Telecommuting has become increasingly common in recent years. According to research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly one in four U.S. employees perform some or all of their work from home. This isn’t a trend that’s going to fade anytime soon, either. Experts predict that telecommuting will likely become even more popular in the years to come.
While embracing a telecommuting policy can prove beneficial for your company, it can pose some unique challenges, one of which is productivity tracking. If your company allows its employees to work from home, you won’t be able to watch and observe their performance firsthand.
Some employees may excel at their job when working remotely, whereas others may not. So, how can you track the productivity of your company’s remote teams?
Hold Regular Virtual Meetings
You can track the productivity of your company’s remote teams by holding regular virtual meetings. Some employers make the mistake of relying on email to communicate with their remote teams. While it’s easy to use, email doesn’t create the same interpersonal connection with employees as a virtual meeting.
By holding virtual meetings, you can talk to your company’s remote employees as if they were working in the office. You can ask employees for updates on projects, or you can ask them if they’ve encountered any problems. As a result, you gain a better understanding of their performance when holding virtual meetings.
Use G Suite
Google offers a plethora of business-oriented software and services, many of which can prove useful in tracking the productivity of your company’s remote teams. Known as G Suite, it’s available in both consumer and enterprise versions. The enterprise version offers extra features, such as custom email addresses, unlimited cloud storage and 24/7 technical support.
With G Suite, you can track the productivity of your company’s remote teams using cloud-based apps like Google Drive and Google Docs. The former is a cloud-based storage app that allows you to share files with your company’s remote employees, whereas the latter is Google’s cloud-based word processing app. With that said, Google Drive and Google Docs are just two of many cloud-based apps available in G Suite.
Use a Project Management App
Another way to track the productivity of your company’s remote teams is to use a project management app. Project management apps, of course, are used to manage projects. But since projects typically involve multiple employees, you can use them to track the productivity of remote employees.
Although there are over a dozen project management apps, two of the most popular include Trello and Basecamp. Trello and Basecamp have become synonymous with project management. Using either of them, you can create projects with specified milestones for your company’s remote teams. If a remote employee achieves a specified milestone, you’ll know that he or she is performing well.
Require Daily Check-Ins
You should ask your company’s remote employees to perform a check-in at least once a day. During this check-in, you can inquire about their progress to gain a better understanding of their performance. Whether by phone or video conferencing, a daily check-in is an excellent way to measure the performance of your company’s remote teams.
While requiring daily check-ins can help you track the productivity of your company’s remote teams, it may have the opposite effect when executed incorrectly. You want to keep your daily check-ins short. Otherwise, it will consume valuable time that employees could otherwise spend on productivity-driven activities. If a remote employee is forced to spend a half-hour each day checking in, his or her productivity will likely suffer.
Use Scheduling Software
Assuming you aren’t already using, scheduling software can help you track the productivity of your company’s remote teams. What is scheduling software exactly? It’s a type of scheduling tool that allows you to create work schedules for your company’s employees. Scheduling software, however, includes many other features, including time tracking, shift swapping and the ability for employees to pick up shifts.
Don’t use just any scheduling software. Rather, choose cloud-based scheduling software so that remote employees can access it as well. Cloud-based scheduling software is hosted on the internet, meaning you and your company’s remote employees can access it together.
Monitor Performance Metrics
Unless you monitor performance metrics, you really won’t know how well your company’s remote teams are performing. If your company has a team of remote sales reps, for instance, you should monitor the number of sales they generate. High-performing sales reps will naturally generate more sales than their underperforming counterparts.
Tracking the productivity of remote employees is often a challenge. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this challenge and effectively gauge the productivity of your company’s remote teams. From holding virtual meetings to using G Suite and project management apps, these are just a few solutions that will allow you to track remote productivity.