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The exploitation and characterization of memory effects arising from the interaction between system and environment is a key prerequisite for quantum reservoir engineering beyond the standard Markovian limit. In this paper we investigate a prototype of non-Markovian dynamics experimentally implementable with superconducting qubits. We rigorously quantify non-Markovianity, highlighting the effects of the environmental temperature on the Markovian to non-Markovian crossover. We investigate how memory effects influence, and specifically suppress, the ability to perform work on the driven qubit. We show that the average work performed on the qubit can be used as a diagnostic tool to detect the presence or absence of memory effects.