When it comes to working remotely, there’s typically one concern that plagues employers and employees alike: will you still get as much done? How do you measure productivity?
Here’s the short answer: yes. In fact, plenty of studies show that remote workers actually get far more done than their in-office counterparts.
But for companies who employ remote team members or an entirely remote workforce, there’s another productivity-related question that carries importance: how can they effectively measure the productivity of their workers?
Well, there’s nobody better to ask than some leading remote company employers—and that’s exactly what we did.
Here’s how eight different employers measure productivity among their remote workers:
1. Maintain a results-oriented culture.
“At Toggl, we have a result-oriented culture and everyone’s productivity is measured by their results. We have small teams working together: back end team, front end team, mobile team, marketing team, etc. Every team sets their own goals and works towards achieving them. We also track time with Toggl but the productivity is measured based on the results and not on how many hours you have been working. It works perfectly as we put a lot of trust into our coworkers.”—Alari Aho, CEO of Toggl
2. Set clear goals and deadlines.
“We set goals and deadlines, the same way we would if our team was working in an office together. The team here at [PipelineDeals] works really hard to meet the company goals and we use some different apps like PivotalTracker and Basecamp to track our progress.”—Christelle Lachapelle, brand manager at PipelineDeals (formerly Batchbook)
3. Form plans to increase accountability.
“All of us have yearly ‘people plans’ that tie us to our goals and what’s required. Every one of us tracks all of our time so that we can measure ourselves and keep on track. Again, this is about Leadership 101 in some ways. Meaning, every worker needs to have clear expectations and clear feedback—no matter where they work.”—Wes Ward, VP of strategic growth at Five Q
4. Analyze important tasks.
“I measure productivity by the number of important tasks we have managed to resolve per week. This is how I look at my team’s efficiency; important tasks in our case are either things that directly helped clients resolve issues they had or will make clients’ (and theme authors’) lives easier, so issues will be prevented in the near future.”—Amit Kvint, compatibility team leader at OnTheGoSystems
5. Track progress on priorities.
“We focus more on priorities than on numeric goals. We set them frequently to adjust those priorities. Productivity is measured by how much progress we make on those priorities in a given time frame.”—Fred Perrotta, CEO of Tortuga
6. Have employees track hours and activities.
“We monitor both hours worked and hours billed to clients. Virtual assistants describe the work they do each day, which allows us to assess productivity.”—Eric Wall, CEO of Equivity
7. Use your annual review process.
“Through our annual review process. We simply ask: 1) What were your key accomplishments? 2) What lessons did you learn? 3) What are your top goals for next year? 4) What skills do you want to improve? and 5) How can your manager help you?”—Chuck Vadun, communications director at Fire Engine RED
8. Trust your employees.
“We don’t actively measure anything like work output. Everyone is quite honest about their flow and usually it’s quite clear from the amount of product that is being built whether we’re working fast or slow.”—Tom Moor, co-founder of Speak
Obviously, there are plenty of ways that remote employers keep an eye on the productivity of their employees. But one common thread between most of them? An emphasis on results. In short, they care more about what gets done than the working hours during which it gets accomplished. That’s a surefire way to not only have a more productive team, but also higher morale and a significantly more supportive culture.
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