Much of life is returning to a state reminiscent of pre-pandemic and like you, I am embracing the return to comfort. However, this return to normalcy does not apply to the new and evolving work environment that many of us are facing. During the pandemic, an agreement between employers and employees was almost immediately implicit — working from home was the best option to protect employees while maintaining business operations.
Today, that agreement is not nearly as obvious. Instead, we find ourselves amidst seminars, articles, and focus groups, all grappling with the question of if and how flexible work can be a solution for our business. We are challenged with questions surrounding employee engagement, health, productivity, and culture:
- Will the workforce be able to function the same under new conditions?
- What will happen to productivity across the business?
- Will new distractions arise and to what degree will they have an impact?
- Will there be negative consequences to company culture as a result of people working from home?
- Will managers and leaders be able to understand what’s going on and where people need help?
- Will collaboration and brainstorming still be feasible?
In my quest to better understand the nuances of this issue and these many questions, I identified a major root cause of anxiety that spans industries, companies of all sizes, and working operating models (e.g., hybrid, remote, in office): Over the years, we have grown increasingly unsure of how to best support our teams because our workforce executes nearly all of its work behind a computer screen. Work performed is no longer easily seen and therefore, support needs are not easily or quickly identified.
Whether in-office or at home, we rely on lagging indicators (e.g., engagement surveys, feedback, business results) to inform us that our employees need more or less of something in order to be engaged, healthy and productive. Furthermore, the lagging indicators that we do collect land in the hands of executives, function leaders or HR business partners and, while it is essential to inform these stakeholders, they are seldom the ones that hold the key to implementing the change that teams need. Instead, weeks are spent disseminating information to manager groups and action planning, while employees continue to struggle and circumstances worsen. The issue in its simplified form is this:
Organizations lack essential insight into employee engagement, health, and productivity due to the high volume of digital, unseen work. Managers, those in the position to provide tailored, timely, and relevant support, are often the last to have this insight at their fingertips in order to take action for improvement.
According to experts, front-line managers hold the key to the success of post-pandemic workplaces. They will play several pivotal roles, especially when it comes to the factor of trust. When equipped with the data and insights about their team's work habits they are empowered to address the most pressing issues in our modern work environment (e.g., turnover, burnout, onboarding, and engagement).
This is why, today, I am excited to announce and discuss ActivTrak’s latest product enhancement: ActivTrak Coach, a virtual productivity coach that provides ongoing employee productivity insights and translates them into recommended actions that can empower managers and employees alike. ActivTrak Coach focuses on three metric areas that get to the heart of the pain points commonly associated with unseen digital work, regardless of where it takes place:
- Utilization: Allows managers to understand how team members are allocating their time, see how workload is distributed amongst team members, and identify potential issues like burnout risk which often go unnoticed until it’s too late. The ActivTrak Coach Utilization tab provides specific actions managers can take to help their team maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Who is nearing burnout on your team due to working excessive hours and weekends?
- Who is underutilized as a result of confusion, misalignment, or disengagement?
- Where can work be shifted across team members to better balance workloads?
- Efficiency: The ActivTrak Coach Efficiency tab consolidates data from several different reports and surfaces Coaching Opportunities for team members who may need manager guidance. It helps managers identify and act on areas where team members can improve their productivity efficiency — limiting their total hours behind the screen while maximizing their productive time — thus freeing more time for work/life balance.
- Who needs more guidance so that their work is better aligned to objectives?
- Who may need additional training to complete their work with greater efficiency?
- Focus: Focus time without distractions is important for creative thinking, problem solving, and to complete tasks. The Focus tab in ActivTrak Coach identifies team members who are not able to meet their focus goals and have low focus efficiency due to time spent on multitasking or collaboration activities.
- Who is unable to achieve focus time throughout the week to complete critical work without distractions?
- What are the primary distraction drivers for those who are unable to focus?
Whether at home or in the office, managers no longer need to struggle to understand those things they cannot see. ActivTrak Coach serves up weekly Coaching Opportunities which allow them to have essential coaching discussions that empower their teams and employees. Opportunities that span an entire group lend themselves to team-wide problem solving, while individual issues surface topics for productive 1x1s. The goal of ActivTrak Coach is to remove the guesswork that stems from perception, biases, and manager experience (i.e., managers new to their role often struggle to recognize employees in need of immediate support).
Moreover, coaching may not be limited to managers and their direct reports. HR Professionals now have the opportunity to form specific groups (e.g., high potentials, new hires, etc.) and gain a better understanding of common opportunities that can inform onboarding practices and training offerings.
Here in the ActivTrak Productivity Lab, we deeply appreciate the value of data to better inform us of team and employee productivity insights and thus, the critical actions necessary to empower teams and employees.
But we don’t believe that data complexity should hinder us from making a quick assessment of the opportunities we need to address to ensure our employees are healthy, engaged, and productive.
ActivTrak Coach puts the information in the hands of those who drive immediate change in our work environments to elevate our business performance, while maintaining the healthy culture we deeply value.
Learn more about ActivTrak Coach here.
Already have an ActivTrak account? Your ActivTrak Coach is waiting for you here.
About ActivTrak and The Productivity Lab
ActivTrak helps companies unlock productivity potential. Our award-winning workforce productivity and analytics software provides expert insights that empower people, optimize processes, and maximize technology. With data sourced from more than 9,000 customers and 250,000 users, ActivTrak’s Productivity Lab is a global center for ground-breaking workforce productivity research and expertise that helps companies embrace and embody the future of work.