“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein
Companies today are increasingly focusing on employee productivity to achieve better business results. To enable this, they are constantly looking for solutions to increase individual and team performance by allocating resources for performance management and increasing employee engagement. From fancy cafeterias, swanky office spaces, to game rooms to sleep pods, to offering flexible work options… companies today are willing to go the extra mile to help employees become and remain engaged at work and perform to their optimal capacity. While these companies are providing all this and more to their employees, there are three very important workplace metrics that they are not measuring. While these three metrics might sound innocuous, these surprisingly have a very big impact on employee productivity.
The Most Productive Hours aka Golden Hours
Let’s face it – an average employee cannot be optimally productive for all the eight or nine hours that he/she is at work. Factor in the several distractions that we face in an everyday environment; think phone calls, meetings, tea or coffee breaks, lunch breaks and the much-needed brain breaks. Expecting an employee to work on full throttle for as long as he/she is at work is a utopian idea which is almost draconian in nature. However, it definitely is the company’s responsibility to help the employee utilize his/her complete potential. Most companies do not help their employees identify their ‘Golden Hours’ of work – those hours where the employee is at his productive best. The concept of the Golden Hours is quite simple – it’s identifying blocks of time when you work at peak productivity and ensuring that all distractions and interruptions during these hours are prevented. Instead of guessing a team or individual’s optimal productivity time, organizations need to have quantified metrics to measure these Golden Hours so that employees can complete tasks when they are at their productive best and utilize the other time blocks to schedule meetings and other such office activities.
The Value of Face Time
Even today, a number of companies put a lot of emphasis on face time. If an employee reaches office early and is the last to go, then that employee is perceived to be hard working and as a result definitely very productive. Instead of measuring the amount of work that is being done, companies are simply clock watching and wondering why the productivity of their employees is low. This becomes even more relevant when you have to work for a global team. How do you identify if one team sitting in one geography is more productive than the other? Do we go only by face time or the time spent ‘at’ work? In order to be successful, to ensure that deliverables are on time and tasks are completed on schedule, companies need to measure the time that is spent ‘on’ work, not ‘at’ work. Today, the workforce needs a new manager who can evaluate the time and effort that is being spent on doing productive work rather than simply clock watching.
The Value of Effort Analytics
Companies today are doing a lot of things to make sure that their employees are happy. After all, happy employees are productive employees. They offer several tangible benefits such as high salaries, superb perks, and a promising career path. Despite this, we see a number of employees, especially the top performers who you can call ‘rock star’ employees, burn out and quit because of the work pressure. More often than not, work pressure builds up primarily because of incorrect effort and time estimates. Most managers, even today, rely purely on guesswork when it comes to work allocation. They depend on the perceived estimates of an individual’s productivity to assign work timelines. The high performing employees are assigned to work on more projects since they require minimal management while the rest of the team remains underutilized and begins to feel disengaged at work. Additionally, team managers often bite off more than they can chew because they ‘feel’ that the team can deliver on that project in the estimated time frame. Evaluating the difference between actual effort and estimated effort plays a very important role in correct work allocation. It is only when team leaders have quantified insights into individual performance can they ensure better resource allocation, eliminate negative overhead costs and prevent employee burn-out owing to stress and overwork.
Today, we seem to be measuring a lot of things to manage better – right from the amount of time that an employee spends on Facebook to the hours that he/she spends at work. While this can be justified to an extent, it becomes equally essential to measure the above-mentioned metrics to identify the reasons behind the productivity gap and to bring about a meaningful change that can lead to a strategic business impact.
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