5 KPIs That Measure Remote Employees' Productivity

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Productivity is not measured by how long an employee sits at their desk. It's about what they produce, not how many hours worked. This is how to accomplish set goals. Recently, more employees and companies have been looking at remote working and hybrid-team options. 


However, 20% of businesses are concerned that remote work will affect employee productivity as it is done away from the structure and focus of an office environment. It has led to some questionable use of monitoring software to track employees working remotely.


Over 50% of employers indicate, though, that working remotely has led to increased productivity. You don't need to constantly look over your employees' shoulders to analyze how well they're doing. But, at the same time, you want to make sure all of your employees are working to the same high standard. That's where KPIs come in.


What is a KPI?


A Key Performance Indicator or KPI helps to measure how effectively your company achieves its objectives. Productivity KPIs assess how effectively those goals are being met, evaluate employees/processes and identify improvements without constant micromanagement.


KPIs must be specific. For example, a KPI for a customer service agent might be average customer call times. However, measuring average call times for software developers doesn't make sense since they may not speak directly to clients. So how do you best systemize your business and come up with KPIs for your employees?


Good KPIs are SMART


A KPI is only useful if it is well-defined. This is where SMART objectives are used to distinguish between good and bad KPIs. A SMART KPI will be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Another rule to keep in mind for productivity KPIs is not to overdo them. Less is always more, so opt for a small list of the most important KPIs.


5 KPIs to Measure Remote Productivity


While some KPIs are specific to individual roles, the five KPIs below help assess and improve remote employee productivity.


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1. Reply Times


When working remotely, you must still communicate effectively with coworkers, clients, and management. Whether they're using a video collaboration app or email, frequent updates are needed and must be conveyed in a clear, concise, and polite manner. Measuring reply times is one way to determine how well remote employees communicate. Look at how prompt an employee is at returning client calls or emails to measure this KPI. You can ask clients for feedback on how quickly they received a response. 


Another method is to ask your employees. Who better to ask than employees that communicate with each other every day? Having them assess their coworkers anonymously can help to identify employees that might need guidance. 


Remote working means flexible working hours, so not every employee will be available simultaneously. Even your most productive employee using the best group video call app won't be online and ready to respond to colleagues' or customer queries at 4 am. However, employees who take too long to get back to customers or coworkers can be a bottleneck in the company's productivity. This KPI can highlight those bottlenecks and allow you to eliminate them.


2. The Time it Takes to Complete Tasks

The traditional layout of an office where supervisors could glance over and check employee progress is gone. Along with it is the focused, dedicated workspace, free from the distractions of home life. Now, remote workers supervise themselves. They must have the capacity to work independently and complete tasks assigned to them in the time they have available. You don't want your employees rushing through tasks at the last minute, taking too long to complete them, or submitting subpar work.


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A simple way to measure this KPI is to quantify how many tasks an employee completes per week. Tasks could include creating presentations, drafting documents, answering emails, or calling clients. They will likely be specific to each role.


If they struggle to complete tasks on time or to a good standard, it could show the employee is struggling with their remote productivity. Your remote employees may need a helping hand in organizing their workload. Consider breaking down large tasks into smaller chunks, changing working hours for caregivers or parents, or adopting the best app for productivity you can find. 

Not only will this improve your KPIs, but it will help your employees.


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3. Knowledge & Skill Retention


A fully stocked office has paper on hand, printers that do everything but make the coffee, and a whole host of specific tools for managing projects. It also has the opportunity to learn from the people around you constantly. Remote employees don't have these luxuries. 


One aspect of remote working is adapting to a different environment. It can mean learning about new technology to boost productivity, using new software, or developing a more flexible approach. While training your employees for these new tasks is excellent in theory, the extent to which they retain the knowledge and skills gained in practice directly impacts remote productivity. Measuring their knowledge and skills retention can be challenging, depending on observation, which is difficult in remote work.


One method is to look at tasks that require the use of new skills, such as using creative collaboration tools to make a presentation. How confident they are at applying their skills and teaching others? You may ask them to demonstrate their skills in a few weeks or months to assess their retention or even compose a short quiz to test their knowledge directly. If they're struggling, they may need some top-up training. This is easy enough to provide using various webinar platforms.


Don't be afraid to ask your employees their opinion. Often, they have identified their own weaknesses. Encourage your team to be open about gaps in their knowledge rather than criticizing them. Having confidence in their knowledge and skills will ensure your employees can work efficiently through their tasks.


4. Reaching Goals 


Goals make the world turn. Having employees set goals for their development provides an opportunity to give ongoing feedback and motivate them to achieve more. Working with employees to create weekly targets will allow you to monitor their productivity. Regular check-ins will help you measure this KPI and keep your remote employees on track.

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5. Turnover Rate

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius was onto something when he said that, but just 22% of workers feel engaged in their job globally.


Productivity means being efficient in completing tasks. But, all too often, employees can find themselves in productivity slumps, working long hours and accomplishing very little. It's a bigger problem when working remotely. Personal and professional boundaries are blurred, and workdays can begin to stretch longer. Coupled with disengagement and demotivation, stress can start to creep in, which can ultimately cause employees to quit.


A high employee turnover rate can dampen morale, demotivate other employees, and reduce how productive your team works while you find a replacement.

Measuring your employee turnover rate identifies any problem areas that need resolving before talented staff heads out of your door.


This KPI can be monitored by how many employees leave the company in a given year divided by the total number of employees. And you can also utilize KPI apps to help monitor productivity. Be sure to compare this figure with industry benchmarks. Surveying employees about their advancement opportunities and working hours might indicate their engagement and likelihood of leaving. Identifying heavy workloads and providing advice is a simple solution to keeping your employees productive and happy at work.


You Don't Need to Know Everything


Monitoring your employees while they work remotely doesn't need to be a minefield. Using KPIs will allow you to monitor their past performance and predict future patterns. This data can be used to boost workplace productivity and your company's performance.


Remember to keep KPIs SMART. Focus on a few well-defined KPIs for each department or role. You don't need to know every detail of how your remote employees work. Unless you want to drown in data, less is always more.


How can your organization thrive in the future of work? DH has created a strategic people plan to help uncover gaps and move your culture into the future. 


Learn More Here

About the Author

Victorio Duran III -

Victorio is the Associate SEO Director at RingCentral, a global leader in cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions. He has over 13 years of extensive involvement in web and digital operations with diverse experience as a web engineer, product manager, and digital marketing strategist.


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