We are all well-aware of how important are productivity and efficiency to meet our expectations at work. After all, it is a must for delivering high-quality work.
Yet, as the management guru, Peter Drucker said, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Let’s then talk about how can you manage productivity measuring.
How do you define productivity?
In simple words, it translates the effort you put into your work into the effects you have. As states World Economic Forum, it is a crucial determinant of the pace of economic growth.
Productivity vs efficiency
Those two terms are strongly connected, yet it is essential to differentiate them. Productivity is all about the “how much?” question. It tells you how many calls have you made, cases have you closed or, in general, tasks that you have completed.
Efficiency tells you about the quality of your work. You don’t focus on how much work have you put into a project, but what effects it has brought. For example, you can be productive and complete a lot of tasks, but if they don’t bring you outcomes, you are not effective.
You can – and you should – combine both notions by using appropriate productivity measuring strategy.
Why should you check your productivity?
Taking a look at your productivity is definitely worth the effort. Let’s see how it can benefit your business.
Gaining control over your work
When you start to observe how you work, you gain consciousness. It lets you learn where you allocate your resources: time, team, or money in tools, and what effects it brings.
Identifying weak areas
Analyzing how do you work gives you important data about the weaker points in your work habits. When you spot the bottlenecks in your workflow, you can act upon them.
Assessing the progress
Measuring your productivity allows you to evaluate the changes you make. You will be able to tell quickly if a given solution increases or decreases your productivity because you will be able to compare them over time.
Finally, when you spot the areas for improvement, work on them and check the progress, you will eventually increase your effectiveness. Also, it is a faster – and more efficient way – than trying out various methods without checking the impact.
How to measure productivity?
There are several ways in which you can measure your work. They are strictly connected with factors such as:
- your overall strategy
- size and niche of your business
- the area that you want to measure
That is why you shouldn’t assume there is one ideal productivity measuring system for all. Each approach that we mention is a starting point for you. Adjust it and change to meet your needs. Also, keep in mind that the system can change over time, as your business grows or you enter new markets.
Before you start
Your productivity measuring system should be aligned with your goals and strategy. After all, you want to be able to draw specific conclusions and get important data.
Look at your strategy and plans and introduce your KPIs into measuring process. It is essential that you describe clearly how you want to track your efficiency, as it will help you adjust later the system. E.g. if you run Vision Detection Systems, set up KPIs referring both to sales and customer service.
This strategy is one of the simplest ways of measuring productivity. It gives you a clear indicator of the amount of work you’ve done and the steps you completed towards your goal.
Its weak point is that you don’t get feedback about your efficiency. Imagine a situation when you complete a lot of tasks, yet you don’t see any progress towards your goals. It can also make your teamwork harder, yet without effects.
It is an approach that focuses more on the effectiveness of your work, as you measure the return from your actions. It is a favourite way to measure productivity for small businesses or creative agencies. Why is it so? It is simple and allows them to focus on the most profitable actions.
The weak point is that you don’t have clear how much work did you have to put in to get these effects. Yet, you can count on your team looking for ways to work smarter, not harder.
Quantity and quality indicators
This strategy is a combination of the two approaches mentioned above. You can choose one quantity indicator, like tasks or time spent on a project, and one quality indicator, as generated profit or feedback results.
This approach allows your team to work smarter and gives you more information on how to improve your workflow. With actionable insights, you can expect changes in a shorter time.
Tools for productivity measuring
Technology helps you in extracting and processing the most important information, so you can spend minimal time on monitoring your actions.
After all, when you have to dedicate a lot of time to measure your effectiveness, the process itself is not very effective. That is why you should use some help and automize the process.
If your go-to productivity indicator is how many tasks you have completed, you should opt for a task management tool. It allows you to track how many steps are completed, also in a given time frame. You can try out Asana or Trello, as well as Slack alternatives.
These tools can also help you in planning out your actions and cooperating, so the benefits will go further than only measuring productivity.
From all the tasks in business life, meetings consume a lot of time – and sometimes, without bringing the expected outcome. That is why you can focus on handling productive meetings.
To keep control over your meetings, you can make use of Harmonizely. It not only saves your time but also helps in managing how much time you spend on them. Take a look at this dashboard.
You can notice here how much time you spent on meetings during the last 30 days. Total Cancelled Meetings is another important indicator. It helps you in spotting how much time do you spend on preparing yourself for meetings that finally don’t take place.
Time spent on tasks
When you opt for tracking time spent on a given project as one of your productivity indicators, there is a variety of tools to use. You can just set a timer running in the background or add time entries manually.
Each time entry can be added to a project, so then you can create clear reports. You can also set up if the time is billable or not and have a more in-depth analysis. Good examples of such tools are Toggl or Clockify.
When you use them, it is easier to spot the processes that take way too much time. Those are your areas for improvement and automation.
There is one more data source that will come handy in checking your productivity. Most of the tools that support a specific area of your business provide you with detailed analytics solutions. Thanks to that, you can get exact ideas on how to improve your work.
Let’s take the example of a customer service tool. You can extract from it both quantity indicators, as time spent on calls or their number, and quality indicators, as feedback from the clients.
Imagine a situation when your agents score high notes when it comes to feedback from the clients, yet numerous calls aren’t handled. That lets you test out how implementing new solutions, like live chat, can improve your team’s productivity and let them help more customers in the same time.
As a recap
Productivity measuring is a powerful way to improve your workflow. Checking your input, the effects you get and the correlations helps you in working smarter. You can make better decisions about allocating your resources, whether it is about your time and energy, or members of your team.
It allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current workflow. In this way, you don’t have to rely on your intuition or impressions when it comes to improvements, but back yourself with accurate data.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your productivity:
- When you're working, consider not looking at social media/news websites and putting your phone away in a drawer.
- Do exercise and yoga frequently to relieve stress/anxiety and to energize you.
- To further relieve stress/anxiety, you could take health supplements like Lemon balm, Omega-3 or Multivitamins from Joy Organics.
- Don't be harsh on yourself. Take frequent breaks in between your working hours.
Give it a try and let results surprise you.