In an era where work from home has transformed from a luxury to a necessity, understanding productivity dynamics has become crucial for organizations across all industries.
As Yahoo discovered in 2013, speed and quality of work were believed to be compromised when employees worked remotely. Fast forward a decade, and 22% of the American workforce is expected to work remotely by the end of 2023. This shift underscores the importance of understanding and measuring productivity in the current landscape.
Are your business decisions guided by accurate key performance indicators (KPIs) and productivity benchmarks? Quantitative insights into employee productivity are essential for making informed decisions regarding workloads, technology usage, and employee mental health. Unfortunately, many organizations rely on outdated, oversimplified, or irrelevant benchmarks developed by specialists lacking the necessary expertise.
Insightful, a leader in employee activity monitoring software, addresses this gap by tracking work and analyzing data from a vast user base to establish benchmarks for three critical productivity components: multitasking, collaboration, and focus time. This article will help you comprehend and establish productivity benchmarks, enabling your company to optimize its time and resources.
The Three Pillars of Productivity
Productivity is conventionally measured by comparing inputs and outputs. However, real work is more complex, involving various projects, tasks, and deliverables for each team member. A holistic approach to measuring team productivity encompasses three dimensions:
- Focus: The time spent on a single task, the depth of work accomplished, and the number of disruptions encountered.
- Collaboration: The time spent in meetings and on communication.
- Multitasking: The time spent on semi-important or administrative tasks.
A healthy workload distribution involves a mix of tasks that lead to fulfilling work while avoiding burnout. But what constitutes a "good" distribution, and how long should employees spend in each category daily?
Benchmarks gathered from user data from industries like financial services, healthcare, insurance, professional services, and the legal industry provide valuable insights into an average employee's day, revealing key trends such as:
Productive time remained stable quarter over quarter but decreased by 6 minutes year over year.
The number of overutilized employees decreased by 13% in Q2 year over year, indicating better workload distribution and increased overall engagement.
Despite the positive shift in overall employee well-being, 28% of employees remain overutilized.
The workday length decreased by 33 minutes from Q1 and 37 minutes year over year, exclusively at the end of the day, with employees ending work approximately 30 minutes earlier than any of the previous five quarters.
Unlocking Productivity Insights
Let's explore how these benchmarks can be applied in a productivity analysis with an example. Suppose you are a financial services company, and your employees average 7.2 productive hours per day. On the surface, this seems above the industry average and positive. However, a closer examination reveals that chat and messaging consume 1.2 hours—more than double the average time for your vertical.
Short-term imbalances may be acceptable, but prolonged imbalances could lead to problems. A healthy workload distribution between focus, collaboration, and multitasking is essential. Constant overutilization leads to stress and increased burnout risk, while underutilization can make employees feel unvalued and demotivated.
Comparing your workforce analytics with your industry can help identify potential improvement areas more quickly.
Implementing Productivity Benchmarks
Understanding productivity variations across industries is the first step. Next, examine your organization's productivity metrics, keeping these best practices in mind:
Contextualize: Benchmarks provide a useful reference for your industry position, but they need contextualization. Each organization is unique, with its framework for deep work and collaboration. Account for your organization's specific characteristics, such as remote work or shared office spaces, when interpreting benchmarks.
Work Incrementally: Abrupt company-wide mandates can harm employee engagement and productivity. Instead, implement a step-by-step plan with employee involvement to increase the likelihood of success.
Set Non-Time-Bound KPIs: High-level KPIs, such as "increase deep work time by one hour," may seem directly related to benchmarking but are challenging to measure. Instead, identify key employee strengths and incrementally increase their workload in those areas to naturally boost productivity.
Enhancing Workplace Productivity: A Journey, Not a Destination
Improving workplace productivity is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation, innovation, and a robust tool to differentiate between meaningful and irrelevant benchmark metrics. Insightful’s productivity tracker for remote work tracking addresses these challenges by providing a comprehensive suite of features designed to accurately assess and improve productivity.
Real-Time Monitoring and Activity Tracking: Track employee activity with Insightful’s real-time monitoring and activity tracking. Organizations can accurately assess input and output, thereby making informed choices around workloads, technology usage, and employee mental health.
Productivity Trends Dashboard and Comprehensive Reports: The Productivity Trends Dashboard and Comprehensive Reports features of Insightful allow organizations to analyze trends in productivity over time, and generate detailed reports on team productivity levels, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and make meaningful changes.
Employee Productivity Tracking: With Insightful’s Employee Productivity Tracking feature, organizations can track the productivity of individual employees and teams, allowing them to identify areas where additional training or coaching may be needed, and thereby avoiding overutilization or underutilization.
Customizable Settings and Office vs Remote: Insightful’s Customizable Settings and Office vs Remote features enable organizations to configure the platform to fit their specific needs and design an optimal work structure based on their team's work location.
By leveraging these features of Insightful, organizations can establish accurate productivity benchmarks, make informed decisions, and implement tailored strategies to optimize team performance and maximize overall productivity, addressing the key pain points and challenges discussed in the article.