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How to Measure Productivity of Employees, Students, Service Industry, and Remote Workers

Nov 8, 2022

The definition of productivity is simply how well a machine, factory, or person turns inputs into valuable outputs. To determine how productive a business is, you divide the average output per period by the costs or resources used in that period, such as the number of employees. Productivity = Output/Cost. If the productivity is high, the business is going to do well. If it’s low, you’re going to start worrying how long it will keep its doors open.

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Table of Contents

Why Is It Important To Measure Productivity?

It is essential to measure productivity -

  • To gauge the efficiency of the system
  • To make productive decisions
  • To make sure the target is being achieved
  • To keep the system up and running
  • To keep a good image

Methods Of Measuring Productivity

There are several ways to measure productivity:

  • By Objectives
  • By Quantity
  • By Profit
  • By Review
  • By Comparison

Measuring Productivity By Objectives

In this way of figuring out how productive you are, you compare what you have achieved with what you planned to achieve.

For instance, if you assigned two short books to your student to read and he only finished one of those books, then his productivity is 50%. Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to give the student a failing grade right away — maybe your assignment was unrealistic and no student managed to complete it. Any measure of productivity should be coupled with a discussion to understand why it is high or low.

Measuring Productivity By Quantity

When using quantity to measure productivity, you would compare the output and input ratio to a set standard.

For example, maybe the average help desk agent in your company can answer 20 tickets per day. A superstar agent answers 30 tickets per day and is 150% productive whereas a new star can only manage 10 tickets per day and has a lower productivity.

The obvious point here is that you have to be careful about how you measure productivity because metrics will be gamed. If you reward staff based on how quickly they respond to a ticket without regard to any other factor, then they’ll start replying very quickly to tickets along the lines of “Thanks for your email. Your email is important to us and we’ll get back to you very soon.” If the follow up email takes days to arrive, then customers aren’t going to be very happy. You’ll want to pair a quantity metric with a quality metric (e.g. get a senior agent to randomly review a sample of tickets each day and give them a score from 0–10) to make sure the right behaviours get rewarded.

Measuring Productivity By Profit

This is very simple and clear.

For this method, you look at your profit margin to determine how productive you are.

When profit goes up, it means productivity has increased, and when it goes down, productivity has dropped.

An employer would consider the amount of revenue that the employee generates compared to the total cost incurred, including the salary.

It’s important to take a long term view here. An unethical salesperson might generate short term profits for the organisation by making unrealistic promises about product development. In the mid to long term, this behaviour harms the profitability of the company.

Measuring Productivity By Review

Reviews from people can also be used to measure productivity.

The productivity of employees in the service industry can be measured through this method. You can set up a tablet for customers to submit reviews as they walk out of your premises. It’s possible to configure a system where customers scan their receipt so they can leave feedback about the person who served them.

A positive review is a vote of confidence, while a negative review shows the need for changes.

The more positive reviews you have, the more it can be said that you’re productive.

Measuring Productivity By Comparison

You can also determine your productivity by looking at how you compare to your competitors.

If, for example, two companies in the same industry have the same capacity, but one makes 5 T-shirts while the other makes 10 T-shirts per day, it shows they do not have the same level of productivity.

The more T-shirts produced per day by one over the other shows how productive they are. It’s difficult to find data about individual competitors but you can generally find anonymous industry benchmarks.

Practical Steps To Measuring Productivity

  • Establish a clear goal
  • Set a time frame
  • Score their productivity
  • Ask for reviews from customers
  • Gather the result
  • Interpret the result
  • Make recommendations
  • Repeat the process

Establish A Clear Goal

The first step in measuring productivity is to establish a clear goal. This could be a production goal, a specific assignment done on time, increased sales or profits, or a zero negative customer review target. This is important because it allows you to judge your productivity by a set standard.

Set A Time Frame

Setting a time frame for reaching the goal is essential now that you have determined the standard for measuring productivity. Without a time limit, it’s easy for people to coast.

Score Their Productivity

Score their closeness toward the goals at the time interval you’ve set. Compare what was done to what you had planned.

Ask For Reviews From Customers

This is a significant step for people who work in customer service. Ask your customers how your staff is doing. Your customers are the ones being served and would be happy to talk about what they liked and wished would change.

Gather The Result

The tool you use will depend on the size of the data you’re working with. When analyzing a lot of data, you’ll need to put the data you’ve gathered from different sources into an Excel sheet or another data analysis tool.

Interpret The Result

At this point; you can make a decision based on the results gathered. If you have a lot of data, you may want to make graphs because they are easy to understand and suitable for comparison.

Make Recommendations

You’ll be able to make recommendations once you know the areas you’re doing well and what you need to improve.

Focus on your goal, so any change you make should help you achieve it.

Repeat The Process

Productivity measurement is excellent and should be done as soon as possible.

You can set a time after which you will repeat the steps above to maintain a good productivity level.

How To Measure The Productivity Of Employees

  • Establish a goal that could be a production target.
  • Set a time frame for achieving the task. You can block time on your calendar or time-blocking apps.
  • Score their productivity based on how they achieve the target.
  • Gather the result of members in the same department and those of different departments to see how they compare with each other.
  • Interpret the result to understand why they are not performing well. Could it be that it is general and because of the working environment you created, or is it just an individual that needs to be adjusted or would be replaced?
  • Make Recommendations based on the interpretation you gave.
  • Repeat the process at an interval to get the best result.

How To Measure The Productivity Of Students

  • Establish a schedule of topics to be covered.
  • Set a time frame within which the topics would be covered and the time for each topic. You can block time on your calendar or use time-blocking apps.
  • Score their productivity by conducting tests and giving assignments to determine the strength of different students on various topics.
  • Gather the result from the test and assignments.
  • Interpret the result to understand the reason behind a poor outcome. Could it be because the student is not attentive or not interested in the class?
  • Make Recommendations by encouraging the student to be more attentive or recommending another subject that you think the student may love to focus on.
  • Repeat the above process at intervals.

How To Measure Productivity In The Service Industry

  • Establish a goal which could be Zero negative customer reviews.
  • Set a time frame for auditing.
  • Ask for reviews from customers through physical interviews, questionnaires, or any other feedback mechanism.
  • Gather the result from customer feedback.
  • Interpret the result.
  • Make Recommendations.
  • Repeat the process.

How To Measure Your Productivity While Working At Home

  • Establish a goal, such as completing a writing task, finishing a painting job, etc.
  • Set a time frame for you to complete the task. You can block time on your calendar or time-blocking apps. is great for regulating your activity.
  • Score your productivity.
  • Interpret the result by analyzing why you could not meet your target.
  • Make Recommendations and adjust as required.
  • Repeat the process.

If you need help measuring your productivity, Focus Bear can help you track how many deep work blocks you complete each day.

Nov 8, 2022

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