How To Measure Productivity

am i productive at work

Should you measure time spent or deliverables produced?

Many employers make the mistake of gauging a person's productivity by the amount of time they spend working. This is a poor way of determining how productive a person is as someone can simply milk a job for hours and complete one thing in a day. It's foolish to think that being productive means occupying a space for a set number of hours.

True productivity should be measured by results and the quality of the work produced. Deliverables should be completed in a timely fashion without sacrificing quality along the way.

How do I determine how productive an employee is?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining productivity. Each organization has its own unique goals and requirements needed to keep the business afloat. In my world, I determine productivity by how many features of an app I can release with minimal bugs. The threshold for what is considered minimal varies by project.

Although the specific metrics vary, I am looking for speed and quality. I am also favoring quality over speed 9 times out of 10. To figure this out where you work, determine how long it takes completely a particular task in both suboptimal and optimal conditions.

Be sure to add enough time for quality checks into your measurements. Once you have this, you will have a benchmark for your tasks and can better determine productivity.

Also, a quick side note, the employee that constantly boasts about working long hours or completing X amount of tasks, is probably the least productive of the bunch. Truly talented, productive people tend to let the results speak for them.

What can I do to increase productivity?

Before implementing any new measures to increase productivity, it's important to consider the impact the new goals or processes will have on the individuals carrying out the tasks. People are not machines and stressed workers do not perform nearly as well as happy ones. You also risk people quitting and/or creating a de-motivated workforce.

Once you have considered the impact of the changes, you can start by looking around for new tech. There are tons of productivity tools on the market, both hardware, and software. An awesome productivity app is Super Easy CRM. Employees can list their tasks, reach out for help, and store information pertaining to their tasks in one centralized place.

Being able to prioritize tasks and delegate where necessary will increase the productivity of the organization overall. Another nice piece of tech to purchase are high-end gaming/productivity mice. Mice like the Logitech Mx Master have been the gold standard for productivity for years now.

They are not cheap mice (about $100 USD at the time of writing) but certainly afford you many features that cheap mice don't. You can map functions like Copy/Paste to a button which reduces the amount of keystrokes a person has to make. When I am coding or working in Excel this saves me tons of time.

How do I prevent burnout?

The key to preventing burnout at an organization is empathy. Business owners need to remember that the people that work there are not fellow owners. As such, they won't be compensated nearly as much as the owners so they should not be working nearly as hard.

This is not to say that they should not be earning their paycheck but they don't need to be up at night stressing over some deadline or revenue dip. Non-owners need only to be concerned about work during working hours. When they clockout, they need to do so mentally as well as physically.

This preserves their peace and actually enables them to be better workers in the long run. However, this is nearly impossible to do if people are expected to answer calls and emails after hours. Simply put, to prevent burnout business owners and those they designate as managers should respect boundaries and treat people with respect and dignity.

What should I do if productivity dips?

First, take a look at the technical infrastructure to see if system bottlenecks or lack of resources on the application server is causing performance degradation for the apps people use for work. If you can't find any technical reason for the dip, look around the organization for other impediments like the number of resignations/terminations or people out of PTO. Whatever you decide to look at, try not assume the people suck.

Now, this may very well be the case but if you start with the mentality of "millennials/gen z are lazy" or they all suck, you will prevent yourself from conducting a thorough, unbiased investigation. If you notice only a few people with lower performance ask them if they are doing ok.

There might be something going on with them at home that could be impacting their performance at work. They don't need to provide you with the intimate details but you could still cut them some slack if they are going through a custody battle or something like that.

If you find that after counseling the person that there was nothing going on with them and they continue to have a decline in productivity, it might be time for re-training. Either way, we should try and give people a chance to do better before throwing them out into the cold.

Matt Irving is the CEO of Super Easy Tech, LLC.
Matt is the CEO of Super Easy Tech and creator of Super Easy CRM. He is a passionate software engineer, tech blogger, and gamer. Feel free to connect on any of the platforms listed below.

Posted by: Matt Irving on 7/18/2022