At the beginning of the year, we had no idea what awaited us: high alert, self-isolation, teleworking, panic and the economic crisis. We waited for the spring to come, planned a vacation for May and summer, each of us had their own dream - and then we saw that everything was ready to fall apart in a matter of days.
4 Essential Tips on How to Make Remote Work More Effective
Nevertheless, life goes on - and it's time to adapt to new realities. The format of remote work, previously known only to freelancers, has now come to almost every family. Instead of an office, there is a table in the living room or even in the kitchen, a laptop, Zoom and a cup of homemade tea. And although now offline work is gradually returning, there is no absolute certainty that the situation will not repeat itself.
All of these changes are reflected in our productivity. It is difficult to understand what the time saved on the daily commute gives us, whether family members or neighbors interfere that much, but it is clear that it is important to self-organize in order to solve work tasks effectively. In this article, we'll talk about how you can measure productivity in a teleworking environment - from the point of view of both the employee and the company.
At the start we will define the term “productivity” - we will assume that this is the degree of effectiveness of work in conditions of remote work. If we perform tasks as well or better from home than from the office, then the work will be considered productive. If the opposite is true, productivity is negative.
We will evaluate productivity by key criteria, and draw conclusions based on their sum.
How to measure your remote work productivity?
We suggest using our self-assessment system. At the end of each work week, ponder a few questions, giving your answer a score from 0 to 10, where 0 is very bad (nothing) and 10 is very good (a lot). Answer the questions as honestly as possible, otherwise the method will not work. Remember everything that happened during the week, open your work notes, re-read your correspondence with colleagues. Be based both on facts and on your inner feelings.
Questions to measure remote work productivity:
1. Are there any positive results from the tasks you completed? How effectively did you manage to solve the tasks that you faced during the week?
2. How efficient were your solutions to the problems you encountered within the workflow?
3. Is the volume of work you completed this week lower, equal, or higher than what you would achieve from an office? Here you can focus on the following indicators: 0 - below, 5 - equal, 10 - above. For example, if in a week you managed to do a little more from home than you would normally do in the office, you can put 6 or 7.
4. Did you meet the deadlines for the tasks?
5. How helpful was the communication with the manager to the workflow?
6. How effective was your communication with colleagues?
7. How helpful do you feel doing the job?
8. Have you acquired new skills?
9. How much knowledge and competencies do you have to do your job? Indicators benchmarks: 0 - not enough, 10 - completely enough.
10. How do you assess your emotional state accompanying the work process? 0 - depressed, 10 - excited.
At the end of each week, you will have a set of numbers (indicators) that can be converted into two types of charts:
The general schedule of the week - which will help to identify the average indicator of work productivity for a particular week. We consider the graph to be productive if all indicators are greater than or equal to 6. This will be the coefficient of overall productivity for the week.
Separate charts for each indicator - they will help you track the dynamics of productivity. For example, this week you gave 4 answering the first question, 7 answering the next, then 6, and so on. And it goes like that for each item: ten questions - ten graphs.
Using these charts, you can also identify your strengths and weaknesses, and see trends. For example, if you always put 2 or 3 to the ninth question, then you should think about training.
How to increase your remote work productivity?
#1 Tip: Focus not on the number of hours worked, but on the quality of the work.
If you sit at the computer for the prescribed 8 hours, but complete only one minor task - your productivity will be negative, and it is clear without charts. It is better to listen to your body and biological rhythms, choosing for work the hours when your head works best. You will be cooking on gas when you, at your peak of efficiency, can solve important and complex problems in a few hours.
#2 Tip: Plan your working hours wisely.
Be sure to write down what you must do for the coming week and on each specific day. Designate several important urgent tasks for one day and complete them during your effective hours. The rest of the work time can be devoted to less complex and urgent tasks. Do not overload one day with only difficult tasks - this can lead to burnout.
#3 Tip: Keep an eye on deadlines.
Now, when many projects seem to have moved indefinitely, it is very important to keep track of time - this will not allow you to lose full control over the situation. Deadlines are important for your management, colleagues and clients, as well as for yourself.
#4 Tip: Document every new idea.
A change of scenery, modification of tasks, adaptation to a new reality - all this allows us to evaluate all the work from a different angle. Perhaps you will find that your project will perfectly collaborate with something unexpected. It is possible that just looking out the window at the familiar view, you will find a solution to the problem which has been tormenting you for several weeks. Brilliant, breakthrough thoughts often come unexpectedly.
How should a company evaluate its employees?
Not only employees themselves, but also companies can measure productivity. This allows the employer to keep the situation under control, understand problem areas, and competently motivate the team. This process can include both heads of departments and the HR department.
#1 Tip: Companies need to think about detailed control of completed tasks and avoiding counting hours worked. Most employers, even before moving to a remote location, used CRM systems for setting and monitoring tasks. And now such monitoring is more relevant than ever.
#2 Tip: It is important to monitor not only the quality of the tasks performed, but also the deadlines. In these same business systems, it is easy to set and track deadlines.
#3 Tip: It is necessary to conduct both general online meetings and calls with each employee. This will give you the understanding of the team’s mood in general and of its individual members’ mood in particular. It is useful to ask employees about their new ideas on tasks and work organization, to be interested in how they see the development of the project in the short and long term.
#4 Tip: Feedback. It is most effective to collect it at several levels.
- Feedback from each employee about the performance during the period of remote work. A small questionnaire is suitable, in which you can reflect both technical indicators (the result of solved problems, adherence to deadlines, the direct benefits of communicating with colleagues), and emotional (assessment of the level of involvement, fatigue or inspiration from work). The ten questions above can be used as a basis.
- Feedback from each employee regarding interaction with colleagues at a distance. You can offer to select several people, interaction with whom is most important for the respondent, and request feedback on them. You can also ask about specific employees. This will allow you to consider the processes and communications within the team from different points of view.
- Feedback from customers. If this method is appropriate, then it should not be neglected. This data can reveal unexpected points that are worth focusing on.
Remote work has become a fundamentally new phenomenon for many, which they had to plunge into. But if you take control of the factors described above, then there is every chance of getting out of the crisis as winners. If distance has already become a new reality for you, you need to remain productive in it as best you can.