Any successful business knows that high levels of employee productivity is key to ultimate long-term success. Productive employees keep up with the day-to-day tasks of the job and may even manage to take on higher-level projects that can really steer innovation in the company and help fight off competitors.
However, productivity has long been a metric that is somewhat elusive to managers trying to get a handle on it. Measuring productivity isn’t all that easy — after all, do 8 hours of mediocre work or 5 hours of hard work and 3 hours of socializing with coworkers produce more? It is hard to say because the exact formula for productivity varies from person to person and day to day.
Fortunately, thanks to developments in technology, there are ways managers can begin to get a handle on general productivity trends. Having this information can help inform decisions on how employees should spend their time and how long certain types of work actually take to complete. These details can help provide more accurate estimates to clients and protect overall budgets within your company.
The idea of monitoring employee productivity gives many managers and employees a feeling of unease. Nobody wants to have someone watching their every move over their shoulder or feel like every little thing they do is being scrutinized. That type of environment isn’t good for anyone, and enforcing something like that is sure to lose valuable team members quickly.
The use of technology to understand and increase productivity is a little more nuanced. For instance, a company may decide to use a time tracking platform that provides insights and reports broken down into projects. This helps management understand how much time is going into certain projects and how much budgeted time is left before results are due. Technologies such as these can boost productivity by helping employees and team members visualize how much needs to be done in a certain timeframe. It can also help the leadership budget and plan time for future projects.
Other things that can be tracked to benefit the company without infringing on employee space are things such as meeting attendance, schedule effectiveness, or employee retention. For instance, if employees are missing meetings to work on other projects or regularly asking for schedule changes, that is indicative of a need for better company organization to increase productivity.
Big Data = Big Boosts
Advances in technologies such as big data are beginning to offer a lot in the way of employee productivity and productivity tracking. For example, big data can be used to help identify where certain teams have weak points. It can also help managers get them the training or work plan they need to catch up with other, more effective teams. This kind of tracking can also help identify teams that are consistently outperforming others and help analyze what exactly they are doing differently.
Big data can also be used by employees to help them increase their productivity. For example, the technology can be used to help identify safety risks that employees can then avoid. Likewise, it can be used by employees to analyze certain aspects of their projects to discover insights that any human may have otherwise missed. Big data can do all of these things at lightning speeds, which further adds to the productivity boost.
For many companies, the idea of upgrading new technologies can be a bit unnerving. Many upfront costs can make the change seem like a bad idea, such as the expense of buying new equipment, productivity lost as employees learn new programs, and time for installation. However, this initial investment can pay dividends in overall productivity increase over the years after, which can make the effort well worth it.
Productivity in a Remote Environment
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitively altered how we do business — potentially well into the future even after vaccinations have allowed us to go back to normal. Many companies are finding that remote work allows them to save dividends on space rental and office supplies and equipment. As long as employees can get their work done and maintain productivity, it could be well worth it for a company to just stay remote.
This is where things like employee tracking technologies can come in handy. Big data can help assess if productivity is actually being maintained while remote and help identify certain sectors of the company where remaining remote is viable. Perhaps marketing and sales are doing great remotely because of greater schedule flexibility and cloud services allow easy access to contract data from anywhere, while production benefits from the structure and team environment of coming back to the office.
Regardless of future plans, if the company is working remotely right now, then it is important to try to adapt. This can mean making certain exceptions and increasing flexibility to help people function in this environment. For instance, it’s important to recognize that team performance is key to the job, but building a team looks different when everyone comes together on a video call rather than in a physical conference room. The former may take a little more time, and the phase of team building may take a little longer, but they are doable. Technologies are making a big difference in every aspect of our lives, not the least in how to monitor and manage productivity at work. There are plenty of metrics that can be tracked, and big data can help identify weak points where improvements can be made. Though our world is uncertain right now, technology is helping us adapt to our realitis.