Productivity is typically one of the most difficult things to measure. Striking a balance between monitoring employee productivity and allowing them space to be autonomous can be challenging.
WFH, or remote working, has spotlighted this particular issue. This particular work environment can severely affect focus and productivity, what with the many distractions present at home.
If we want to keep our teams productive and physically and mentally healthy, we have to be creative in managing the problems that this high-stress environment can bring about for many people.
Here are a number of ways on how I manage my team’s productivity virtually at Me.reka:
Using online collaboration tools
Also known as SaaS (software as a service) or cloud-based software, it is a method of software delivery which allows data to be accessed across multiple devices with an internet connection.
One of the best things about these tools is that they don’t require extensive hardware. You just need your web browser (or download the application on your device if available) and you can get straight to work.
Don’t worry about blowing a hole in your company’s budget either; most of these softwares offer subscription payment models (including free plans!) that can help companies with smaller budgets so that even small businesses can utilize modern, state of the art software.
Tools such as Slack, Humanity, G Suite, and AirTable to keep track of tasks across the Me.reka team. These tools are also used to manage effective communications and ensuring progress is visible to the team in encouraging productivity towards a shared goal.
Establishing feedback loops
We organize Huddle sessions (short feedback sessions) every week to pulse check on how my team is managing their workload and discussing any challenges identified by the team together.
This is especially important because my team is full of people who are full of thoughts and ideas, so there are always things that we want to discuss amongst ourselves.
Having feedback sessions also helps in staving off one of the worst disasters in the workplace: communication breakdown. It’s even more important now that we’re all working from home. Sometimes the things we say in emails or texts get misinterpreted because of the tone, awkward sentence placement etc.
In a team Huddle session, these misunderstandings can be addressed and straightened out then and there, and consequently allows the team to move forward to the next thing.
Keeping tabs on employee productivity
I regularly check in with my team members to see where they’re at with their tasks. There’s no shortage of work to be done on the daily, so sometimes it can get a little stressful and this in turn puts pressure on my team.
That’s why emphasis needs to be put on creating a psychologically safe environment for team members to express their concerns related to work. As stated before, having regular interactions with your team is really important because social isolation (or, to put it simply, loneliness) plagues just about everyone who misses the informal interactions between colleagues.
Even more so in a place like Mereka where we operate as a close-knit family, the distance and lack of face-to-face communication can really affect us emotionally and mentally, so I want to make sure that my team is on top of things while still keeping their mental health in check.
Monitoring work outputs weekly
At the start of each task, agree on the desired output with your team and monitor progress against this output on an ongoing basis in an identified tracker.
Each team member will provide their work schedule together with the tasks that they are expected to complete within a certain timeframe. This will allow my team to have the structure they require to fulfill their roles and give me peace of mind.
This is also where trust comes in; trust that work is getting done even though we can’t see one another in our little cubicles.
When at the office, you’re not expected to look over your shoulder every two minutes to check on your employees’ work, so you’re not expected to while working remotely either. If your employees are still communicating regularly and meeting deadlines, then all you have to do is trust the process.
To achieve high performance, you must strike a balance between monitoring performance and instilling trust amongst your team.