In March 2020, the world saw a shift in working as the pandemic forced many workers to start doing their jobs from home. Working remotely is not a new phenomenon. However, it was not widely accepted among organizations. With such a huge ship, managers and leadership cannot know how productive their employees are.
Here are eight tips for helping to track whether your remote employees are productive or not.
- Schedule Regular 1-to-1’s
- Use Time Tracking Software
- Use Task Management Software
- Implement Daily Stand Up Meetings
- Ask Employees For Daily Reports On What They Have Done
- Use Instant Messenger Chats
- Call Unexpectedly For Casual Catch Ups
- Cultivate A Responsible And Productive Remote Culture
1. Schedule Regular 1-to-1’s
One way to stay on top of your employees and know what they are up to is to schedule regular 1-to-1 meetings. It is essential to schedule meetings instead of verbally agreeing to catch up because otherwise, things can get busy or simply forgotten about. However, if you know that You are having a ten-minute catch-up call with an employee twice a week, and they will know that they need to come to you prepared and tell you exactly what they are getting up to. Stay in touch with your employees, and they will be more inclined to stay productive. These meetings must be effective, so if they stop being productive or are going on too long, you need to change them.
2. Use Time Tracking Software
Another great way to track how productive your workers are is to use time tracking software. Time tracking software helps you to track every second spent on projects, tasks, productivity, effectiveness, and more. Using intuitive tools such as workpuls.com/time-tracking gives you a clear and accurate insight into how productive your employees are. You will see when your employee’s check-in, how long they are away from their workstations, and what apps and websites they visit. Also, you can capture screenshots of your employee’s screens for the ultimate proof of their work. All of this information can be used to motivate employees and to optimize ways of working. Additionally, if you have an employee you suspect is not doing as much work as possible, you can use the time tracking software to provide evidence and talk to the individual. Alternatively, you may have an employee who is working above and beyond what is expected of them. Using time tracking software, their hard work and dedication can be recognized and rewarded.
Time tracking software is the ultimate tool to help you ensure that your remote employees are productive. Since your employees will be aware of the software and its implications, they will be far more inclined to make sure they are effective. While it costs to purchase such software, consider it an investment as this software can improve your organization’s way of working and make sure that every penny is being put to good use. As a result, it will save you money in the long run.
3. Use Task Management Software
Task management software is another suitable method to help track what employees are doing and how productive they are. Trello uses a simple, digital Kanban to post tasks and assign them to the relevant employees. Tasks can be in three different columns; starting soon’, ‘in progress,’ and then in ‘completed.’ Employees will move the tasks as they go along, and you will be able to see precisely what is being done and when needs to be done. It gives all employees a chance to collaborate despite being apart. You can also set meetings, define projects and set goals for teams and this will help with organization and increase productivity. Using software like this will give you a good indication of who is working on what, when they are working, and how many hours they are putting into projects. It is an easy way to monitor your employee’s productivity without having to keep asking them what they are up to.
4. Implement Daily Stand Up Meetings
Another way to assess how productive your remote employees are is to check-in at daily stand-up meetings. These meetings are designed to be quick and for everyone to quickly say what they are up to, what goals they are working to and what milestones they have recently achieved. Each person in the team gives a summary, and then it moves onto the next Employee. It will become quite clear whether or not an employee is as productive as they could be as they won’t have much to say in the meetings regarding their work. In this case, you can talk to that employee later on privately and find out if anything is going on that restricts their working capability and if there is anything that management can do to help. One of the more challenging aspects of the daily stand-up meeting is ensuring that it does not go on too long. This then becomes counterproductive as it ends up eating into critical working hours.
5. Ask Employees For Daily Reports On What They Have Done
Your employees will be more inclined to be productive throughout the working day if they know that they have a deadline to meet. So, you can implement a method that asks all remote employees to provide their line manager with a report of what they have been working on that day. This will motivate employees to give complete information at the end of each day as they will not want to send a report that has nothing on it. This should be put in place for all employees because if you pick and choose who has to do a daily report, this can cause upset and agitation within the organization.
6. Use Instant Messenger Chats
When working remotely, you lose the ability to just go up to someone and ask them a quick question or to have an informal chat. Instead, people use email, and this simply takes too long as emails are easy to ignore. To overcome this issue, companies are using instant messaging chats such as Slack. You can set up several different conversations, individually and in groups too. So whenever you need a quick answer from someone, it is much better to use an instant messaging platform than to opt for email. Also, you will be able to see who is online, and if someone is not replying to one of your messages, this suggests that they might be away from their screen. It is essential that you establish a set of rules regarding the usage of these platforms. That way everyone is on the same page. So if people are expected to be online during their work hours then this has to be the same for everyone, that way you will have a better idea of who is not online/ being productive when they are meant to be.
7. Call Unexpectedly For Casual Catch Ups
While it is important to have scheduled calls in place, it is also beneficial to have some random and casual catch-ups with employees. If you only ever check in with them on a scheduled basis then this risks employees only being productive when they think managers will be checking in on them. To overcome this potential problem, try calling unexpectedly every now and again. This way you can ask how they are doing, what they are up to, and if any issues are preventing them from completing their work. You are not calling to catch them out, but more to get a realistic idea of what they are up to. Also, do not call your employees too much because then they will never get a chance to actually get on with their workload as they will just be stuck on calls all day. It is also important that your employees do not feel as though you are trying to catch them out, so it is a good idea to keep any unexpected calls short, casual and friendly.
8. Cultivate A Responsible And Productive Remote Culture
The other thing you can do is to try and cultivate a responsible and productive remote working culture. This is easier said than done but with a few simple measures put into place here and there, over time this will build a productive, efficient and effective working environment. It will require patience and an acceptance of the change. Resistance to change is likely to be one of the biggest obstacles to creating the work culture you desire as people do not like change. You have to gently work on these individuals and explain how the change will be good and why it will benefit them too.
With such a huge shift in the way that we work, it is important to implement measures that ensure employees are still working productively, efficiently, and effectively. When people were in the office this was far easier to monitor but it does not have to be difficult to monitor for remote employees. Managers have to get creative and adopt new methods to monitor and measure productivity, and with these 8 methods, companies can do exactly that.