Advances in technology have created ways for employees to become more productive, but it has also created more distractions for them with social media and the overall influence of the web. The world of business has changed, seemingly overnight, and continues to morph every day. Our smartphones are one large piece of the puzzle that blend our work and personal lives. It can be hard to draw the line between the two but with millennials craving more work-life balance in their careers, it isn’t always necessary to draw that line.
But the questions remains- how do employers measure productivity now? Productivity looks different today and so do the distractions. In today’s business world, hours worked isn’t important for productivity but how can you make sure employees are being productive? Some tools and tricks exist to help entrepreneurs track productivity in today’s business world that have a little bit of a different perspective than the traditional norms. Here are 10 helpful hints:
1. Measure Tasks
Traditionally, employees were tracked by hours or days worked. With our personal and professional lives blending more and more, what really counts is the work getting done. Many employees will come into the office and leave in the afternoon to take their dog to the vet or go to their kid’s soccer game then get on their laptop from home in the evening to finish a few things up. Fewer and fewer employees are sticking to the traditional office hours. Tracking tasks is one of the ways to really measure employee productivity and keep projects on track.
2. Communicate Expectations
When an employee is assigned a task, they should be given a deadline and an idea of how long it should take. This allows them to understand what is expected of them. If the task is going to go over, it is important the employee communicates this in advance and explains why. This doesn’t mean they have failed, but it will allow you to understand and better plan for future tasks.
3. Measure Results
Productive employees produce results. Collecting information from clients can give you an insight into which employees, tasks, or projects were responsible for generating business. Let the results speak for themselves.
4. Embrace Smartphones
Most employees are probably already getting their work email to their smartphones, so embrace them. Task managers, like Asana, have easy-to-use apps and they will send updates to your employees’ phones. If you assign them a new task or update a project, they will be notified. This also allows them to review their workload from anywhere, anytime.
5. Don’t go Social
Tracking your employees’ news feeds and photos doesn’t create a culture of trust on your company. Resist the temptation of checking up in their social media activity. It is more important to make sure they are self-organizing and self-managing. As long as tasks and projects are being completed, it is important to let your employees be free to have a private life outside of the office, including social media.
6. Ask for Updates
Employees are going to procrastinate, it’s an inevitability. Be honest- you do it, too. This is the downside to offering employees more freedom. It doesn’t ensure productivity, but there are ways around that. End-of-day and end-of-week updates are a great way to make sure your employees are staying on pace with longer-term goals.
7. Measure the Numbers
Yes, you could probably have data coming out of your ears if you wanted. So many metrics can be made available to you through different avenues. The bottom line is what I am referring to here. Keep your eye on that because it will tell you how well goals are being met and how productive your employees are. If they aren’t meeting goals and the bottoms line shows it, you can work backwards and see where things are lagging.
8. Effectiveness Ratio
How much gross profit is your company making per every dollar being spent on salary? You want your team to work smarter, not longer. Measure your results with this ratio because the best value added isn’t the hours, it’s results.
9. Work Location
Let your employees choose their work location. Whatever environment works for an individual to get their best job done is where they should be encouraged to work. This could be in the office, where they can shut the door, a coffee shop with a lot of background noise and caffeine, or their home office where they don’t have to worry about being interrupted. The key to this, again, is trusting them. You hired them to do a job so allow them to become as productive as possible by working in an environment that feels productive to them.
10. Measure Deliverables
Deliverables in a day, week, month and quarter are where an employee really shows their worth. Tracking hours and even sick or vacation days can hinder employees being self-starters. Self-starters are the ones who will work hard to deliver on goals and projects. Support this way of work and mentality by keeping track of the deliverables.
A different business world calls for a different type of manager who supports a different kind of employee. Most employees will be eager to do their best work if they have a work culture and work-life balance they are comfortable with and feel like they can thrive in.
GadellNet is an award-winning IT consulting firm that provides full-service technology solutions to small businesses. Since 2003, we have been delivering efficient, profitable and happier workforces. GadellNet’s best-in-class engineering team is highly successful at implementing and maintaining value-add hardware and software technology.