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How to maximize employee productivity

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Before the world went remote during the COVID-19 outbreak, times were simpler. The matter of employee productivity, for example, was easily addressed with regular meetings and check-ins.

These days, trying to keep your finger on the pulse of productivity levels in your business can be a headache. With more employees working from home, it can be hard to pin down exactly how much time is spent on work, where the time is going, and what each team member is getting done.

Before it gets out of your hands, wrestle back control of employee productivity by implementing systems and tools to measure progress and performance.

What is employee productivity?

Employee productivity can mean many things, but it essentially boils down to output. How you measure output will determine how you monitor your employees’ productivity.

Employee performance can have a huge impact on your ability to meet the targets you set and hit deadlines. With the rise of remote work, employee productivity has been under the spotlight since team leaders and managers can’t check in on employees quite as easily.

In a remote work environment, you need to think outside the box to keep apprised of what your employees are up to. It’s worth coming up with core metrics you can use to quantify productivity even when your team isn’t working from a centralized location.

The most important productivity metrics

The right metrics will give you the information you need to accurately assess employee productivity. Each of the following metrics can provide you with important data about performance while also having its own specific use.

Time spent

One of the most straightforward and effective ways to evaluate workforce productivity levels is to track the time employees spend on work-related activities throughout the day.

When you track productivity as a direct result of the time employees spend on various tasks, you can use the corresponding data to make accurate project deadline estimates. This data can also be used to inform the payroll and give managers a valuable tool for effective resource planning.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that tracking the time employees spend on tasks can give you a clear idea of how much effort they apply each work day. You can also observe how much time is spent on value-adding activities and how much is spent on more administrative tasks.

There are two ways employees can track time at work:

Manual time logging - Noting when they start and stop working or retrospectively logging the time.

Automatic time tracking - Using a time-tracking tool or stopwatch to track the time they spend as soon as they log in or clock in for the day.

Timesheet for employee productivity

Tasks completed

Recording tasks completed is a simple way to measure productivity based on how much volume of work each employee manages to finish each day. It’s a simple to-do list approach to workplace productivity that suggests that the most important factor in getting things done is ticking off tasks and activities.

The caveat here is that not each task carries the same value. So, for this metric to provide useful insight, you need to differentiate high- and low-priority tasks and assign them different values.

Milestones reached

Milestones reached is more of a collective metric that factors in an entire team or department’s output levels. If you want to gauge how well your team works as a unit, you can measure their productivity as a result of how quickly or consistently they hit the milestones that have been set for them.

Top 3 tools for productivity

Now that you have some metrics you can use to measure individual employee productivity, how can you inspire better employee engagement?

One of the best ways to boost employee engagement is to equip your employees with the right tools to help them work smarter, not harder.

Stack

If you want to put blinders on every time you load up your browser, the Stack spatial browser can help you. With a suite of tools for digital decluttering and staying focused online, Stack can bring the best out of you and your employees from the moment everyone clocks in.

Stack multitask screenshot

Stack allows you to zone out online distractions that come in the form of unsolicited notifications and hone in on the task at hand.

With Spaces, you and your team can separate your personal and professional online lives, minimizing the risk of the occasional Facebook check or newsfeed browse. You can also access Switch, which equips your employees with a quick way of switching between multiple tasks for when they have juggling to do.

Time trackers

While tracking the number of tasks your employees complete can be insightful, you don’t know if it took them 10 minutes or two hours. As such, time is one of the most reliable metrics for measuring application and focus levels.

Time trackers provide you with not only the ability to manually log time or track it automatically, but also easy-to-digest timesheets and straightforward reports.

In some cases, these tools can also show you what each employee is spending their time on so that you can determine whether their time is being used wisely. If you notice that some employees spend a lot of time on the internet or an application that is irrelevant to their job, you could raise this issue with them to help them focus their time on the right things.

Project management software

Project management software can help you identify bottlenecks that prevent employees from getting on with their jobs. It can also streamline and automate processes and provide a level of transparency so that you can see the status of tasks and projects in relation to their due dates and your initial estimates.

Like many project management tools, project management software also gives you access to communication and collaboration features. When team members can ping each other with task-specific messages or add labels and comments, the whole process can be sped up, helping the team operate as a well-oiled machine.

Lastly, project management software offers data analytics and report generation that you can use to inform your resource management decisions and gauge overall productivity levels.

How to boost employee productivity

Tools are, in some cases, essential to boosting productivity. But then there are day-to-day actions you and your team can take to get more out of every hour. Here are some of the best ways to boost employee productivity:

Minimize time spent in meetings

Meetings are rapidly becoming time vampires in this day and age. Whereas they were once essential for bringing everyone together, they’re now often a time drain for remote workers.

Just as many industry leaders are now starting to evaluate the wisdom of the 9–5 work day, many are questioning the value of frequent work meetings.

Information that is communicated during work meetings can now be replaced with asynchronous messaging that employees can see at their convenience.

Dragging your entire team into regular meetings can be more of a distraction than a focus booster, so if you can cut down on the time you spend on Zoom calls or round-the-table meetings, you can reap the reward of increased productivity.

Calendar full of meetings

Provide personalized support

If you want everyone who shows up to work to give it their all, provide personalized support and career-based incentives.

Prop your team members up with positive reinforcement, and if they work from home, help them find a work setup that makes sense for their lifestyle. It could be that their office needs more natural light, they’d thrive with a more flexible schedule, or they’d be better off using a standing desk. These are small things that can make a big difference.

With courses and workshops, you can incentivize greater productivity with the potential reward of a promotion. The key to keeping any employee engaged in their work is to remove any perceived ceiling they may have so that they believe they can climb the professional ladder with the right mindset and work ethic.

Reduce distractions

Distractions are the bane of productivity. While a phone buzzing or a video playing once an employee opens a new tab may seem like trivial events, they have the potential to throw the person off their game and interrupt their workflow.

Reducing the instances of such distractions can drastically improve your team’s chances of getting more done.

To avoid distractions, your employees should keep it simple by:

  • Keeping their phone in a different room
  • Clearing their desk of clutter
  • Using noise-canceling headphones
  • Trying the Stack browser for minimizing online distractions
Phone buzzing at desk

Conclusion

With the right tools and systems behind you, tracking and maximizing employee output is much easier. Understanding what makes each member of your team tick and how you can best support them is your best bet for ensuring positive performance, no matter their respective location.

Spatial browser Stack can help you and your team zone out distractions that may be getting in the way of your ability to be productive.

Request access to the Stack spatial browser today to tune out digital distractions and boost employee productivity.

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