How To Monitor Productivity In A Remote Team

Working remotely surely grants a lot of freedom. But it makes it difficult for team leaders and team members to evaluate the work.

Measuring productivity is the responsibility of managers even when the team works remotely.

In this article from our remote work series, we’ll explain how managers can effectively measure the productivity of a remote team – without unnecessary stalking.

Let’s dive in!

Building A Productive Remote Team

Statistics say that remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts:

  • 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 82 percent of U.S. businesses are using flexible work locations as a way to improve work-life balance.
  • Employees who work remotely at least one day a month are “24 percent more likely to be happy and productive.”

That doesn’t mean remote work is all fun and games. 

Especially for managers, having a scattered team means lots of extra effort in trying to keep everybody on the same page, and most importantly, make sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do.

Remote teams rely on trust

There’s a high risk of micromanaging a team when everybody works in the same office.

But managers can end up micromanaging a remote team, too, by constantly messaging team members, setting too many check-ins, or using invasive monitoring software.

Managers have to keep an eye on the theme: it’s their job.

An effective team needs a captain who tells the crew where to go and corrects the course when needed.

3 Ways to Monitor Productivity In A Remote Team

  1. Virtual meetings and check-ins
  2. Time Tracking Software
  3. Objectives and key results tracking

#1 Meetings and Check-ins

We hear the objections: “Didn’t you just say that check.ins are a form of micromanaging?”

Well, not necessarily.

Obviously, if a manager asks for updates from a team member multiple times a day, it becomes more stressful for the team and useless for the manager.

Still, setting routine team and 1-1 virtual meetings helps 1) keep everybody on the same page 2) keep the team connected.

For example, a remote team using OKRs (more on that later down the article) might want to weekly share and update how everybody is tracking towards their goals.

#2 Time tracking

The best way to measure productivity is to see how everybody is using their time.

Time tracking allows teams of every kind (both in-house and remote) to spend the right amount of time on each project and task.

Time tracking software like Timeneye offers remote teams different ways to easily track time. Since the data is saved online, every team member can track time as long as they have an internet connection.

The platform also offers several ways for managers to monitor everybody’s performances:

And so on.

#3 Objectives and goals tracking

Having a goal-setting system is a must for a remote team. Otherwise, it is very hard to evaluate not only performance but also the overall trajectory of the business!

The OKR methodology, for example, allows teams to set major business goals while keeping track of some metrics that will tell whether the goal is on track or not.

By tracking these metrics, it is easy to understand if the team is working well towards the goal, or if there’s a problem.

Empowering the team

You can use all three of these methods to monitor productivity, or only one, or even others that I didn’t mention.

Whichever you use, don’t forget about one key element:

Trust.

Remote teams rely on transparency and communication. Make sure to build these values by letting the team know you trust them.

Empower them to have the responsibility of their time and their performance – and it will work way better than ruling with fear.

And what about your work?

How do you, the manager, keep up with your schedule? How do you make sure you’re being productive?

Depending on the structure of the company you may have a superior you report to.

You can manage your schedule better and improve your productivity:

  • Automate repetitive tasks, to free time in your schedule. For example, you can schedule the reports to run regularly;
  • Be honest: take some time to periodically ask yourself “How am I doing?” and “Is my work on track?” and audit your time to see if you’ve been productive;
  • Self-report and share with the team: be accountable and responsible just like your team is required to do. Analyze your productivity and let the team, too know what you’ve been up to.

When remote teams are empowered and given the right tools, they can achieve great things together!

Start measuring your remote productivity now!

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

About Stefania

Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She's passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.