Employees are working from home at a higher rate than ever before. COVID-19 has forced companies worldwide to rethink their day-to-day operations, including how and where their employees work.
If you’re an operations manager, HR executive, or business owner, evaluating the performance of your employees is already tough enough in an office environment. Tracking the productivity of remote workers using remote worker metrics is even more difficult due to the distance and less-than-uniform working environment that a work-from-home setup involves.
Fortunately, you can still monitor employee performance remotely. In the coming paragraphs, we will analyse a few remote work metrics to monitor as you figure out whether your employees are maintaining their productivity and morale during the pandemic.
Employee work hours
Most of the time, employee productivity is measured by two parameters: time and output. Workers are required to put in a certain number of hours and fulfil their delegated responsibilities in that time.
In an office setting, it’s easy to track employee work hours using time clocks and biometric devices. When your team works remotely, timekeeping is a bit more complicated.
Your remote working setup should include time tracking software that monitors login/logout time, breaks, and time spent on each activity. These tools can also let you monitor worker availability, schedule vacations, or generate timesheets for payroll and invoicing.
A few top-ranked time tracker tools you can try out include:
- Time Doctor
Many time clock apps take random screenshots of the employee’s desktop, which helps you see whether an employee is attending a virtual meeting or doing project deliverables. You can then match these screenshots with timestamps as proof of employee activity.
Project completion timelines
Jobs come in all shapes and forms. Some jobs are assigned piecemeal, but work is assigned on a project-by-project basis in industries such as software development. While completing the project often defines project success, project managers also track the completion timeliness of individual tasks.
Why do you need to track individual tasks? Most projects are composed of tasks that have dependencies on other activities. If a task takes longer than expected, it can result in the project’s overall completion being delayed. Having visibility over task completion will allow you to allocate resources to tasks in the critical path and maintain project baselines.
Tracking project completion will give you insights into the amount of time it takes your employees to finish specific tasks and the amount of progress your employees can achieve in a specific amount of time. These figures can then serve as baselines for future projects that involve the same tasks, and added to your remote worker metrics.
While you might think of overtime as just an additional hour or two spent at work, it takes on a radically new meaning when your employees work remotely. First, it may mean that the workload you’ve assigned to them is too heavy for your workforce. Second, it could imply that your employees are ill-equipped to accomplish tasks without going over the usual 7.5 hours daily.
As a manager, keeping an eye on overtime will allow you to see what kind of work will require that your employees stay at their desks after business hours. If you see a pattern where your employees are constantly doing overtime, there might be an issue with the way you assign work or with the nature of the tasks themselves.
In addition, there is a reason the Fair Work Act calls for special pay rates for overtime: more overtime means less personal time for your employees. In a work-from-home setting, overtime is an encroachment into the time and space your employees need to decompress, especially in a time where a lot of things are uncertain.
By monitoring overtime, you can reduce costs, identify tasks that require more time and resources to finish, and maintain your team’s mental health and well-being.
Some businesses only involve interfacing with clients/customers once in a while, while others involve daily contact with customers. In either case, customer satisfaction is crucial as a metric for evaluating your employees – especially customer-facing personnel like sales teams.
How do customers feel after every interaction with your business? Do they leave satisfied, or does your product or customer service leave much to be desired? These are the questions you must answer here.
Customers are the most important stakeholders in any business. They are the final factor that can turn your business into a success or a failure. If your customers are satisfied, first-time sales will likely turn into long-term business relationships. Otherwise, your business might begin to haemorrhage leads, and your revenue could go down.
Measuring customer satisfaction is a tad trickier than the rest. There is no single metric that will tell you if your customers are happy. However, you can get an idea of your brand’s customer satisfaction by tracking the following metrics:
- Social media insights
- Customer feedback through surveys
- Customer satisfaction scoring
- Net promoter scoring
- Web analytics
Each of these tackles customer satisfaction from a different angle. Explore as many metrics as possible to get a holistic view of where you stand when it comes to keeping your customers happy.
Remote desktop activity
While remote work has been more common lately, the tools on which managers are leaning right now have existed for a while. Remote desktop monitoring solutions are one of those tools, allowing you to see what your workers are working on at any given moment.
Remote desktop monitoring tools rely on the cloud and internet to connect to the target computer. Every time an employee logs on, the software creates a log and details their workflow, from their tools to the actual tasks they complete. These are great remote worker metrics.
Some remote desktop monitoring tools don’t just allow you to track your employees’ activities online. Some even let you take over an employee’s computer, particularly if you’re part of a service desk team and you need to install a program or troubleshoot an issue remotely.
Revenue per employee
As far as remote worker metrics go, the most conclusive would have to be the value an employee brings to your company. The revenue per employee metric seeks to attach a dollar value to the work an employee does in terms of the income they bring into the company.
Revenue-per-employee numbers vary according to industry. The energy sector, for example, has the highest revenue per employee as of 2017 at $1.79 million. On the opposite end of the spectrum, professional services, such as consulting, brings in $250 per employee.
It also varies according to the total revenue of the company – the more the company earns, the higher the revenue per employee becomes.
By assessing the monetary value of each employee, you can visualise the current personnel strategy and identify any gaps. It also helps you offer new hire compensation packages that are competitive in the market. You should reward high-performing employees through salary increases that are at par with industry standards.
Your workforce is only as strong as its weakest link. The insights you can glean from this metric will help you identify employees who need additional encouragement or training.
Employee retention rate
We’ve spoken about the remote worker metrics that are squarely focused on the employees themselves and their productivity in the other points. Now, let’s touch on one that mostly concerns the workplace as a whole.
Employee retention rate is the degree to which an employer keeps workers on the payroll instead of leaving. This could be either due to voluntary separation or termination. It is usually measured by taking the number of employees that either quit or were laid off. Then expressing that as the percentage of the total number of employees hired during a given timeframe.
While employee retention rates can sometimes be heavily affected by the quality of labor hired or the demand for workers, it’s mostly a product of company culture.
This metric gives you insights into worker satisfaction, motivation, compensation, career progression, and company values. In addition, it will let you predict how much you need to spend on talent acquisition and new hire training.
Now that we’ve discussed employee retention rates, it’s a good time to go over one of its contributing factors. Employee satisfaction is an objective measurement of a subjective emotion: contentment. When your employees are happy with their job and workplace, they tend to be more productive and engaged and stay in your company longer.
The ability of a business or company to keep its employees satisfied is an indication of workplace quality. People are more likely to work with you if they feel satisfied, motivated, and valued.
On the flip side, when employees don’t feel fulfilled for some reason or another, they’re more likely to maintain low productivity levels. They might also quit their positions and join another business that offers a better work-life balance.
The COVID pandemic has forced businesses across the world to rethink their approaches to working environments. Wherever it was possible, businesses have largely shifted to a remote working model. However, this shift has meant that methods utilised to measure productivity in the past do not necessarily apply today.
While having most of your workers perform their duties from home brings benefits like cash savings, it also presents its unique set of problems. Since management and team leads aren’t physically present to check on workers. You need to put systems in place to ensure they’re continuously productive and motivated.
This article examined remote worker metrics like employee work hours, project completion timelines, employee retention rates, and revenue per employee. Using these metrics, you can determine the employees you need to promote, the ones you need to reward, and the ones you need to train further.
About the Author
Sam Molony is part of the marketing team at Mailshake. Sam’s goal is to inspire people to not just “hang in there” but to thrive. When Sam’s not publishing or promoting new content you can find him playing sports and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.