Measuring the Productivity of Remote Workers
Are your remote employees working hard or hardly working? Cliches aside, it’s important to know what your remote team is accomplishing in a day…and if progress is beginning to slow down. But how do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
Because evaluating remote workers isn’t the same as measuring a team’s productivity in the office, we have several tips that may help.
But First, Understanding Productivity Metrics
In certain industries and positions, measuring productivity is easy. For example, knowing how many units your sales team sold is just a report away. But when a team is working from home, holding them to the same standards, especially at first, can lead to a misleading representation of their productivity levels.
Employees are likely up against new challenges while working from home. Communication may be slowed and without in-person meetings, it may take longer for goals to be established or new protocols to be implemented.
While the answer will vary by industry, ask yourself what the best productivity metric there is to help you monitor your team. When working from home, productivity metrics are less likely to focus around hours worked and more likely to include goals or checkpoints. Metrics may also vary by team member and can change over time.
Tips for Boosting Productivity of Remote Workers
Technology can help you monitor and boost productivity in remote workers. Research shows that companies who timetrack daily can cut productivity leaks by 80 percent.
A tool that works for one business may not be the right tool for you. Take time to research your options and choose one that meets your needs without busting your budget. Look for an application that can:
- Support communication between team members
- Measure time worked by employee and/or project
- Provide detailed reports to help you determine if current targets are being met
Of course communication is important when employees are working from home. But finding the right balance is equally important. Daily check-ins may or may not be necessary. Rather than assuming what your team members need, ask how often they would like to touch base. Some may find overzealous communication a trigger for anxiety while others will appreciate the regular chance for updates and discussions.
While accommodating the preferences of your workers can help them boost productivity, remember to also set expectations. This goes two ways.
First, let team members know that remote working should be approached with the same level of professionalism as the office. However, just because they’re logging in from home doesn’t mean they’re expected to be on the clock 24/7.
Have a little faith
It may seem counterintuitive, especially when you’re trying to monitor and boost remote employee performance, but don’t assume the worst from your team. Trust your employees to get the job done with minimal interference on your part.
In most scenarios, you’ll find that your remote team is happy to have the opportunity to work from home (especially if the alternative is a temporary lay-off) and motivated all on their own to complete their to-do list in record time. Studies show that remote employees, even if only temporary, are 24 percent more likely to be happy and productive.
Trusting your employees means less checking in and more opportunities for support. Instead of sending an email saying “What’s the status on Project B?” try “I loved how Project A turned out. I’m looking forward to seeing the final presentation of Project B.” You’re still checking in, but with an encouraging and confident tone your employees will appreciate.
Remote Productivity – It’s Not Impossible
At first, it may seem a remote team can’t be as productive at home as in a traditional office setting. But you may be using the wrong productivity metrics to analyze their output.
While it’s important to know how much time is being clocked and how many units (calls, products, services) are being produced, these numbers won’t tell the entire story.
If an employee is happy, their teammates are happy, and customer reviews are at an all-time high, you can rest assured that remote productivity is going well, even if 40-hour workweeks are difficult to accomplish.
Remote work in itself is a change. Don’t be afraid to change your management style alongside it. You’ll likely find that productivity of remote workers rises while overall stress decreases for everyone involved.
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