Remote work has been a staple in the digital world. As technology advances and becomes a part of our everyday lives, industries have adopted the efficiency and convenience remote work setups bring.
Business owners can delegate tasks such as answering phone calls, creating graphic design, and even ecommerce to remote workers worldwide. But as convenient as remote work setups may seem, managing remote employees poses its own set of challenges.
One of the ongoing debates in the remote work industry revolves around employee productivity. Many argue that the lack of direct supervision makes it difficult to ensure that employees are working as productively and efficiently as they should. On the other hand, others believe that there are enough productivity and management tools to keep employees productive.
While these statements are technically both true, the question is how do managers measure their remote employees’ productivity exactly? To help you with this, here is a brief overview and guide on gauging the productivity of remote workers.
Importance Of Tracking Remote Work Productivity
Before diving into the hows of gauging remote employee productivity, let’s look at why you should do it in the first place.
Track employees’ performance
For business owners, it is essential to have employees who are working the best they can. Having busy people on your team means they are focused on completing whatever important tasks need to be done. However, that may only sometimes be the case. Some employees may be working extra hard while others are performing poorly.
Tracking your employees’ individual performance provides you with an insight into everyone’s effort at work. You’ll be able to recognize employees leading the productivity race and pinpoint those who aren’t as productive or efficient. With this, you can identify and reward good performance and offer help to those struggling.
Gain insight into remote employees’ workflow
Knowing how your remote employees work allows you to create a more suitable work environment. Is there a specific time period when your employees are the most productive? How about tools that help streamline their tasks and projects?
Having a better understanding of how your team works provides you with an opportunity to make changes that can increase their productivity. Even something as simple as adopting certain time management strategies or utilizing a particular productivity hack can boost their motivation and keep them focused.
Manage projects accurately
Businesses have a long list of goals to achieve. To do so, business owners conduct different projects and tasks needed to be accomplished. Whether it’s a digital marketing campaign to boost social media visibility or an event to expand your business network and contacts.
Regardless, it is the business owner or manager’s responsibility to manage and organize these projects to accomplish them successfully and in a timely manner.
Having knowledge of your team’s performance and productivity is essential to do so. You’d be able to gauge how long will it take for your team to complete a set of tasks. You would also be able to determine the amount of time and resources needed to achieve your set goals.
Provide better feedback
As a manager, it is important that you know what your employees are facing at work to offer them constructive feedback. However, in remote work setups, sometimes it takes effort to comprehend what your employees deal with exactly.
Some employees can be too timid to say anything about their problems or challenges. Thus, utilizing different ways to monitor and measure their performance can allow you to better understand their experience as remote employees. You’ll be able to know what exactly is taking too much of their time and offer them feedback that can solve these issues.
Effective Ways To Measure Remote Employees’ Productivity
Monitor output and time spent
It is common practice for business owners to measure an employee’s productivity based on their hours logged on to work. Much like traditional work offices, some employers practice 8-hour workdays to keep their remote employees engaged for a specific time frame.
So when it comes to productivity, the more hours employees are online, the more productive they are. However, some may argue that there are more effective strategies for managing work-from-home employees.
One of the challenges of remote work is the need for more direct monitoring or supervision. In this setup, employees can simply go online but do little to no work. To deal with this, it is better to focus on the employee’s output rather than the hours logged in.
Some business owners allow remote employees to clock out once their deliverables are done. In retrospect, this setup encourages employees to be more productive and efficient.
Establish KPIs and OKRs
One of the most effective ways to gauge your employee’s productivity is by introducing key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives and key results (OKRs). These are well-utilized management guidelines that can be used as the basis of an individual’s or a team’s progress and development.
To do this, you first must define precisely the KPIs and OKRs of a specific job position or project. Key performance indicators are generally used to gauge the performance of individual roles depending on their assignment, project, or job position.
Let’s say a content writer has KPIs relating to their daily word count or weekly output. KPIs are designed to look into smaller tasks and day-to-day assignments to monitor employee performance for a specific time.
On the other hand, objectives and key results (OKRs) focus on larger-scale goals and accomplishments. Instead of looking at productivity individually, the OKR looks at the organization’s progress toward set goals.
Alongside this bigger goal are the key results or steps necessary to accomplish it. The OKR measures performance and productivity based on the organization’s progress toward the said goal.
The use of KPIs and OKRs helps business owners track employee productivity on large-scale and small-scale tasks and projects. These particular metrics emphasize the need for employees to work consistently with a goal or milestone in mind.
Make progress visible using project management tools
Many agree that a sense of responsibility and accountability are compelling drivers for productivity. When employees know that other people are relying on them, they become more motivated.
Project management tools are considered a must in remote work environments. Not only does it allow business owners to organize essential tasks, but they can also keep track of the individuals responsible for a given task or project. Managers can monitor employees’ day-to-day productivity and progress by simply checking their profiles.
Project management software such as Asana has features that help keep track of project OKRs. Each step or task assigned to an employee is visible among people involved in the said project, thus, making them accountable for any mistakes or delays that hinder the project’s progress.
Ask for regular updates
Aside from monitoring your employees through third-party tools, communicating with them can effectively see their progress. Setting up regular meetings for updates and feedback provides you with a direct insight into their situation while working at home.
More than assessing their progress, you can also learn about possible personal challenges or issues they face, which can help explain their performance.
Keeping track of your remote team’s productivity is essential in ensuring their effectiveness and efficiency at work. While monitoring remote teams can be challenging, having a framework can help you accurately gauge their performance.
Feel free to utilize productivity tools and project management software. Remember that monitoring is not about knowing what your employees are doing exactly. Instead, it emphasizes keeping them focused and motivated at work. Therefore, not only will these tools make your digital processes more manageable, but they can also help improve your team’s productivity and efficiency.
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