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

With the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has become the new norm for many. Transitioning from traditional work to virtual work can be quite challenging, especially for managers, who are accustomed to having their teams within reach and gauging productivity through physical presence. However, there are ways to overcome this hurdle and manage virtual teams effectively. Our team has conducted extensive research and discovered valuable insights into monitoring remote workers successfully.

The Foundation is Trust

Composing a message can be quite challenging, especially when attempting to convey complex forms of communication, such as sarcasm. It can be difficult to interpret others’ intentions positively, especially from a remote distance.

Showing consistent visual evidence of your team working at their assigned workstations helps to establish trust. However, it’s natural for one to question whether or not their remote workers are actually working or watching the latest episode of a popular TV show at home. How can we be certain that they are fulfilling their responsibilities?

It’s fair to say that a proficient employee can perform successfully, no matter the work setting. It’s impractical to think that a responsible and diligent team member would suddenly become unproductive simply due to remote work. It’s essential to have confidence in their capability and trust in the decision to hire them initially.

Establishing trust with remote employees is crucial in achieving successful work relationships. Honesty and transparency are vital aspects of this process; making sure that your virtual team is informed of their responsibilities and progress is imperative. Consistent communications and updates are strongly suggested to maintain alignment and clarity amongst the team.

At Works, we are particularly impressed by the Agile Remote Development Methodology. It’s structured with a daily stand-up routine, which allows team members to update progress and seek help when needed. This promotes a sense of trust and confidence, which is essential for a productive and successful remote work environment. Learn more about our approach here.

Effective Planning is Crucial.

Having good organization skills is an effective way to guarantee successful project progress. When managing a virtual team, it’s crucial to evaluate their performance based on actual results achieved. However, it’s equally important to have a clear understanding of the standards in place to evaluate their work fairly.

Employing a system for team task management is highly beneficial for efficient remote work operations. If there is no such system currently in use, it’s necessary to consider implementing one. We have listed some of the best recommendations below, but it may require evaluating several options before deciding on the most suitable one.

As a manager, proper and efficient task allocation can be maintained by assigning responsibilities to individual or group members. Effective communication of these assignments is paramount to ensure that everyone is informed and aligned, and you can monitor task progress using relevant software. Implement automated notifications to keep track of task completion and to alert when the next team member is ready to take over.

Techniques to Assess Productivity

While various alternatives for monitoring employee work hours remotely exist, we recommend being cautious for two primary reasons:

  • It is critical to acknowledge that remote workers may be most productive outside of the conventional nine-to-five working day. All work completed at any time of the day should be given equal consideration, and monitoring of working hours may not be required.
  • Taking regular breaks when working on a project is advantageous since it encourages the development of new ideas and perspectives. Numerous ways exist where taking time off from the office can be particularly beneficial. For instance, spending time outdoors can often inspire innovative ideas and solutions. Employers should consider offering their employees the option of remote work, enabling them to work from wherever they feel most productive, whether it’s at home or outside, taking a break to refresh their mind until new ideas come to them.

Nevertheless, some remote-work monitoring software exists that can withstand the rigorous scrutiny of Works’ meticulous oversight:

  • IDoneThis is an advanced technology that delivers an online option to traditional daily stand-up meetings. This innovative tool allows team members to provide updates on their work progress and any challenges they may be experiencing. It enables quick assessment and identification of any situations that require attention.
  • is a product that has recently gained popularity in the online sphere, and it’s clear why. The platform offers a clean user experience, enabling users to access all their active tabs and pages quickly and easily with a single glance. This simplicity is one of the platform’s most appealing characteristics.
  • Toggl is a sophisticated time-tracking tool that enables your team members to track their current tasks. After selecting the task, users can begin the timer by clicking the ‘Start’ button. It’s an excellent method for monitoring individual task duration and ensuring maximum staff productivity.
  • Adopting a time tracking application can eliminate the need to administer employee time tracking and reporting. This approach enables a balance between complete trust and constant surveillance, empowering employees to self-manage their time and monitor their activity. By doing so, they can assess their schedule and allocate their time effectively.

Although it is accurate that there are more invasive methods of monitoring remote staff, such as the ability to secretly observe their computer activity, it is essential to recognize that such practices are intrusive and unacceptable. In the real world, using binoculars to spy on a coworker would be considered outrageous, and similar principles should be upheld in the digital sphere.

Foster Interaction and Discussion

As a remote team manager, it is crucial to adapt communication methods with your team. Remote work can be isolating, so it’s necessary for managers to maintain an open dialogue with their employees to avoid neglect. Instructions are insufficient, thus it’s recommended to make an effort to talk or video call employees every day to check in and inquire about their well-being.

Striking a balance between progress tracking and independent work is essential. Micromanaging can decrease productivity and convey the impression that the team is not dependable to complete their tasks. Therefore, it’s best to refrain from excessive involvement in the project’s finer points and trust the team to fulfill their responsibilities.

Is Recruitment Under Consideration?

If building a remote team of highly skilled technical experts is the goal, Works can assist. As a specialised agency, we only recruit remote developers and other technologists. our recruitment procedures ensure that selected individuals possess technical qualifications and essential skills to operate remotely. If this is of interest, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs