Remote Work & Culture

3 Ways to Improve KPI Tracking in a Remote Work Environment

3 Ways to Improve KPI Tracking in a Remote Work Environment

Key performance indicators (KPIs) and productivity data are essential to every company, especially those whose continued organizational performance relies on numbers. Two years ago, relevant KPI tracking looked drastically different, before COVID-19 drove a majority of the U.S. workforce to full-time remote work.

A January 2021 survey revealed that over 56% of Americans are still “always” or “sometimes” working remotely. Additionally, a recent Hubstaff remote work survey — interviewing 400 managers and business owners about their pandemic experiences and future plans — found that over 20% of company leaders have concerns about the potential impact of remote work and overall team productivity. Since they’re a key way to monitor the progress of remote teams, KPI tracking and remote productivity are invaluable: How can you know how your remote team is doing, especially when most Americans haven’t set foot in an office since early 2020?

Effectively setting and tracking KPIs for remote work helps your team members to succeed in a remote environment and increase their remote productivity. Remote KPI tracking also helps to build the foundation for a strong remote work culture and keeps your team unified no matter where they’re working from.

Why is It Important to Set KPIs for Remote Work?

Remote productivity monitoring can eliminate many of these concerns and help team members at all levels adjust to a new remote work culture. However, there’s a fine line between setting healthy KPIs for remote work and unintentional micromanagement, which can tangibly effect remote productivity.

How Remote Companies Approach KPI Tracking

A great way to maintain clear success markers and build employee trust is by learning from companies that were already successfully monitoring remote productivity in the distributed workspace prior to 2020.

3 Tips to Better Track Remote Productivity

1. Set Role-Specific KPIs

Different departments and jobs naturally have different performance metrics: you’d never gauge a software engineer’s remote productivity on the number of words they write, or an analytics guru on their sales percentage. In the same way, each role in your organization must be individually assessed to identify the ideal objectives and KPIs for that function. Setting clear, achievable KPIs for remote workers can help empower your team to confidently meet – and exceed – expectations both in and out of the office.

Not sure which types of KPIs you should be tracking? Here are some great resources to help you more effectively identify and track department- and position-specific KPIs:

2. Use The Right Tools

Task, CRM, and project management tools like Trello, ClickUp, HubSpot and others can help clearly define and track projects from assignment through completion and offer cross-departmental clarity to all involved team members. Zoom, Google Suite and other tools make it possible to host meetings, share resources and keep things organized.

Some remote-first companies — like Instant Teams, a remote marketplace that helps companies build and scale remote teams composed of military spouses, veterans, caregivers and survivors — discovered early on that KPI tracking and remote team management are crucial. Thanks to the right tools, including proprietary software that tracks time, hours worked, and internal communications, they can provide real-time data and remote productivity tracking.

3. Check-In Mindfully

Without shared space and catch-ups at the communal espresso machine, it can be more difficult to know how your team is doing and who’s struggling in a remote environment – and even harder to do so without micromanaging or overwhelming your long-distance employees. Balancing team member check-ins, performance reviews and conversations about career goals and growth between mindful meetings and emails can help managers be intentional and keep a close pulse on your teams’ health and remote productivity – without producing Zoom fatigue or further burnout.

Cultivating a Healthy Remote Work Culture

Effective KPI tracking maintains remote productivity, but it’s equally vital to take the extra step to build a healthy remote team and work culture. Encouraging ownership, recognizing and rewarding hard work, and unifying your remote workforce is a reminder to your team that you have their backs, both personally and professionally. When employees feel valued, KPIs fall effortlessly into place.

Encourage Ownership

Remote KPI tracking and open communication contribute to a healthy remote work culture, but working alone makes it easier to overwork, burn out or make mistakes. By encouraging and training remote team members to take ownership of specific projects, departments or clients, you can prove their value as an integral part of maintaining your remote work culture.

Recognize and Reward Hard Work

In addition to accountability and coaching benefits, check-ins can identify team members rising to the challenge to exceed remote work KPIs. Prioritizing time to challenge and invest in the potential of your future leaders and recognize their success cultivates an environment of healthy growth and motivates other team members to do the same.

Utilize Team-Building Resources

Zoom and other communication tools can promote remote productivity. They can also be used less formally. Many companies used the pandemic and physical distancing to get creative: virtual happy hours, pizza parties and trivia games are convenient and fun opportunities to get to know co-workers on a personal level. Remote productivity rises when people are happy: taking an hour at the end of a Friday to cheers a beer to your remote team will go a long way.

One useful resource is Airbnb’s online team building activities. From private, group yoga and cooking classes to team trivia hosted by your favorite drag queen, Airbnb helps unify our team across continents and time zones.

When you prioritize a healthy remote work culture for your growing remote team by focusing on promoting ownership, recognizing and rewarding hard work, and increasing unity among your team, increased KPI tracking will naturally follow, benefitting your overall team.