Digital ink hasn’t been short on the merits and demerits of remote working. A seemingly endless wave of worker surveys, scientific studies, expert prognostications and C-suite demands coalesced around one intractable truth – no one seems to agree if labor distance is a boon or a bust in productivity.
Certainly, companies today are highly motivated to understand this dynamic. After all, over 80% of business leaders plan to allow people to work remotely at least some of the time. Meanwhile, as companies seek to rebound from a pandemic year, employee productivity is critical to their efforts.
While it is impossible to understand the merits and effectiveness of remote working at a macro level, any organization can assess the internal impact of remote working. Employee monitoring software, which can track and assess a variety of metrics including app usage, message frequency, file movement and other critical data points, has been widely deployed during the pandemic , providing business leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to make data-driven decisions about their employee productivity, regardless of workplace.
As executives seek to resolve the issue of remote work productivity once and for all, here are three ways companies can leverage existing employee monitoring software to better understand remote work productivity within their organizations. teams.
1. Understand employee activity
Traditionally, managers and business leaders monitored their employees by surveying the office, scanning the landscape to get an idea of employee work habits. It wasn’t a very effective way to determine employee productivity, but it did provide peace of mind and set a baseline monitoring standard for many teams.
Of course, even before the pandemic, many operations were digital first, making those in-person check-ins every day less efficient. Now that many teams have left the office completely, employee monitoring can help fill that void.
For example, companies can operate employee monitoring software to measure application activity, message frequency, web browsing habits, and other online activities. Combined with powerful data aggregation capabilities, leaders can understand employee activity through detailed data reports:
- a breakdown of the number of hours each day spent on work-related and non-work-related tasks
- comprehensive metrics across website, social media, and app usage
- real-time trend graphs showing how much time is spent on specific projects
In a hybrid work environment where in-person monitoring is less convenient and efficient, employee monitoring software allows leaders to understand employee activity like never before.
2. Prioritize valuable work
Today’s employees are busy managing organizational goals, maintaining communication across multiple channels, and migrating to new workplace layouts. Therefore, it is easy for constant activity to pass itself off as valuable work.
Especially in a hybrid environment, online activity can quickly become confused with work of value. Writer and journalist John Herrman described this phenomenon as “a new form of non-work that looks like work”, confusing activity with results.
Employee monitoring software can help leaders and employees assess their day-to-day activities, effectively differentiating busy work from valuable work and improving employee satisfaction and organizational results by refocusing attention on what matters most. . For example, leveraging employee monitoring software to assess predetermined tasks and applications related to productivity outcomes provides a starting point for analysis and self-reflection. With more than half of employees reporting feeling disengaged at work, employee monitoring software empowers employees and leaders to understand how their time is being spent, helping to identify ways to optimize productivity by focusing and prioritizing valuable work over activity.
3. Embrace data-driven improvement
Deploying employee monitoring software to gauge productivity can feel like a “trapped” activity on the part of senior management. While it may be a tool that encourages employees to be more intentional in their online activity, it is best understood as an educational resource that enables leaders and employees to better understand their day-to-day activities. When paired with a growth mindset, companies can seek continuous, incremental improvements that develop an ever-improving hybrid workforce.
While adapting to a hybrid workforce, Microsoft deployed this technique by analyzing data from its remote employees, finding that employees were most productive during a three-hour window each morning. They have chosen to avoid meetings and gatherings during this time to better equip employees to seek the most meaningful results. Whether used to improve individual workflows or company-wide initiatives, employee monitoring software can provide the insights needed to improve personal and organizational results.
Solving the productivity puzzle for everyone
When employees leave the office and move into their offsite workspaces, productivity can be unpredictable. Whether teams are thriving in their new home office or struggling to achieve their goals, today’s trends aren’t fatal and tomorrow’s results can be better than ever.
Employee monitoring can help, allowing every business to better understand their employees’ productivity metrics while empowering people to gradually improve their work efforts. Simply put, don’t rely on third-party surveys and expert insights to determine employee productivity. Instead, analyze internal data and plan for continuous improvement and optimization of operational capability in any environment.
This article was originally published in Forbes and reproduced with permission.