The Challenge of COVID-19: Measuring Employee Productivity When They Work from Home

As the global spread of Covid-19 continues, more and more people are transitioning to remote working. This transition may be particularly challenging for managers, who are used to having their teams physically present and easily able to gauge productivity through their body language. The question of how to effectively manage a virtual team arises. Through our research, we have discovered some key insights into how to monitor remote workers successfully.

The Key Is Trust

Composing can be especially tricky when endeavoring to express complex forms of discourse, such as sarcasm. Striving to interpret others’ intentions in an optimistic way from a distance can be likened to this.

Maintaining regular visuals of your staff carrying out their duties at their allocated workstations helps to build trust. But how can we be sure they are working while they are at home? Can we be confident they are completing their tasks rather than just streaming the latest episode of Pickard on Amazon Prime?

It is true to say that an effective employee will thrive regardless of the environment in which they work. It would be unreasonable to assume that a hard-working member of staff would immediately become unproductive simply because they are working remotely. You must have confidence in their ability, and trust in your decision to employ them in the first place.

It is essential to foster trust with remote staff in order to achieve successful working relationships. Honesty and transparency are key components in this endeavor; ensuring that your remote team is aware of the expectations and status of their work is paramount. Regular check-ins and updates are highly recommended to ensure that the team is always on the same page.

We are particularly drawn to the Agile Remote Development Methodology as it offers a daily stand-up routine, which gives team members the opportunity to provide updates on their progress and ask for help when they require it. This encourages a sense of assurance and trust, which is essential for a successful and productive remote working environment.

Planning is essential.

Organizing yourself is an excellent way to ensure that your project is progressing as it should. When managing remote employees, it is essential to take into consideration the actual results obtained as a measure of performance. However, it is equally important to have a clear understanding of the standards that you expect in order to evaluate their work fairly.

It is highly beneficial to have a team task management system in place and it is therefore essential to consider implementing one if there is currently no such system in operation. We have collated a selection of the best recommendations below, although it may be necessary to evaluate a few different solutions before choosing the one which is the most suitable.

As a manager, you can ensure that tasks are allocated appropriately and efficiently by assigning them to individuals or groups. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, you can facilitate effective communication regarding these assignments and monitor the progress of each task using the right software. Additionally, you can take advantage of automated notifications; this will allow you to be alerted when the current phase of each task is completed and the next team member is ready to take over.

Productivity Evaluation Methods

Though there are several options for remotely monitoring employee time, we advise caution for two main reasons:

  • It is important to recognise that employees may be at their most productive outside of the traditional nine-to-five working day. Work done at any time of the day should be given equal recognition and it is not necessary to monitor employees’ working hours.
  • It is beneficial to take regular breaks while working on a project, as doing so encourages new ideas and perspectives. There are several ways in which taking time away from the office environment can be particularly beneficial. For example, spending time outdoors can often help to inspire new ideas and creative solutions. If possible, it is beneficial for employers to provide their employees with the option of working remotely, allowing them to work from wherever they feel most productive – whether that is at home in front of a computer, or outside in the fresh air, taking a break from their work to clear their mind until new ideas come to them.

There is, however, remote-work monitoring software that can be trusted to stand up to Works‘ meticulous oversight:

  • IDoneThis is a cutting-edge technology that provides an online alternative to the traditional daily stand-up meeting. This innovative tool enables team members to give an update on their work, their progress and any challenges they may be facing. It allows you to quickly assess the situation and identify any possible issues that need to be addressed.
  • Monday.com is a product that has recently been gaining a lot of traction in the online sphere, and it’s not hard to see why. The platform offers an uncluttered user experience, allowing users to quickly and easily access all of their active tabs and pages with a single glance. This simplicity is certainly one of the platform’s most attractive features.
  • Toggl is an advanced time tracking tool that allows your staff members to track the tasks they are currently working on. After selecting the task, users can start the timer by simply pressing the ‘Start’ button. This is a great way to keep track of how much time is being spent on individual tasks, ensuring that your staff are as productive as possible.
  • The use of a time tracking application can help to avoid the overhead of having to administer employee time tracking and reporting. This approach facilitates a balance between complete trust and constant surveillance, as it allows employees to self-manage their time and keep track of their own activity. By doing so, they can then evaluate their own schedule and allocate their time accordingly.

It is true that there are more intrusive methods of keeping tabs on remote workers, such as the ability to covertly monitor their computer activity. However, it is important to acknowledge that this kind of behavior is intrusive and unacceptable – in the physical world, it would be considered outrageous to spy on a colleague by using binoculars, and the same should apply to the digital environment.

Promote interaction and discussion

As the manager of a remote team, it is essential that you adjust the way you communicate with them. Working remotely can be isolating at times, so it is important for managers to maintain an open dialogue with their employees to ensure that they don’t feel neglected. Task instructions are not enough; it is advised that you endeavor to talk to them or video call them each day to check in and see how they are doing.

It is important to maintain a balance between keeping track of progress and allowing your team to work independently. If you become too involved in the details, it could lead to decreased productivity and could send the signal that your team cannot be relied upon to complete their tasks. Therefore, it is best to avoid becoming overly involved in the finer points of the project, and to trust your team to get the job done.

Is Hiring Being Considered?

If you are looking to build a remote team of highly-skilled technical experts, Works is here to help. We are a specialist agency that only recruits remote developers and other technologists. Our processes guarantee that the people we select are both technically qualified and have the necessary skills to work remotely. If this sounds of interest to you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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