1. Prepare the Team
Regardless of whether your team (or the entire company) works from the office or you employ remote workers, time tracking system implementation is a must. But before that, you need to get them all on the same page about what is coming in terms of any new work organization you are laying the groundwork for.
Hold a meeting (or several, if necessary) where you will explain your plans for the next quarter, for example. State which preparations need to be made in terms of commitment to work, team collaboration level, punctuality, accountability - simply lay out the goals, expectations, and possible ramifications in terms of future actions.
Try to build excitement among the staff as well - explain what the positive outcome will mean for the company and employees specifically. In the long run, that will increase productivity more than any screen monitor software you might install.
Moreover, make sure to let team members get to know one another (especially if you’ve had new arrivals recently) before embarking on a big-project journey that holds a lot of significance for the company.
Learning what exactly they can and can’t do, as well as their working dynamics and communication skills, will help everyone realize the team’s capabilities and shortcomings. Focusing on the positive will, in turn, provide that initial boost of confidence and anticipation that will help carry the project forward.
2. Start Small, Work Towards Bigger Things
If you strive to implement employee monitoring to increase productivity on the team level, you might not want to set too big of a goal right off the bat.
Yes, you have a big project you need to deliver successfully, and every bit of effort counts, but if you present things to the staff like that, you will probably get a group of people paralyzed with fear of doing something too slow - and who knows what kind of mistakes they can make by rushing things.
Moreover, as the manager, you will never be able to monitor progress and possible issues this way. One of the ways staff productivity software can be helpful is by identifying possible bumps along the way, which will also allow the entire team to fix them in due time rather than after the project is done.
That’s why it’s important to break things down into tasks as clearly as possible. It’s better to have 200 small tasks (provided they are neatly organized so you know what’s what) than 10 big ones that take a long time to complete - it just ruins the purpose of enhancing productivity.
Additionally, when an employee takes a look at their task balance at the end of the day in your chosen project management and time tracking software, seeing five small tasks completed will be better than being at 30% of one big one. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and confidence that the team will actually be able to finish the project on time. They will more easily shift to a positive state of mind where “We can do this” takes people further than “This is so hard”.
It will also give you the opportunity to follow their tempo and review the quality of work if necessary, thus pointing out any mistakes and fixing them promptly.
3. Set a Task Time Frame
This might go without saying, but it’s important to set a deadline for each task your team members are to complete. Using a project management tool with time tracking is an excellent way to define and keep an eye on how your team is doing.
Make sure to set a realistic time frame for each task. Talk to the assignees about their estimations, capabilities, and possible holdbacks (such as waiting for other team members to finish their part, system or third-party constraints, etc.).
This is a particularly important step for new managers, or team leads who are supervising new additions to the team and aren’t sure what to expect yet. In this regard, to help the team consolidate easier and quicker and thus ensure good performance in the future, having access to information from high-quality project management and time tracking software is essential.
While some teams work best under pressure (and tight deadlines), always leave a little bit of extra time in case a task needs to be additionally addressed before officially being completed.
One of the markings of a good manager certainly is knowing what kind of pressure their team needs in order to be productive, and thus pushing or not to get the best results out of them.
4. Monitor Working Time and Activity
A tried and tested way to increase productivity in your company is to monitor employees via software such as Insightful.
Our experience has shown that simply introducing a tool that can successfully monitor the behavior of people in the professional setting makes a big difference in boosting working efficacy.
While most people do their best when they are aware of being monitored, it’s not as simple as that.
Conscientious workers are willing to look at how much they’ve done in a day with a critical eye, pinpoint areas that need improvement, and make the necessary changes - and this is exactly where employee monitoring productivity software comes in handy.
Tools that point to any number of unproductive activities are useful. But those that give you a clear image of what is being done badly (unregulated comings and goings, activities unrelated to actual work tasks - browsing social media during office hours, spending a lot of time on menial or repetitive tasks that could be done differently or automatically) and how to improve them - those are examples of the best employee monitoring software out there.
That’s why you should check the numbers regularly, analyze the results against your expectations and internal policies, and make the necessary changes that lead to increased productivity for your team.
5. Find the Right Tools
Ask not what your employees can do for the company, but also what the company can do for them to work productively.
One of the things you can do to ensure your staff can work uninterruptedly and efficiently is to provide them with the right tools for the job. For example, developer productivity depends on tools different from those used by sales representatives, so take that into account when assigning a budget for resources and choosing which to use.
Think about what your employees actually need to perform their professional tasks - not just what looks good on the balance sheet at the end of the year or in the office when potential clients or business partners come over.
While some tools, such as time tracking, have universal uses in the company or can be utilized in various ways by different teams in the company, others don’t allow such conveniences.
What can a developer do with a CRM tool when they have no contact with leads and buyers? What good does a fancy office chair do for a safety inspector who spends their days in the field? And ultimately, what use is the free version of any tool if you can’t use it to do your job properly and without frustration?
These are all questions worth seriously considering and acting on in order to help employees be more productive by using the right tools.
6. Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning
If you want your team to thrive, you need to build a culture around them that reflects a desire to continuously grow and develop.
They say that you are the sum of the people you spend the most time around, so doesn’t it make sense to create a work culture that inspires and drives productivity and continuous learning?
That way, team members should feel compelled to indulge their professional ambition and give work their all every day. Continuous learning and growth can be infectious in the right settings, meaning it can spread throughout your team if you create the right environment.
For example, you could:
- Encourage upskilling: Make it easy for team members to get the skills training they need. Put on regular training sessions and workshops or provide access to courses so employees can stay ahead of the curve.
- Implement constructive feedback: Encourage constructive feedback between team members, as this can help individuals identify their blind spots and work to eliminate them.
7. Demonstrate Leadership
Sometimes, the example you set is just as important as any action you take to improve productivity in your team.
As a team leader or manager, make sure you’ll always be on time for meetings and other team obligations. Carry out your responsibilities to the best of your ability and model the perfect attitude to work so your team members can follow suit.
You could also have an open-door policy to encourage team members to share their concerns as soon as they arise. This can help build trust, and the more your team feels this, the more likely they are to act with initiative, trust their instincts, and work smarter.
8. Balance Work and Wellbeing
Work-life balance is the secret ingredient for sustainable productivity.
If you want to set your team up for long-term success, your goal should be to build a culture that promotes a healthy approach to productivity.
As such, make sure you respect your team’s personal and professional boundaries. Given the rise of remote work, it has become harder to simply ‘switch off’ from work, and the fact that more and more work is seeping into employees’ personal lives means they’re always edging closer to burnout.
Since burnout is at the opposite end of the spectrum to productivity, you want to do your best to prevent it at all costs. Prioritize your team members’ wellbeing first and foremost, and productivity will follow.
Insightful: A Tool for Productivity
If slacking off becomes a habit, it may also influence the efficacy of the entire team, and that is a real problem in the making. If you haven’t already dealt with the issue of how to monitor employees working from home, now’s the time.
Insightful, as a workforce analytics platform, can help you drive productivity levels by providing the following information:
- How regularly your employees are at work - who is late or leaves early and when, who likes to take long lunch breaks
- What websites and apps they visit while working - you can mark the most used ones as productive, unproductive, and neutral
- Alerts based on suspicious behavior or long periods of inactivity
- Screenshots taken manually, randomly, or triggered by suspicious activity
- Time spent on a project/tasks and how they correlate, etc.
But no matter how helpful Insightful’s employee monitoring productivity software is, don’t rely solely on tools to bring team productivity levels up. After identifying where the established processes are failing and what makes people lose focus while working, you need to focus on creating the right company culture.
Maximizing Team Productivity
Aside from organizing the way your company operates via a monitoring tool like Insightful, no “hack” will ever help you truly increase the productivity of your team.
To really see positive results in this sense, a slew of systemic change needs to be introduced into your business environment. So take our advice and try implementing some we presented here - or all of them!
You won’t regret it.
Updated on October 5th 2023