How can enterprises measure employee productivity while working from home?
If your employees work from home, you need a system to measure their productivity. There are many reports that suggest employees working from a remote location are more productive than those working from the office. But how do you know if your remote employees are being productive?
60% of our employees work remotely and the rest have the option to do so. We are finding that the best way to keep employees engaged is to frequently discuss the value of productivity and get deep work accomplished throughout the day. This has helped our teams feel like their work is meaningful and achieve a higher sense of accomplishment.
We spoke to a few organizations to discover how they are going about this important measurement. It appears, that there are different strokes for different folks. However, there is an enhanced management priority to set an acceptable standard.
Here are a few distinct approaches.
Develop or adopt a company-wide dashboard. The online board shows what each employee is working on, so there is complete transparency in the volume of work getting done.
Monitor a list of KPIs for each function which a business analyst records in a customized shared sheet. Depending on the function one may have 5-8 KPIs for each team member and their performance can be monitored against set goals.
Use an activity monitoring application that tracks mouse movements, keyboard strokes, or website visits. This is the baseline data, which may be used to track employee activity levels.
However, it is also true that the above tracking applications do not always give an accurate description of the employee’s productivity, as mouse movements are not the only way to gauge if someone is working hard. Therefore, many organizations also ask employees to track their timesheets as to how long it takes them to work on various tasks. Apart from tracking productivity to make sure that employees in similar positions are performing the same, it also helps to get a better idea of training efficacy for employees and benchmark best practices.
Use different applications for productivity: e.g., Project Managers use enterprise texting platform, Marketing uses project management tool, Developers use issue tracking tool, or Sales uses a shared document for collaboration and so on. This is how managers can supervise the daily tasks of the employees according to each separate project. Seeing the day to day progress of the work, as opposed to the time spent on each day, allows managers to know the status of any project they are working on at any time; which is great for organizations working on multiple projects.
Use a time tracking application to measure employee productivity and hours worked. Such tools also allow taking intermittent screenshots. It is only used in case the manager wants to investigate why the employee was not able to finish what was asked from them.
Use measurement frameworks like KRAs for each employee. KRAs are designed to target the desired outcome. E.g., in a sales organization, the overarching objective is to generate leads that convert into revenue-generating clients. Lead generation team members are measured by how many quality leads were generated. Sellers that work on converting those leads are judged by their lead conversion rate. Sales Managers are measured by revenue off those conversions. An intelligent design of KRA sets up a goal structure that can directly pinpoint the stage which needs remedial intervention.
The take away from our conversations is that measuring the productivity of employees working from home or remotely has become more critical. Obviously, there are plenty of ways that remote employers keep an eye on work from home employees’ productivity. But two threads appear poignant
Results vs Empathy - you have to do it in a way that’s meaningful to the business and makes employees feel good about it.
Outcome vs Time - care more about what gets done than the working hours which it gets accomplished.
How are you thinking about this in your organization?
That’s a surefire way to not only have a more productive team but also higher morale and a significantly more supportive culture.