Managing Workload in a Remote Environment
While many businesses closed their doors back in March, only opening again when health authorities allowed the reopening of offices, others began working from the comfort of their homes and continue to do so. However, when employees are no longer in office, managing your team’s workload becomes difficult.
Without your team in sight, it can be easy to wonder how employees are spending their time. You find yourself wondering if your team is working or browsing the internet and whether two-day tasks are taking longer because of distractions
The answer to this uneasiness lies in cracking down on staff efficiency and billability. We know first-hand micromanaging is time-consuming, hinders work, and harms relationships. So, what can you do to manage but not micromanage?
Re-examine Billable Hour Targets
Look at your targets for billable hours pre vs post-work from home. Have your targets remained similar? If so, great! If not, ask yourself why? Has the work from home transition negatively affected employee productivity?
Working in this kind of environment might hinder the ability to finish tasks within the same time constraints. Instead of asking your team members why they are falling behind, ask what’s holding them back. Their feedback might lead you to change your billable hourly targets or set aside some budget for getting your team properly equipped to work from home.
Remember that for some employees, this is not a willing transition to working from home. Even though many businesses have been fully remote for more than half a year now, many people held off on building a home office because they assumed things would go back to normal rather quickly.
On the other hand, working from home might benefit many of your employees. Co-workers, though a great resource, can also impair people’s ability to focus on the task at hand, especially in open office designs. Those quick questions may help the asker, but they can pull the person being asked out of their own work. The transition to working from home may provide an ability to focus closely on the project at hand, allowing employees to get more done, in the same amount of time, with no loss of quality.
Assess Productivity Statistics
Assessing the performance of your agency when they’re scattered is not an easy task, nor is messaging them individually to ensure they are keeping up with their targets. Function Point helps keep scattered teams connected. Instead of going from employee to employee asking for billable hours, they are entered manually within Function Point.
You can see real-time statistics on your teams’ hours. From there you can look at your actual billable hours vs targets using holistic measurements rather than micromanaging. This provides insight into the different areas in which your team is meeting their targets.
Without these summaries, you lack any reliable source of information needed to organize your agency’s finances. A holistic view of your agency’s workflow ensures you are not losing money on any of your tasks.
What is your staff working on?
If your only method of knowing what your staff is working on is asking them in person, you might be in some trouble. One job might have multiple individuals working on it and figuring out who is working on what is not a productive use of your time.
Function Point provides a detailed breakdown of each department’s jobs and the different tasks broken up by an employee. This means no more miscommunication on who is doing what. Instead, you’ll have up-to-date information on every task.
Regular summaries of work breakdown ensure even delegation and timely completion. Saving time on figuring out who’s working on what leaves room for your team to focus on client work.
The shift to a remote work model might mean reassessing some of your productivity metrics, but remember, managing workload remotely is simply a balance of efficiently assigning tasks and monitoring their progress in real-time. Move around the pieces of the puzzle a little and equip yourself with the right tools, and we promise the transition won’t seem so daunting!