Preventing ‘Productivity Burnout’: Staying on Task in a Remote World
During quarantine, remote work has become second nature to nearly two-thirds of employed Americans. The introduction of smart enterprise tools in the last five years, such as video calling and team collaboration apps, have enabled a wide swath of employees to do their jobs from home and their management to keep a level of oversight, but remote work has not been without its issues. Having the home be the office can lead to a hectic work/life blend. According to The Atlantic, remote employees are working longer and more unusual hours as they balance responsibilities like childcare and chores.
Though several large companies like Twitter, primarily in the technology sector, have embraced virtual work and even announced permanent work from home policies, surveys show that the attitude towards permanent remote work is split quite evenly among U.S. employees, with about half of Americans desiring to primarily work from home post-pandemic, and 40% wanting the option to do so occasionally. That means that there remains a significant group of U.S. workers eager to go back to working in a more structured office environment.
As business leaders juggle countless tasks in their ‘get back to work’ plans — from putting contract tracing and temperature scanning in place to mapping sanitization procedures — they’ll also have to consider and plan for the new hybrid virtual/in office workforce. They’ll have to use data and technology to tackle and track not only physical safety and cleanliness on-site at the office, but also, less tangible yet equally important elements of work, like employee productivity, producing answers to questions like, “How will I keep productivity aligned between those employees who decide to stay home either primarily or occasionally, and those that come back to the office full-time?”
Raj Choudhury, a Harvard Business School professor who studies the geography of work recently commented in an interview with Wired, “A hybrid of remote and office work is hard to pull off without disadvantaging people offsite who receive less attention from leadership, while onsite workers can more easily cater to executives and win promotions.” Indeed, many Americans are anxious about remote work reducing their visibility and hindering their career journey. This anxiety towards fully remote work is shared at the executive ranks for differing reasons. As economies reopen, distractions for remote employees will abound, worrying management as they focus on rebuilding their sales pipe and recouping financial losses during the pandemic — meaning that they need their employees to stay more on task than ever.
That’s why simply equipping the workforce with remote work enablement tools like video conferencing and project management is not enough. Executives also need tools to layer on top of these platforms to track productivity in an empirical way, levelling the playing field between remote and in-office workers. This will ensure that both groups are staying consistent both in their daily work and in following new company-wide protocols and procedures around health and safety.
Taking a proactive stance around tracking employee productivity during this challenging time will help management prevent the ‘work from home burnout’ that according to a recent Monster survey, more than half of Americans are feeling during the pandemic. Equally, it will also reduce the risk to organizations of employees perceiving unequal treatment or career advancement opportunities dependent on whether they choose to return to the office or stay at home.
At Domo, we’ve been laser-focused on solving for ‘productivity burnout’ before it stops companies in its tracks. Our recently launched suite of tools like the Zoom Productivity Tracker App, give IT teams and managers the data they need to understand key employee productivity metrics such as collaboration and service usage. On a broader scale, our Productivity Indicators App enables business leaders to understand how the hybrid workforce is staying productive through both digital and physical indicators such as VPN logins, Zoom meetings attended, and building entries. Both are part of our Get Back to Work Command Center, and can be found in the Domo Appstore.
The ability to easily understand productivity metrics such as how many meetings are taking place, how long they last, and how many people participate, empowers business leaders to measure the impact of remote work technologies in a quantitative way. Forward-looking organizations that take advantage of today’s data-driven technologies will not only be better equipped to manage the new virtual/in-office employee workforce and align productivity, but also measure the impact of their technology investments as well. Having a real-time window into the technologies that are being best used and utilized, and those that aren’t getting the job done. The data these apps provide can help business leaders optimize productivity and ultimately, propel enterprise resiliency at a time when businesses need it most.