Managers worry about the myriad distractions present for the remote worker and whether they will get their jobs done on time. Sure, watching Netflix or snoozing all day sounds tempting. Will it if it’s your daily routine though? Is tracking productivity in a remote environment useful?

Let’s face it, the office did not have any fewer distractions either.

It becomes challenging for the team as well as for the co-workers to manage and collaborate together in remote work.

In the office, coworkers tend often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done. When working from home, you don’t necessarily feel that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done.

Keeping track of your remote workers can be challenging. How will you get to know whether they are working during office hours or procrastinating on the task?

Flexible work schedules might give remote workers more freedom, but it can also be extremely distracting. How do you make sure that your employees are staying productive?

To engage and monitor your remote workers so you can be sure they actually work full-time during office hours, here’s what we can suggest.

Getting started

Develop processes

Empowering employees remotely is a sound practice that can benefit you as well as your employee. Working from home is no longer a luxury for modern business, it is bound to become our way of life.

Setting the processes right, making use of the right tools can enable your remote team to be more efficient and productive. Tools allow you to schedule appointments and run errands without missing a day. The processes power you to keep you going in the right direction.

Ensure transparency

It’s important to have a high level of transparency across projects, tasks, and individual goals within your organization. The team needs to know how their tasks and responsibilities fit together in the bigger picture to give their best.

You can achieve this by making use of the project management systems that can be accessed from any location. It also allows team members to see what their co-workers are accomplishing. You can watch them uploading their files in convenient locations which can be accessed from any device that’s connected to the internet.

Hold your team accountable

Everyone should be aware of all the standards of the team and the expectations of the boss regarding the projects to have consistency in the communication. More so, in the case of a remote.

This is because impromptu communication may not be that easy to felicitate while working remotely. It is essential that everyone is on the same page.

Tasks can be broken down into individual assignments, while team members are given the ability to upload files or post messages related to their tasks. Consistency in work should be visible even if you’re working in different time zones.

Avoid burnout

Working from home can be stressful too. Work-life balance is a myth if you cannot manage remote work.

Encourage your team to keep regular office hours and be observant of the signs of burnout—a drop in output quality, erratic or moody behavior, and emails being sent at odd hours. Creating clear temporal boundaries often depends on the ability to coordinate ones’ time with others. This calls for leaders to aid employees in structuring, coordinating, and managing the pace of work.

Defining productivity

Tracking productivity starts with defining productivity. Companies and even teams have to ask themselves what productivity means for them.

Different companies have different philosophies and cultures which affect how they approach productivity. It varies across different roles too. For example, for a sales representative, it could be about meeting their quota, customer satisfaction, and response time are the top priorities for support teams, and so on.

Time tracking

If a company bills clients hourly, it’s important for them to have accurate assessments of the time spent on projects, whether it’s email, chat, and phone communication or meetings and production tasks.

The nature of a business will typically dictate whether it can benefit from time tracking. This is a factor that mostly depends on the company’s core philosophy.

It can be a good safety feature too, alerting employers if someone routinely takes a long lunch. It can also protect employees who are paid hourly from working overtime without fair compensation.

Some experts feel that the cost of time tracking—from the software, monitoring the data, and productivity shifts should employees be against it—may be greater than any potential gains. “People work a whole lot harder when they feel like they’re being treated well and respected,”

Introducing time tracking software is a sign of distrust. This can increase stress, worries about layoffs, and even turnover. The more intrusive the software becomes on an employee’s daily life, the more likely it is to hurt morale.

Here are some other factors to consider to measuring what truly counts for your team

  • Outcomes or impact
  • Ownership and contribution
  • Quality of work
  • Growth

Outcomes and impacts

We need tangible data to measure, evaluate, and improve our efforts. This means we need measurable metrics to quantify our work. Outcomes and impacts are your answer.

An outcome is a finite, measurable, and time-limited change that occurred because of the efforts you put. Impact, on the other hand, is a long-term or indirect effect of your outcomes. We need results we can evaluate, align and improve. A mix of outcome and impact centric goals is your best bet at success. This reveals the gaps in management as well as teams and individuals.

Ownership and contribution

This is a tough nut to crack because it is difficult to track. Ownership and contribution are crucial for growth. But recognizing and rewarding ownership is needed to cultivate a productive atmosphere.

Quality of work

“What gets measured, gets done” and so does the quality of the work. The learning curve may be steep if your company isn’t used to collaboration-centric work, but the long-term benefits will be worth the initial struggle.

Growth

Productivity may seem irrelevant to growth, but growth is an essential component of sustainable productivity. You cannot expect your business to grow without your team growing with it.

Systems to track productivity

Setting OKRs and KPIs

Starting with your goals

To obtain performance indicators, it is first important to be clear about the goals and objectives. A top-down approach is helpful here, starting from company-level goals – setting yearly, then quarterly goals or so. After that come team goals – surrounding projects or tasks, and finally, come individual goals.

These goals can be quantified. The long-term goals can be the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), allowing better accountability of these goals in terms of the company vision.

Translating goals to KPIs

The medium-term goals can be quantified as milestones, marking the progress in a project or a general target. The KPIs would be translated directly from the short term goals. They are strong indicators of individual performance and act as effective proxies for direct observation. KPIs are not only beneficial from an employer perspective: they can be very effective for employees, as parameters for individual goal setting- increase in motivation, better planning, and a general increase in productivity.

Tracking performance

Once you resolve the roles, responsibilities, and deliverables of each team member, tracking performance follows.

Daily standups

Standups help teams get on the same page. A quick scrum brings everyone to communicate their responsibilities for the day, as well as collaborate easily.

Weekly roundups

Weekly roundups help review progress, explore the scope of improvement, and set an agenda for the week ahead. Hold weekly roundups for regular group updates and hold check-ins with your team for specific projects.

Performance reviews

Performance reviews go a long way towards hitting your goals. We recommend a bi-directional feedback loop works wonders in improving the performance of team members. Just approach it as more of a problem-solving session than needless scrutiny.

The process of productivity monitoring

Measuring

There is a popular saying: ” you cannot manage what you cannot measure” meaning that you need to employ clear and right metrics and standards on what you are trying to control, so you get enabled to objectively qualify employee-produced results as proper or improper ones. Correct measuring respects variability of results, recognizing levels of productivity and trends to productivity decreasing or increasing.

Comparing

To go ahead with productivity monitoring you need to have a conception of good, sufficient, or low productivity levels which are stated in certain performance standards. This plan will be compared against indicators that you have in reality; therefore a plan should be based on certain objective appraisal, probably a common norm, experiment-based results, or projection.

Identifying

One of the goals of productivity monitoring is to find out what reasons underlie a lack of productivity. In other words, to understand whether employees can’t do the job right or they don’t want to do it. In both cases, you need to perform a special investigation to define what exactly harms the productivity of each workplace, and once reasons are identified, they need to be removed or mitigated.

Improving

We should approach low productivity very accurately and thoroughly. A company cannot demand from its employees a good productivity level if these employees are untrained, demotivated, poorly managed, or supplied with defective tools. It is necessary to consider all factors before reaching employees with feedback. When you are sure that poor productivity is a result of time-wasting or any other counter-productive employee’s attitudes, then you can apply warnings, personal meetings, disciplinary actions, re-examinations, etc.

Mounika Kavuri

About Mounika Kavuri

Mounika is an experienced Content Marketing Manager with a history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Content Marketing Branding, and Storytelling, she also holds knowledge in social media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

View all posts by Mounika Kavuri

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