Measuring productivity is one of the key pieces of information companies consider when looking at offering flexible work options such as telecommuting. Companies considering giving remote options to their workforce have a wide number of factors to consider, including technology, costs, schedules, and more. But making sure the work gets done is always on the top of the list for consideration. We recently posed the question to companies that are currently utilizing remote workers on what kind of strategies they use for productivity monitoring and management. Answers were given on Remote.co, with remote companies addressing how they measure the productivity of remote workers.
Here are four remote productivity monitoring and management strategies:
1. Identify and measure metrics.
Knowing what being productive looks like is important, and metrics of productivity are imperative to calculating this. Sococo states, “We’re an Agile organization, so self-examination is built into our workflow very naturally. We set goals, then examine and measure progress and output at regular, discrete intervals.” Metrics like annual, quarterly, and weekly reviews can expose when someone is not meeting the goals of a team. You can use software like Hubstaff does, which they state: “The Hubstaff software has useful features like activity levels and randomized screenshots, so we can see how productive our team members are being while tracking time, as well as gain a clear picture of what we’re working on.”
2. Set goals.
Consistently seen throughout the feedback on the survey was the idea that remote work can be tracked by what is produced. For many companies, tracking every move of a remote worker is not necessary; the devil in the details of remote work is when work is not accomplished when expected. SitePen commented, “We estimate the required effort for every challenge we take on and then do our best to meet our goals. When a group of people value transparent operations, it’s easy to see when problems arise and we can quickly adjust accordingly to ensure that we meet our goals.”
3. Use peer feedback.
When you hire remote workers they are working independently, but that does not lower the amount of interaction that you can expect from a team. According to World Wide Web Hosting, “The accountability that members of an Agile team have to one another pushes everyone involved.” Codebusters, Inc. says, “We have a 3-strike system for any instances where it is clear that productivity and/or quality is suffering. Consultants are also provided via virtual office spaces or by phone/webinar.” Managers who are trained and familiar with both the work expected and the level of communication needed to run the company smoothly will prove invaluable in keeping tabs on individual productivity and success.
4. Have clear expectations.
Clear expectations of remote workers can be entirely tied to the measurable, but companies should include the fit in their culture. Companies that report great success with their teams often speak of how their teams do not need micromanaging, as they have hired employees that know what is expected of them and buy into the remote company culture and independence needed to be successful on a remote team.
GitLab commented, “We all contribute in everything we can besides our regular job tasks. Everybody shares and we can all see everybody’s contributions.” Scrapinghub has a great comment about this: “Nobody works alone at Scrapinghub. Everybody reports to a manager that keeps track of their work and this feedback moves up the chain, as it does in any standard company. It doesn’t need to be different for remote working companies. If you need to keep your employees close to check on them and make sure they’re not on Facebook, then you should not consider building a remote working company. Remote working companies need to build on trust. Productivity is fueled by motivation. So, rather than asking how to keep your workers (remote or not) productive, you should ask how to keep them motivated. Motivation varies a lot per person. Whether it’s their professional development, contributing to open source projects or working on challenging tasks, you need to know the priorities of your employees and strive to align their work to them, within your company’s constraints of course.”
The bottom line, from all of the companies that responded to this question, was a resounding focus on productivity rather than hours. Metrics, clear communication, goal setting, and peer feedback are already in place within the traditional office environment, so tweaking those processes to allow for remote working can help companies grow and thrive and become even more productive. From startups to large corporations, there are solutions and ways to ensure you hire the right candidates and your company thrives with its flexible working policies.