As we have been talking about ad nauseam since March: oh, the times, they are a-changin’. Work environments have shifted from a spacious desk with an office printer and shared coffee pot to living rooms, guest rooms, or kitchen tables. It’s been a hard adjustment, particularly when we’re feeling out-of-touch with our coworkers, managers, and employees.
Maybe there’s been a spike in after-hours emails from direct reports, but upper management isn’t quite convinced the team *needs* reinforcements. Or you’re the one sending those emails at all hours and hoping that management recognizes since shifting to working from home, you never stop working. Good news: workforce productivity software provides much-needed visibility into working habits, including burnout.
Workforce productivity software isn’t a tool for upper management to peek at your Spotify activity or see if you’re checking your personal email during the day. It’s a great ally for employees, particularly when, now more than ever, they need to be their own advocate from an IKEA desk in their bedroom.
First things first: what can workforce productivity software see on work computers? The simple answer is, it depends, but generally speaking the software collects and categorizes user activity data to provide visibility into how work gets done. This data can help teams and managers understand where they are spending time, what apps are used most (and least), how much time is spent in meetings, and more.
The software has come a long way, especially in the past few months. Now, instead of being subjects of management observation, employees can analyze and manage their own productivity, work toward predetermined goals, and ensure they are communicating and working efficiently among their teams.
That’s where workforce productivity software like ActivTrak comes in handy, helping you in these six ways:
1. Discover when you are most productive
Some teams work a traditional 9 am to 5 pm schedule. Others may find themselves taking advantage of quiet time before the kids get up for school, hitting their stride right after the second coffee break of the day, or getting through emails before bedtime in the evenings. When we’re aware of our most productive times of day to work it’s easier to accomplish more, faster.
In addition to hours, you can also learn which days of the week you’re most productive. We all know that Monday mornings are tough, but do you actually know your most and least productive days of the week? Viewing productivity trend reports can help you better manage your tasks and projects by allowing you to optimize your work schedule based on facts.
2. Prevent burnout with a balanced workload
It’s hard not to experience periods of exhaustion, they can happen at any given time or career-point. Employee burnout is costly for your employer. According to Gallup, employee disengagement results in 37% higher absenteeism, an 18% reduction in productivity, and a 15% decrease in overall organizational profitability. In a study focused on doctors, researchers found that doctors with burnout had more than double the likelihood of self-reported medical error. Bottom line, employee burnout is an issue no organization can afford to ignore.
Your boss may have no idea that you’ve been working 60 hour weeks, and you may struggle to prove your workload is unmanageable. But with workforce productivity software, managers can understand when you or your team needs support, better prioritization, or perhaps additional resources. And, you can let the data speak for itself and get the help you need to rebalance.
3. Reduce busy-work and get time back in your day
It can be frustrating to feel like management doesn’t know what you are dealing with on the frontlines. Some teams have daily check-ins, others might touch base weekly, and maybe you don’t circle back with your team until you have a specific deliverable to discuss. But we’ve almost all fallen victim to never-ending meetings that suck up our days and some make us wonder–could this have been an email?
With workforce productivity software you can pinpoint where all your time is going, and if those activities are helping or hurting your progress on tasks and projects. For example, if you are finding it hard to execute tasks and projects regularly due to spending too much time in meetings, you can view the actual breakdown of how your time was spent and work with your manager to reduce the number of meetings you are required to attend.
4. Gain approval for the tools you need
Have you ever found yourself spending hours on manual, repetitive tasks that have caused delays in your other projects or work? Has it been hard to explain to management why you need a new tool that is going to add an additional expense to the budget? Workforce productivity software will help you make a strong business case. For example, using actual user activity data, you can prove how many hours you and other team members are spending on menial, repetitive tasks. Especially if more specialized work is suffering or delayed, you can quickly create a cost-benefit analysis to prove the ROI of a new tool you need.
When your manager can understand how much you rely on tools and software to do your job efficiently and effectively, they’re more likely to invest money into them. For instance, if you’re spending more time on Slack than email, your company may consider a premium Slack account to allow more file sharing. Maybe you work in marketing and are spending significant time manually checking your company’s social media accounts to respond to comments–there’s software to help automate that. Workforce productivity software can help solve those inefficient workflows to reduce frustrations, save you time, and improve your productivity.
5. Access flexible and remote work opportunities
As much of the world has been working remotely for most of 2020, adding workforce productivity software to your team’s tech stack could make working from home a permanent solution.
According to an April 2020 study by Gartner, 74% of companies plan to stick with remote work permanently, even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. Workforce productivity software gives employers the confidence to allow their employees to work from anywhere, breaking down in-office schedule constraints that limit travel opportunities, family and social time, and require costly and stressful commuting.
With a robust remote workforce productivity software like ActivTrak, you can prove that you’re being productive while away from the office – helping managers and employers embrace remote work and reducing the chance that you’ll ever have to sit in traffic Monday – Friday again.
6. Get recognized for your efforts
Just because someone is the first one online (or in the office) every day doesn’t mean they are actually more productive than others. A huge benefit of workforce productivity software for employees is the ability for managers to understand how efficient individuals and teams are with their time. It’s not really the quantity of work time that matters, it’s the quality. Workforce productivity software provides a more objective, data-driven way for managers to assess effort and focus vs. face time or other subjective perceptions.
With data derived from workforce productivity software like ActivTrak, you are able to accurately prove your value, including highlighting your productivity, where you’ve gone above and beyond, and additional progress you’ve made in your role.
A win-win for management and employees
By leveraging workforce productivity software, employers and employees can create more productive and enjoyable workplaces. With actual data at their disposal, it becomes easier for employees to optimize their work schedules based on their unique productivity patterns, eliminate unnecessary meetings or inefficient processes, get the tools they need to do their jobs well, balance workloads to prevent burnout, and move up in their organizations and careers.
When managers cultivate a workplace based on what’s working, and focus on improving what’s not, employee churn is reduced, which means not having to go through a costly search to find a backfill. Even better, the business flourishes. That’s a win-win in our book.
Start measuring your own productivity today
- Sign up for a free ActivTrak account in minutes (no credit card required)
- Watch Productivity 101: How to Define, Measure, and Improve Productivity in the Workplace
- Visit the ActivTrak Productivity Lab for more productivity tips & tricks
ActivTrak is a workforce productivity and analytics software company that helps teams understand how people work, whether in-office or remote. Our cloud-based user activity monitoring platform collects and analyzes data and provides insights to help organizations be more productive and operationally efficient. With more than 8,000 customers and over 250,000 users of its free version, ActivTrak’s award-winning solution can be configured in minutes to identify operational bottlenecks, flag operational compliance risks, and provide valuable insights that help employees and employers improve productivity outcomes.