The emergence of the covid-19 pandemic radically changed workspace operations. Remote working started being the norm while in lockdown with the introduction of many new technologies. However, the question of tangibly measuring the productivity of remote working employees still remains a growing issue.
The productivity of employees working from home can be measured through 4 unique approaches; setting a work policy, defining key performance indicators, creating milestones, and using tools to measure the work output. These approaches are designed to suit different professional fields where one fixed approach cannot be used.
Understanding these different approaches and choosing the correct approach to your specific field may seem like a big ask, but this article will guide you to understand what each approach means and how to finetune these approaches to measure the productivity of employees working from home.
Related Article: A Guide on How Employees can Trick Productivity Software
4 Ways to Measure the Productivity of Employees Working from Home
Set a Work Policy
A work policy, in the simplest of terms, is an agreement between the employer and the management outlining the job role and the tasks. Setting up this work policy with remote working employees will create transparency for both parties where the employees will know what is expected of them.
The policy should include specific criteria that an employee must achieve while working remotely. These are normally formulated as;
- A sales-related target achievable within a specific time
- A customer feedback survey
- Measurement of web traffic
The policy may also include general guidelines of the company which includes a dress code when attending online meetings, a security policy when sensitive information is held, and specific requirements of the employee.
This approach is more suitable for full-time employees who are transitioning to work remotely.
Define Key Performance Indicators
A key performance indicator, or a KPI, is a value that can be measured to know the productivity of a certain entity. This same method can be used on remote working employees to measure their productivity.
Although there are many formulas and criteria to measure complex KPI trends, using simple milestones and judging its quality using customer feedback is a very practical way to measure productivity.
KPIs can be different depending on various fields. The following table includes various sectors of a business and how KPIs can be measured in each of them.
|Sales||Conversion time from first contact with a customer to closing a sale achieving a preset sales quotaFollow up rates|
|Marketing||Number of visitors coming to a siteLevel of interaction through social media amount of organic traffic gained|
|Software development||Lead time – Time taken to complete a finished product from its conceptMetricsProduct reviews and ratings|
|Human Resource||Average cost taken for recruitment internal employee satisfaction survey average training cost of an employee|
|IT||Equipment error rateAverage handling time of an issueBudget spend on hardware fixes|
This approach of using KPIs will be more suitable for professionals and freelancers working on a contract basis.
The milestone approach is most suitable for new employees and freelancers. The advantage of this approach is that the progress can be constantly measured along with productivity. The milestones can differ depending on the field one works in.
This approach can also be used when working on medium to large-scale projects. Breaking the projects into small chunks and assigning milestones to each of them along with a deadline will guarantee the work output and keep employees motivated.
Advantages of this approach include;
- Ability to make freelance contract changes if the work submitted at milestones isn’t up to standard.
- Track the time taken for the completion of each milestone, which will give an estimation of the completion date of the whole project.
- Identify the potential issues that may arise in the future while doing a project
- Flexibility to make key decision changes after analyzing the project development
The KPI approach and the milestone approach can also be used together to ensure more efficiency and productivity of a business.
Use Tools to Monitor Productivity
This is perhaps the most used approach in modern businesses where internet trackers are used to monitoring remote working employee activities. These tools are found in many shapes and forms from simple time trackers to advanced productivity trendsetters.
Properly using these tools will also result in administrative efficiency where traditional paperwork can be omitted and done through softwares.
TimeCamp to Monitor Time
Monitoring key employee activities like time spent on work is one of the most basic measurements of productivity. This software does exactly that and more.
TimeCamp is a modern software application that does everything related to time. The software performs its key function of tracking the time once an employee signs into this software and starts the shift, much like a normal office environment. The software can also track the overtime hours and time spent idling online.
Apart from time tracking, the software can work as an HR tool too. Approvals for holidays and project extensions can be requested through this software directly, making less paperwork. TimeCamp can also be used as a software integration that is compatible with management softwares including Asana, ClickUp, Salesforce, and Slack.
TimeCamp runs on the freemium model, but the free version has fewer features and wouldn’t be compatible enough to run a medium to large-scale business. The basic plan costs $6.30 per month while the pro versions cost $9 per month. Alternatively, an enterprise plan could be negotiated with the sales team.
The below video shows a quick walkthrough of TimeCamp;
Toggl to Monitor Performance
Toggl is one of the most used performance trackers in the digital market with a reputation for accuracy, making this a must-have software for remote working employees of small to medium scale businesses.
Apart from tracking time, the software uses complex algorithms to measure productivity and provides custom insights based on the findings. The software comes off as very intuitive with an easy-to-learn interface and guarantees a swift working experience.
The application can also be integrated with other software by linking up with Zapier. However, some glitches have been reported when integrating this software.
Toggl doesn’t provide a free version, but only a 14-day free trial. Two versions can be purchased; Team and Business. The Team version costs $8 per month while the Business version costs $13.35 per month.
Alternatively, check here for more employee monitoring softwares and watch the below video for a demo of Toggl;
Frequently Asked Questions
What Equipment Do I Need to Boost Productivity When Working from Home?
The key three things that are needed are a specific work desk, a fast internet connection, and a fast computer. Assigning a specific work desk at your home will get you into the workspace mentality which is needed when working remotely. A fast internet connection will boost up your connection times while a fast computer will make you more efficient.
What Are The Benefits of Working From Home?
Studies have found that working from home is cheaper for both the employees and employers. On one hand, the management doesn’t have to rent out a workspace, saving a lot on rent costs. Employees on the other hand share a more peaceful environment to work in while transportation costs to work are also minimized.
What Are The Highest Paying Remote Working Jobs?
According to research done by Indeed in the USA, a sales representative can earn an annual income of $71,144 while working remotely. Recruiting specialists, insurance agents, developers, and editors can receive an income between $60,000 to $70,000 while tutors, translators, and bloggers can get between $50,000 to $60,000.
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Measuring the productivity of remote working employees can be a tough ask, but using the approaches and tools that we have mentioned will guarantee you a peaceful sense of mind. Don’t forget to pay attention to the needs of the employees and to have some downtime while working from home!
How to track productivity https://www.timecamp.com/blog/2021/10/remote-worker-monitoring-how-to-track-productivity/
Work from home employee guide https://www.capterra.com/sem-compare/employee-monitoring-software/?utm_source=ps-google&utm_medium=ppc&gclid=Cj0KCQjw1ZeUBhDyARIsAOzAqQIDqSlN_YPQo8o0CfLnyzPxzwpTxIQs0liPmWkkaaEHxKWrIo2YYAsaAn2qEALw_wcB
KPIs for sales representatives https://www.performio.co/insight/kpi-examples-for-sales-representatives
KPI metrics for marketers