you be more productive and achieve more.


  1. Use technology to help you reclaim some 'you' time - Get twice more done in half the time with dual screen technology. Studies show that two screens can give a 42% productivity boost
  2. Find balance between your work and personal life – Split between work and personal profiles on the Duo 2 empowering you to choose when to have your work hat on vs when to keep focused on your friends or family 
  3. Learn to switch off at night –  Use features like the night mode and 'Do not Disturb' to wind down at the end of the day and get a good night's sleep
  4. Multi-task in ways that suit you - Whether you're taking Teams calls whilst on the commute, browsing online whilst messaging friends; use two screens to run apps side by side to multi-task whilst on the go 
  5. Share the load this Christmas  – Use the Microsoft To Do list tool to buddy up on Wish lists, the food shop and restaurant bookings to share the festive fun this year 

Go to the Microsoft News Centre to find out more about reducing productivity anxiety, see more from experts Dr Rajvinder Samra and Anxiety Josh and learn more about the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 device.   


About Dr Rajvinder Samra

Dr Rajvinder Samra is an academic and a Chartered Psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society, with an educational background in Occupational Psychology and a PhD in Applied Psychology. Her research interests focus on the mental aspects of work, extending to the psychological, social, and structural factors that enhance or disrupt work performance. She is trained in occupational psychological testing related to ability and personality in the workplace. She also investigates the mental wellbeing of individuals in educational and professional environments to promote better mental health and recovery strategies.

About Anxiety Josh

Anxiety Expert Joshua Fletcher is a psychotherapist and best-selling author specialising in self-help for anxiety disorders. He is also known as @anxietyjosh on social media, where he runs a popular instagram page.

About the research

The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Microsoft, using?2007?UK adults, between 22nd October – 28th October 2021

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