Not all hours of the day are equal when it comes to productive work. (There may be some coffee infusion involved, but let’s put that aside for the moment.)
Some people are morning types who thrive on getting up early, jumping out of bed, and starting on work right away. Some people are night owls who struggle through the morning and daytime hours but produce quality work when burning the midnight oil. Then there are those who are better suited to a traditional 9-5 schedule, experiencing their own peaks and valleys throughout the work day.
Whatever your most productive hours are, you do have them, and they are usually pretty consistent each day. Pinpointing them and optimizing your schedule accordingly can boost your output and overall success.
With the recent surge in employees working from home, many organizations have relaxed a bit on employee schedules. Instead of mandating uniform working hours, many managers are allowing for more flexibility. With everyone at home, employees must now find ways to balance their personal lives with their workloads — not to mention the task of navigating the new dynamics of working from home alongside roommates or family members.
What could feel like a burden is actually an opportunity for millions of working professionals to finally work at the times when they feel most alert, inspired, and productive. At the same time, however, managers need more visibility into how productive their remote employees are and how they can help these employees be optimally productive in this new work environment.
All of this opens up some key questions:
As an individual …
• How do you know which hours are your most productive?
• How do you measure productivity and make the best use of your time?
• How do you optimize your schedule around these peak performance hours?
As a manager …
• Do you know which team members are most productive and when?
• How do you measure overall team productivity and engagement?
• Where do you need to make adjustments and optimize for success?
There is a way for managers and their teams to answer these questions. You can identify productivity power hours and take steps to optimize schedules with user activity data. Using ActivTrak’s Data Connect will give you a unique level of business intelligence in the areas of individual and team productivity.
You can access productivity trends by specific users or roles, including productive hours per day and most productive times during each day of the week, via a focus score. Focus scores gauge times when users are least distracted and doing less switching between work applications. You can also compare productivity patterns by team, office locations, remote employees, or outside contractors to identify other ways to optimize your resources.
Focus scores can also be used to determine benchmarks of team productivity. Learn where work time is spent; uncover gaps in productivity; and view comparisons by individuals, groups, or teams. Analyze productivity and focus metrics for different users and benchmark the team averages.
View a personal weekly summary for each individual to compare trends across time horizons and activities. Managers and individuals can understand key activity and productivity metrics, including which apps or tools are being used and whether that usage translates to productivity. Measure progress with quantitative data over time or against team averages. Use the data insights as coaching opportunities to celebrate achievements or discuss areas for improvement.
Measure activity performed after hours and during weekends to identify employees who may be working too many hours. This can help identify those who are at risk for burnout, and it can help managers become aware of unbalanced workloads across teams and make adjustments. View productivity by weekly trends, in aggregate across teams, or in a heat map grid for quick comparison of each individual team member.
Leveraging these kinds of insights can help you discover your team’s most productive hours, helping you analyze trends and make refinements to better optimize your teams for success.
Sharing these insights with individual employees and teams helps them truly understand their most productive times instead of just relying on hunches. Most employees want to be productive. They want to work on deep projects, solve problems, and strategize effectively. Working smarter, not harder, is a win-win for the organization and the employee. Scheduling specific activities or tasks during times that have proven to be more optimal for focused effort improves quality and success. To the extent your work environment allows, protecting peak times from interruptions and other distractions such as ad-hoc meetings can help productivity tremendously.
Keep in mind that some productivity valleys are just a body’s natural way of saying, “Hey, take a break.” You shouldn’t expect to eliminate all of your energy dips. However, being aware of them and working during your power hours makes a day more productive and enjoyable.
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