In that regard, here is some of the information Insightful provides:
- How regular 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 on 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 such tools to bring team productivity levels up. After identifying where the established processes are failing and what makes people lose focus while working, deep company culture changes need to be implemented as well.
Call them hacks or tips - it’s irrelevant. What makes them beneficial for your company is that if conceptualized and implemented correctly, they motivate employees to work harder with positive results to show for it.
Here are five of them.
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 one of them can and can’t do, 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.
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, you as the manager 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 to 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.
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.
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 to 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 of your team.
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 in 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 for 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 to 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.
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.
This article was originally written on August 13th, 2019 by Aleksa Misic. It was updated on August 24th, 2020 by Aleksandra Djordjevic.