Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees are working remotely than ever before. According to a recent survey, more than 80% of office workers would like to continue working from home at least one day a week and more than half of employers believe that will happen once the pandemic has ended. Similarly, other industry analysts estimate that about 25-30% of the workforce will work remotely multiple days per week by the end of 2021. As employees continue to work productively from home, the experience has served to both increase demand and reduce fears among managers.
Though remote employees are poised to play a big role in the future of work, it will be important for businesses of all sizes to explore what success looks like, commit to best practices, and provide support from every level of the organization. For those who are new to supporting remote workers, now is a great time to understand the strategy and tools your organization needs to enhance performance and productivity.
Business owners can utilize tools and metrics to ensure good productivity. Find out how you can improve productivity tracking and measurement without making your employees feel pressured or spied upon. As you continue to grow your remote workforce, consider these practical tips to better manage and measure employee productivity.
How to ensure remote productivity while preserving trust
In the past, one of the biggest obstacles to the remote working movement was an inability for managers to know what employees are doing with their time. There was a concern among many business owners that home-based remote workers would be too distracted or would not be diligent about separating work time from personal time.
Even though numerous studies have shown remote workers are happier, more productive, and less distracted than their office counterparts, a wholesale move to work-from-home arrangements only came to fruition in response to a global health pandemic. Now that the initial transition is over, and it looks as if many workers will continue remote work, some employers want to be able to track and measure work-from-home performance better. In fact, recent data from Gartner shows that since the pandemic began, 16% of employers are using technologies more frequently to monitor their employees through methods such as virtual clocking in and out, tracking work computer usage, and monitoring employee communications.
What types of tools can monitor remote employees?
There are numerous employee monitoring tools available to businesses looking to track employee keystrokes, monitor application usage, and log file transfers. There are even tools that take random screenshots of an employee’s computer monitor to capture what is on the screen at a given point in time. A recent SHRM article presented two points of view about usage of these types of tools: 1) Pro—monitoring tools are helpful since they can help increase productivity and data security and 2) Con—usage of these tools demonstrates a lack of employee trust that can lead to disengagement or other negative outcomes. To be successful, it’s important for small businesses to be transparent about usage of these products and strike a balance with employees so it doesn’t come across like Big Brother surveillance.
Use a combination of both productivity tracking and performance boosting tools
Technology definitely paved the way to make working from home easier than ever before. Employees are using tools like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams to stay connected with co-workers and clients by making communication easy and reliable. With more people working from home than ever before, it’s a great time for employers to leverage the benefits of online collaboration tools to help boost productivity—as well as rethink how performance is measured.
Here are some of the tools you can add to your company’s toolbox to better track and manage productivity of your remote workforce:
Cloud-based time and attendance tracking tools (manage time collection, accruals, and schedules)
Employee monitoring software (monitor keystrokes, sites visited or applications used, screenshots)
Cloud-based project management/collaboration software (digital workspace to run processes, projects, and workflows)
Messaging tools (chat, video)
For these tools to drive success, they should be easy to use, available anytime and anywhere, offer multiple modes of reliable communication, enable secure data sharing, and integrate with other business tools.
Find the best-fit metrics to evaluate productivity
In an article for CNBC, Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, said, “One of the biggest holdbacks of remote work is trust—managers simply don’t trust their people to work untethered. They’re used to managing by counting butts in seats rather than by results.” This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to consider the metrics they are using to evaluate productivity. Should your workforce productivity be measured simply by the number of keystrokes? Or how much time employees log in their office chairs? What indicators of productivity are most integral to your company’s success?
There are many quantitative metrics worth considering beyond an examination of actual work time, overtime hours, or project completion timelines. For example, you may want to evaluate your sales staff using call volume, lead to win conversion rates, and sales revenue. These metrics often provide a more insightful indicator of sales team productivity. On the other hand, you may want to evaluate support staff on average speed to answer, first response time, and customer satisfaction ratings. One small business journal notes, “While general productivity formulas will provide revenue versus costs and time measurements, customer satisfaction can speak to the actual quality of the work being done by your team.”
Asure is here to help
Asure provides software and services to help your business build a great team and support the people in your organization—whether your employees are on-site, remot
e, or a mix of both. Asure is here to help your business get to the next level with:
Software to attract, develop, and retain key staff
Self-service tools that improve employee engagement and productivity
Automated HR processes that save time