6 Ways Workforce Productivity Software Helps Employees

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As we have been talking about ad nauseam since March: Oh, the times, they are a-changin’. Work environments have shifted from spacious desks with an office printer and shared coffee pot to living rooms, guest rooms, and kitchen tables. It has been a hard adjustment, particularly when we’re feeling out of touch with our coworkers, managers, and employees.

Maybe there has been a spike in after-hours emails from direct reports, but upper management isn’t quite convinced the team needs reinforcements. Maybe you’re the one sending those emails at all hours and hoping that management recognizes you’ve never stopped working since shifting to remote work. Good news: Workforce productivity software provides much-needed visibility into working habits, including burnout.

Workforce productivity software isn’t a tool that lets upper management peek at your Spotify activity or see whether you’re checking your personal email during the day. It’s a great ally for employees, particularly right now, when they need to be their own advocates from the IKEA desks in their bedrooms.

First things first: What can workforce productivity software see on work computers? The simple answer is, “It depends.” Generally speaking, the software collects and categorizes user activity data to provide visibility into how work gets done. This data can help teams and managers understand where people are spending time, what apps are used most (and least), how much time is spent in meetings, and more.

Workforce productivity software has come a long way, especially in the past few months. Instead of simply being the subjects of management observation, employees can now analyze and manage their own productivity, work toward predetermined goals, and ensure they are communicating and working efficiently with their teams.

That’s where workforce productivity software like ActivTrak comes in handy, helping you in these six ways:

1. Discover When You Are Most Productive

Some people work a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, while others may find themselves taking advantage of quiet time before the kids get up for school, hitting their stride right after the second coffee break of the day, or getting through emails before bedtime. When we’re aware of our most productive times of day, it’s easier to accomplish more work in less time.

User Productivity by Time of Day report in ActivConnect, an add-on to the ActivTrak Advanced plan.

In addition to hours, you can also learn which days of the week you’re most productive. We all know that Monday mornings are tough, but do you actually know your most and least productive days of the week? Viewing productivity trend reports can help you better manage your tasks and projects by allowing you to optimize your work schedule based on the facts.

2. Prevent Burnout With a Balanced Workload

It’s hard to completely avoid periods of exhaustion; they can happen at any given time or point in your career. Employee burnout is costly for your employer. According to Gallup, employee disengagement results in 37 percent higher absenteeism, an 18 percent reduction in productivity, and a 15 percent decrease in overall organizational profitability. In a study focused on doctors, researchers found that doctors with burnout had more than double the likelihood of self-reported medical errors. The bottom line: Employee burnout is an issue no organization can afford to ignore.

Your boss may have no idea that you’ve been working 60-hour weeks, and you may struggle to prove your workload is unmanageable. With workforce productivity software, managers can more easily understand when you or your team needs support, better prioritization, or additional resources. You can let the data speak for itself and get the help you need to rebalance.

The ActivTrak Burnout Risk dashboard in ActivConnect.

3. Reduce Busy Work and Get Time Back in Your Day

It can be frustrating to feel like management doesn’t know what you are dealing with on the front lines. Some teams have daily check-ins, others might touch base weekly, and some only circle back when they have specific deliverables to discuss. Still, we’ve all fallen victim to never-ending meetings that suck up our days — those meetings that make you wonder, “Could this have been an email instead?”

The ActivTrak Top Categories report.

With workforce productivity software, you can pinpoint where all your time is going and whether those activities help or hurt your progress on tasks and projects. For example, if you regularly find it hard to execute tasks and projects because you spend too much time in meetings, you can view the actual breakdown of how your time is spent and work with your manager to reduce the number of meetings you are required to attend.

4. Gain Approval for the Tools You Need

Have you ever found yourself spending hours on manual, repetitive tasks that cause delays for your other work? Has it been hard to explain to management why you need a new tool that is going to add an additional expense to the budget? Workforce productivity software will help you make a strong business case.

For example, you can prove how many hours you and other team members are spending on menial, repetitive tasks using actual user activity data. If more specialized work is suffering or delayed because of this, you can quickly create a cost-benefit analysis to prove the ROI of a new tool you need.

The ActivTrak Top Applications dashboard.

When your manager can understand how much you rely on tools and software to do your job efficiently and effectively, they’re more likely to invest money into those tools and software. For instance, if you’re spending more time on Slack than email, your company may consider a premium Slack account to allow more file sharing. Maybe you work in marketing and are spending significant time manually checking your company’s social media accounts to respond to comments; software can help automate that. Workforce productivity software can help solve those inefficient workflows to reduce frustration, save you time, and improve your productivity.

5. Access Flexible and Remote Work Opportunities

Much of the world worked remotely for most of 2020. Adding workforce productivity software to your team’s tech stack could make working from home a permanent solution.

According to an April 2020 study by Gartner, 74 percent of companies plan to stick with remote work permanently, even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. Workforce productivity software gives employers the confidence to allow their employees to work from anywhere, breaking down in-office schedule constraints that limit travel opportunities, family time, and social time while requiring costly and stressful commutes.

The ActivTrak Productivity Report.

With robust remote workforce productivity software like ActivTrak, you can prove that you’re being productive while away from the office. That helps managers and employers embrace remote work, reducing the chance you’ll ever have to sit in weekday traffic ever again.

6. Get Recognized for Your Efforts

Just because someone is the first one online (or in the office) every day doesn’t mean they are actually more productive than others. A huge benefit of workforce productivity software for employees is the ability for managers to understand how efficient individuals and teams are with their time. It’s not the quantity of work time that matters but the quality of work delivered. Workforce productivity software provides a more objective, data-driven way for managers to assess effort and focus.

With data derived from workforce productivity software like ActivTrak, you are able to accurately prove your value by highlighting your productivity, instances where you’ve gone above and beyond, and additional progress you’ve made in your role.

A Win-Win for Management and Employees

By leveraging workforce productivity software, employers and employees can create more productive and enjoyable workplaces. With actual data at their disposal, it becomes easier for employees to optimize their work schedules based on their unique productivity patterns, eliminate unnecessary meetings or inefficient processes, get the tools they need to do their jobs well, balance workloads to prevent burnout, and move up in their organizations and careers.

When managers cultivate workplaces based on what works and focus on improving what’s not, employee churn is reduced. That means the company doesn’t have to go through a costly search to backfill that role. The business as a whole flourishes. That’s a win-win in our book.

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ActivTrak is a workforce productivity and analytics software company that helps teams understand how people work, whether in the office or remotely. Our cloud-based user activity monitoring platform collects and analyzes data and provides insights that help mid-market enterprises be more productive and compliant. With more than 6,500 customers and over 100,000 users of our free version, ActivTrak's award-winning solution can be configured in minutes to provide immediate visibility and analysis.