Are your employees as efficient as they could be? This is a question that’s constantly on your mind as an employer, project manager, or business owner. Your employees’ productivity is the major factor that impacts the success and profit of a business. Employee speed and quality of work determine how your company will manage year after year. They are the running parts of your business machine.
A company cannot grow if its employees are not at their most productive. If employees who are fully capable of completing their duties promptly are not doing so due to external factors, you could be in trouble. In fact, you could lose up to $7 trillion, according to studies. Your team must understand that every task is urgent in one way or another. This doesn’t mean they must rush every job, or commit endless hours beyond the regular workday. Rather, what you need is for them to work at their best level of efficiency.
So what hampers your team from working at its most productive?
Problems With Productivity
In remote work settings, the pressure of a superior is less apparent. The threat of reprimands from a manager or owner dissipates, leaving remote workers more comfortable taking their time on projects. Without their superiors around to watch whether they are fully committed to their work, employees may allow themselves to relax, slow their pace, and provide lower-quality material.
However, remote workers may be working at their hardest and trying to be as efficient as possible. It could be household distractions, like children or pets, that consume some of their time. These responsibilities could take a decent amount of time out of their workday, decreasing their productivity levels, despite their intentions to be efficient.
A major influence that impacts employee productivity in the office is people. Offices are a classic social setting where co-workers can bond, discuss work, and share stories of their personal lives. It can be easy to get caught in a conversation that causes a longer lunch break. Or, perhaps a simple coffee break ends up taking an extra 30 minutes because of an extended chat.
Movement around an office can also be a small factor that adds up to a lot of time lost. Consider the time involved if a worker must take the elevator down 20 floors, cross the large hallway, and line up behind numerous others for that sandwich and cup of tea. Furthermore, in shared office buildings especially, the occasional fire drill or fundraiser may impact a worker’s productivity for the day. These events cause a halt that impairs their chances for an efficient day of work.
How Can You Track It?
Whether lack of productivity is intentional or not, it’s a problem. As a business owner, you need to consider what is blocking your employees from working, and decide whether it is detrimental to your success. To do this, you can use one of the following methods to track and measure your team’s efficiency. With this information, you can take the necessary actions to maintain the conditions if you are happy with the data; or improve them if you think they could be better.
1. Consider the Productivity Formula
This equation is a technical approach to productivity measurement. It divides the quantity of the employees’ work (for example, the number of sales or number of reports completed) over a specific period of time. The number left indicates the level of productivity. Considering the factors that determine output or input, you can choose the proper ratio for efficiency. With that number as your indicator, you can investigate who meets or exceeds it or who is falling short.
2. Set Goals/ Deadlines
Setting goals per day, week, month and/or year will help you indicate to your employees how productive they are supposed to be. These goals could be a certain number of sales per month or customer engagement statistics, or the total profits gained annually. Whatever mark of productivity you set, it will determine if your team is meeting the standard where you want them to be. If they are not reaching the required monthly sales, you can take the opportunity to consider whether the employee is delaying your progress as a business, or evaluate what is causing them to fail at meeting these numbers and find a solution.
The indicated dates or required numbers of progress also offer transparency to your team members. They will know your expectations of them and their required productivity levels according to these markers. If they fail to meet them, they understand that you could question their viability as an employee. With this in mind, employees are more likely to push themselves to their most efficient levels to prove their commitment to your business.
3. Time Tracking Software
Tracking the timing of your workers’ day-to-day task completion could also be incredibly helpful for measuring their productivity. Relying on helpful software like actiTIME enables you to monitor the hours that your employees are inputting or that are automatically tracked through their workdays. Remember, productivity is not proven through the number of hours committed to a task. Rather, it’s how much was completed over the hours.
This is why time-tracking can help you determine if your money is being wasted by inefficient work processes. If an employee is committing a full day to one task that should have taken a fraction of their day to complete, you will learn that they are delaying the progress of your whole team and taking advantage of their wages without returning their proper labor load. If the numbers do not look right, you can take necessary action or implement solutions to improve productivity.
4. Compare Productivity Levels Among Employees
Time tracking, established goals, or the productivity formula provide the data you need to determine your employees’ productivity. However, is one person holding up operations? Or does your company have a consistent issue across the board? Do you have an efficiency issue with one employee who you need to sit down and talk to, or do you need to hold a meeting with the group to learn why they are not producing to the level you expect from them?
By comparing the workers’ productivity, you can determine who is delivering and who is not. If the overall data indicates that everyone is having an issue with productivity, you may need to consider these actions:
- Re-evaluate your expectations and whether they are realistic
- Take necessary steps to improve team performance by boosting morale, incentivizing their efficiency, or making changes in staff
Push for Efficiency, Treat With Dignity
While reviewing whichever productivity tracing method you choose, remember that you are measuring people who have committed to your business. Ensure that your workers feel dignified and respected when working with you. This is the ultimate incentive to inspire them to work at their best efficiency levels to help your business succeed and grow.