In 2020, most of the world was working from home. These were unprecedented times. Plunged right into the thick of a pandemic, employers and workers had to recalibrate where—and how—to work. There were more important things to tackle than reporting to the office and clocking in a full nine-to-five. For employers, flexibility was only a natural response.
Though remote work is not new, there's a stark difference between coordinating remotely with a few colleagues and having entire teams working from home. Remote work comes with inherent challenges, and remote work in a time of uncertainty is indeed a new frontier.
Apart from the occasional technical difficulties and time management issues, some workers also have trouble staying motivated or focused. To fully embrace “the new normal” of work, employers and leaders have had to rethink their approach to various aspects of the work-life, including measuring productivity.
If your team is struggling with achieving goals or if you simply want to streamline your processes for maximum productivity while working from home, the following methods should help. With these effective ways to measure and manage productivity, it will be a win-win for everybody—there is less burnout, more life-work balance, and better, more concrete results.
It takes time to build company culture, so it's essential to express your goal at every step as you go along. For example, if you're aiming to have the entire organization approach their work in a more result-oriented manner, you can begin by cultivating that mindset. But, first, make sure communication channels are open.
Let your colleagues provide feedback and identify areas of improvement in your processes. This helps all team members develop a keen eye for inefficient practices and eventually lead to self-improvement. Leaders must drive their teammates into striving for excellence, whether it's completing a project or task or making an existing process more efficient.
The essential step for managing productivity more wisely in your team is to have clearly defined policies that outline how you will go about it.
Having a sound policy in place from the get-go will minimize time and efforts on trial-and-error strategies and, at the same time, keep your colleagues involved in the process. Because they would have a clear idea about how you're going to measure their performance, it would help build transparency as well.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) have always been crucial in keeping abreast of a team's performance, whether individual or as a whole. Although KPIs have been evolving with the workplace, there are a few that remain straightforward. As such, it is critical to decide on the KPIs you will set for each role. In the remote workplace, the key is considering flexibility.
A remote copywriter, for instance, may have a different set of expectations than a person in the same role who reports in-house. While it may look significantly different for certain roles, it is necessary to determine each one's specific output to measure productivity effectively.
The number of performance metrics available makes it crucial to select the most appropriate ones for your team. For remote teams, individual metrics are most effective. Leaders must recognize that using the relevant metrics means starting with the right data.
Metrics are vital in remote work, as it's more difficult to monitor and observe your teammates or colleagues. For example, you can determine the necessary data sets to analyze your team's productivity. Task completion, time spent, the number of hours worked, and quality scores are just a few metrics you can use.
To effectively measure each team's productivity, determine a set of metrics for each. While it's good to use different metrics for a better overall picture of your team's performance, don't go overboard.
Take into account each team's responsibilities. Just like individual metrics, they might have changed over time. But when dealing with specific functions, some tried-and-tested metrics are still the way to go.
One example is marketing, wherein you might use metrics, such as lead conversion rate and return on marketing investment (ROMI). Lead conversion—or the percentage of your website visitors captured as leads—indicates how well you can attract the right audience and turn them into leads. ROMI determines the revenue for each campaign against the costs.
Once you've identified and calculated your team's productivity metrics, you can set benchmarks according to historical performance data.
Management software is a must these days, no matter the scale of a task or project. A wide range of software is available based on your team's various needs. For example:
• Microsoft Teams and Zoom – for video conferencing and calls
• Google Suite – for overall documentation, collaboration, storage, event-setting, and more
• Trello – for planning projects
• Proofhub – for all-in-one project management
• Slack – for organized communication
When managing remote teams, you would need robust software that's easily accessible, user-friendly, and effective for your team members.
Apart from task and project management software, time tracking software is another crucial tool for managing productivity.
Time management software like HiveDesk, Hubstaff, Time Camp, and Time Doctor ensure transparency in monitoring project time tracking. These tools also help keep team members synchronized with each other for a better flow of collaboration, no matter where they're working from.
One great way to track progress and, at the same time, motivate employees is by creating milestones for their tasks. Milestones enable workers to see achievable goals more tangibly, especially if it's a large-scale project. Break down a big task into smaller tasks so employees can also mark their progress when they accomplish them one by one.
It is also worth considering to incentivize hitting milestones. This could serve as a motivating factor for employees once they see that they are making clear progress in their goals and tasks.
Another way to effectively manage your team's productivity is to make sure you're using a reporting system. Depending upon your requirements, you can conduct reports on a daily or weekly basis.
Moreover, you should highlight progress points against your goals so you can adjust as needed. You can also use project management software to optimize your reporting structure based on your needs.
Because smooth collaboration is crucial for either remote or office-based setups, the most fundamental productivity tip is to keep a pulse on your team members' needs and ensure that they are met. After all, employees are most productive when they feel that they are valued.
Along with the various metrics and management tools, employers and team leaders also need to consider factors like work flexibility, environment, and behaviors to ensure their teams' well-being. As the world adopts more flexible business models, you should constantly re-examine your productivity efforts.
The prevalence of remote work has presented challenges for businesses and teams, but it has also provided great opportunities for them to improve productivity. Along with re-emphasizing important policies, tools, and metrics to determine productivity at work objectively, the remote setup has also shifted the focus back to the individual employee.
Regardless of the work setup, a productive team is one where individual team members feel the value of their work. In the age of remote work, teams must work harder to provide the necessary support to their colleagues.
Adrian works as the Marketing Manager for Asia Premier One Source. He has the creative mind to plan and implement multiple strategies for businesses. He expanded the company's social media presence using digital marketing.
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