Have you heard that old adage that says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”? While there’s some debate over its origin, it’s frequently attributed to famous management consultant, Peter Drucker — and it remains an oft-repeated business sentiment.
That’s for good reason. Regardless of who said it, it holds some serious water when it comes to employee productivity.
When you’re eager to figure out how to increase productivity in the workplace, you need to get a grasp on your starting point first. That baseline allows you to make targeted improvements and support your team in getting more done (ideally, in less time).
But, how do you even go about measuring productivity in the first place? And, what can you learn from that information? Let’s dig into what you need to know.
How to measure productivity in the workplace
If you’re looking for a simple formula for calculating productivity, you’re in luck. There’s a standard equation that many industries rely on:
Units of output
--------------------- = Productivity
Units of input
So, for example, if your sales team generated $25,000 of revenue in 100 hours, your team is clocking in $250 per hour. Or, if your marketing team created 10 new blog posts in 20 hours, you’re producing a half of a blog post every hour.
That’s pretty straightforward, right? However, there are a couple of problems. First and foremost, it doesn’t give you very much usable information. Sure, you might see how much your team is producing in a given time period. But, what can you do with that data? Not much.
Secondly, it’s an equation that doesn’t always apply to knowledge workers. When so much of their work is intangible, it’s tough to boil their value down to a single digit.
This isn’t to say you can’t measure the productivity of your team. It’s still important to understand where their time is going and how much they’re producing. You’ll just want to use a few other methods to see the whole picture.
1. Set clear goals for each position
One of the best ways to measure the productivity of your individual employees is to see how they’re stacking up against the goals you’ve set for them.
Unfortunately, this is an area where a lot of leaders drop the ball. In fact, only about half of workers say they know what is expected of them at work.
Make sure that you’re working with your employees to set clear objectives related to their output and efficiency. That will not only serve as motivation for them, but will also help you more closely monitor where people are falling short.
2. Encourage time tracking
Time tracking can be a simple and powerful way to accurately measure the productivity of your team (you can even track tasks directly within Wrike). Here's how time tracking can save you money.
Your goal with time tracking isn’t to closely monitor your employee hours, but instead to empower them to get a better understanding of how their own working time is being spent. It’s easy to lose track of what we get done in a day and what derails us, so this will be valuable information to help them be even more efficient.
Just be careful not to institute reprimands or strict policies relating to hours worked. While 79% of respondents in a recent survey said that they believe it’s perfectly okay for employers to monitor their workplace-related tasks, you still don’t want to foster a culture where it feels like “big brother” is always watching.
3. Have candid conversations about productivity
What is one of the best ways to measure the productivity of your team? Ask them about it.
Your employees are the ones with boots on the ground, so they’re bound to have plenty of insight into how you can all be more efficient and effective. Are there certain things that they think are time wasters? Are there tasks that take more time than they should?
Open this conversation up with your team. You’ll get some helpful information, while also keeping tabs on how everyone is feeling. That’s important, especially when 48% of workers say they have too many unreasonable deadlines and too much work to do.
How does technology increase productivity in the workplace?
The conversation about technology at work isn’t a new one. As more advancements are made, technology continues to aid productivity in a number of ways.
1. Technology automates repetitive tasks
Workers reportedly spend more than three hours per day on manual, repetitive tasks. Technology can automate those processes, remove the burden from your employees, and free up more time for what really matters: the core responsibilities of their jobs.
2. Technology gives you real-time insights into your workflows
As much as you like to think that you have a solid understanding of how your team uses their time, bottlenecks and snags are easy to miss. Collaborative work management software like Wrike will generate reports for you using real-time data, so that you can spot and address bloated processes and workflows.
3. Technology keeps your team organized and on task
It’s easy to point the finger at social media sites or personal conversations when it comes to wasted time in the office. However, you might be surprised at the amount of hours your employees are losing just searching for information. The average knowledge worker spends roughly 30% of their work day looking for the information they need.
Technology (particularly project management software) helps you streamline communication, organize files, and establish workflows that will keep your team on track and save plenty of time.
How to manage productivity in the workplace: Find what works for your team
If you’re eagerly trying to figure out how to increase productivity in the workplace, we certainly can’t blame you. Every leader wants their team to be as effective and impactful as possible.
However, when it comes to productivity workplace tips, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all tactic for monitoring and managing how much your employees get done. To see significant improvements, you’ll need to tailor your approach to the needs and specific challenges of your team.
So, measure what you can, closely listen to feedback, and then make improvements from there. Before long, your team will get more done — and likely in less time.
Ready to give your team’s productivity a real boost? Sign up for a free trial of Wrike.