One of the biggest fears of business owners when it comes to employees working from home has been, “How do I know they’re being as productive as when at the office?”
It turns out that in general, remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts, largely due to the fact that they have fewer distractions throughout the day. No one stopping by their desk for an impromptu conversation or asking for help with the copier.
In a study during the pandemic, 85% of Australians reported being as productive or more productive when working from home.
But, in order for remote team members to be productive, they need the right cloud business solutions and policies in place to help. And for employers to feel good about remote work and keeping telecommuting in place after the pandemic, they need a way to gauge productivity for employees not at the office.
There are several ways you can do this that will improve overall communication and workflow and help you keep track of who is working hard and who may be taking advantage of the situation.
Create Clear Policies for Telecommuting
It’s important to set your team up for success by giving them clear instructions on what’s expected of them. For example, a newly remote employee might wonder things like, “Do I still take breaks? When?” or “Can I take an hour during the workday to go to a school event and then make that up later in the evening?
Create clear policies for your team on what’s expected of them, including:
- Hours they are expected to be available each day
- Whether or not they can work flexible hours
- How to let their manager know they’re at their desk
- Expected methods of communication
- Approved applications that can be used
- Timing for taking breaks and lunch
Time Tracking Application
One common way that employers can keep track of remote employee work time is by having them use a time-tracking application. This is helpful for some situations, such as for hourly paid employees and employees that work on several clients’ projects for which you need to track labor expenses.
Time tracking apps are easy to use. They can be used in a browser or as a browser extension and can track time per project and even take screenshots of a computer screen at various intervals to confirm what’s being worked on.
This would not be the perfect way to track productivity for all employees, but in some situations it is very helpful.
Here are a few popular time-tracking apps out there:
Track Productivity by Work Produced
For your salaried employees and any others were tracking work by the minute doesn’t make sense, track productivity through quality work product produced.
If you know that when working at the office, an employee will get X amount of tasks and work product finished in a week, you can use that as a baseline to for gauging their productivity while working from home.
Tracking productivity by work product is actually a better way to look at it for many types of positions because not all employees work at the same pace. One “super-employee” may actually get more quality work done in less time than their colleagues.
Login Access & Cloud Use Tracking
There are certain applications that can track when employees are logging into your business applications and how long they are logged in. Business password management applications, single sign-on (SSO) apps, and cloud access security brokers (CASBs) are some of these.
A login access and cloud use tracking tool can help alert you to potential drops in productivity. For example, if you see that a customer service representative hasn’t logged into your CRM program for a day and a half, you know there’s a problem.
Monitoring cloud application use can be one of the first red flags that something is wrong, and also let you know when everything is running smoothly with your remote team.
Use a Team Communication Hub
When employers worry about employee productivity, it can often simply be the result of lack of clear communication.
For example, a remote employee may be on an important video call with a client, but when their manager tries to reach them, all they know is that the employee should be working right now, but they aren’t answering.
Suddenly, images of the employee goofing off starts flowing and the manager begins to get upset, when in truth their remote team member is working hard.
These types of misunderstandings can be mitigated by using a team communication hub like Microsoft Teams. Some of the benefits include:
- Custom status messages (at lunch, on a call, etc.)
- Real-time messaging to virtually “tap a coworker on the shoulder”
- Task management capabilities
- Secure communications and file sharing
- Easy voice or video chat
- Collaborate in MS Office documents inside the app
Need Help With Communication Tools for Your Remote Team?
Communication is vital to ensuring good productivity of employees working from home. Connected Platforms can work with your Brisbane area business to put effective systems in place to keep your entire team connected and productive.
Contact us for a free consultation. Call 1300 866 096 or book a coffee meeting online.