One of the greatest concerns of business owners when it comes to remote work setups has something to do with supervision and productivity. Work-from-home and work-from-anywhere jobs allow employees to work wherever they want. While it’s possible for employees to consciously choose to work in the company’s office, the typical scenario is that they would work away from their usual work environment. Taking this into consideration, what managers fear is the lack of employee supervision under remote work setups.
Remote work wasn’t particularly the trend years ago. However, the lockdowns and quarantines during the 2020 pandemic pushed businesses all over the world to adopt such a setup. But even after the height of the pandemic, the new normal in the business world involved adjustments. Employees are either allowed to continue working remotely or adopt a hybrid setup instead of coming to the office five days a week. Why?
Benefits of Remote Work Setups
Despite the ongoing debate in the industry, remote work has several notable advantages for both the employer and the employees:
- Working from home saves companies from huge operation costs.
- Employees get to work comfortably at home.
- Avoid wasting so much time traveling to the office.
- Employees have better work-life balance.
- Companies experience notably lower employee turnover.
- Employees take fewer leaves and absences.
- Flexibility helps boost employee motivation and productivity.
Tips for Measuring a Remote Team’s Productivity
Despite the advantages of remote work setups, the question still remains. How do team managers and leaders gauge the productivity of their remote employees? How will they know if they are being as productive and as efficient as they can be at home without physically checking on their progress and work? With that, here are some useful tips on how to gauge remote employees’ productivity.
One of the greatest pitfalls of managers is micromanaging their team members. It’s understandable to think that because employees no longer show up in the office and work under direct supervision, then they will slack off and procrastinate. However, managers need to learn to trust their employees and shy away from micromanaging their every move.
Micromanaging can be extremely off-putting, especially under remote work setups. The main concept of remote work is the flexibility and autonomy it provides employees. So, why would you keep on snooping around their business and keep track of every what, when, and how of their work routine?
To empower your remote workers, focus on their output, overall progress, performance consistency, and personal development. And instead of micromanaging, start delegating tasks and allow your employees to grow with your guidance.
Focus on output instead of day-to-day activities
Many businesses use productivity tools and trackers. Such programs allow them to check and see their remote employee’s computer activities including keystrokes, mouse activity, and even sites visited and apps used. The idea is that the employee can be aware of their productivity levels and strive to achieve a positive productivity rating at the end of each working day. It is a tool designed to increase your productivity as it pushes you to stay focused for longer amounts of time.
While some may find this helpful, others may not feel the same way. And instead of being productive, they can be distracted by the regular updates and reports about their so-called productivity level for the day.
Team managers can utilize these productivity tools and trackers. However, it is important to understand that an employee’s productivity is not solely based on the amount of time they spend working on an important task or project. To avoid pressuring your remote employees with program-based productivity reports, focus on the quality of the output. And as long as the task is accomplished within the given time frame, then the employee’s day-to-day process shouldn’t matter as much.
Instead of focusing on the details, use the program reports as a productivity hack that can help you better understand and manage your team. Learn which tasks take longer to accomplish and utilize this in your management strategies.
Establish KPIs for specific roles
Another factor that managers need to consider when measuring the productivity of their remote employees is that not everyone has the same role and type of output. For example, the expected output from a content writer would be different from that of a web designer. In cases like this, it is not possible to set an all-encompassing KPI that would work for every member of the team.
To deal with this, it is best to identify specific performance metrics for certain roles. Make sure that the key performance indicators match their role and can be used to gauge their productivity. For a content writing position, you can track their daily word count or the number of blogs published weekly or monthly. On the other hand, you can take look at the number of acquired links, sent outreach emails, and secured guest posts for your team’s remote SEO specialist.
In addition to this, establish time frames that can give you and your employee a better idea of their productivity as well as efficiency.
Report and communicate regularly
One of the disadvantages of remote work setups is the lack of direct and in-person communication with team members. While this prevents unnecessarily long breakroom chatter, remote work also makes it difficult for managers and members to effectively communicate with one another. The nature of communication is different when it’s face to face and when it’s online. There may also be instances where it’s difficult to relay certain information or message get lost in translation.
To prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding in the team, set regular meetings. This can be done as a team or managers can also schedule one-on-one meetings with team members for more focused discussions. The goal is to bridge the communication gap caused by a remote work setup by opening a platform where everyone can relay updates, issues, and other work-related problems.
For some, virtual meetings can be too time-consuming. If that’s the case, practice regular updates done through surveys or daily end-of-day emails. Employees can relay progress reports, mention difficulties faced during the day, and any other talking points that can be discussed further in a one-on-one meeting.
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