How To Measure Productivity in the Workplace?

Did you know that disengaged employees cost the US economy a whopping $1.9 trillion lost in productivity a year? 

Productive employees are an asset to any company. They do more in less time, increasing business revenue without expanding the workforce. 

Organizations invest significant time, tools, and resources in measuring employee productivity. This effort doesn’t just help identify high-performing employees and plan bonuses and incentives. It also enables companies to pinpoint bottlenecks and inefficient processes that impact employees’ collective productivity levels.

But first, what is productivity? Is it the number of tasks completed, hours worked, or targets achieved? For most businesses, it’s a mix of all these elements and more.

In this blog post, we’ll explore diverse productivity metrics that businesses can employ to gauge both individual and collective productivity levels among employees.

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Understanding Productivity

Productivity is about getting the most valuable output from the resources you invest. Hence, productivity and economic growth are intricately linked. Business cycles, recessions, and inflation rates greatly impact productivity. For example, recessions can lead to layoffs, which can reduce workforce productivity. 

Similarly, a stable macroeconomic environment improves employee confidence and job security. Your workforce is more likely to focus on its tasks with greater dedication and engagement. Also, since a ‘stable macroeconomic environment’ usually means ‘stable business conditions’, companies maintain consistent operations and avoid cost-cutting measures.

One framework that analyzes the impact of economic conditions on workforce productivity is the Solow Residual, also called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). 

In the Solow Residual framework, ‘productivity’ refers to the unexplained factor in output versus input comparison. This unexplained output growth is attributed to efficiency gains from technological advancements and employee productivity.

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What Factors Impact Productivity

Here are some common factors that impact employee productivity:

  • Team dynamics: Strained relationships between teammates and managers can lead to conflicts and decreased morale, ultimately hindering productivity levels within the team 
  • Organizational processes: Inefficient workflows and cumbersome processes can also result in errors and delays, leaving employees frustrated and reducing their productivity
  • Communication: Another factor that can hinder productivity levels is poor communication practices such as unclear directives, micromanaging, or frequent meetings that eat into the workday
  • Technological infrastructure: Not having the right equipment and software can also make a big difference. Outdated computers, slow internet, or inadequate software can negatively impact efficiency
  • Workload: Unrealistic deadlines and insufficient resources are other important elements that impact not only an employee’s productivity levels but also their overall wellbeing 

Productivity is a function of so many interlinked factors. Thus, measuring the right level of productivity becomes important for an organization serious about improving its processes and keeping its workforce healthy and happy. 

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How to Measure Productivity

There are various methods and frameworks to quantify productivity. These productivity measurements take into account multiple elements, metrics, and fundamental formulas to arrive at a measure of how productive each employee, department, and function in the organization is (and if there’s a scope for improvement in the numbers). 

The different levels of productivity measurement

To measure productivity in a company, you have different layers to consider—from individual employees to the whole organization. Each layer gives you a different view of company operations, such as one person’s output, team results, or overall company performance. 

Individuals

Personal productivity reports are a great way to analyze individual efficiency. Thankfully, most project management or productivity tools provide built-in reports about an individual’s performance and productivity.

For example, the ClickUp Personal Productivity Report Template allows employees to track their time on various weekly and monthly tasks.

Enable employees to gauge their performance levels with the ClickUp Personal Productivity Report Template

The template shows data such as:

  • How much time does an employee spend on tasks of different priority levels
  • How they can improve their performance levels and work faster
  • The overall progress they made toward their goals or targets

Individuals can also use custom attributes such as Billing, Task Type, Progress, and Lead Time to store important task details and visualize their productivity data more granularly.

Teams

Productivity measurement for teams starts by aligning individual efforts with shared goals.  This involves setting clear and measurable targets for the team and tracking progress toward achieving them. This ensures that team members work toward common objectives and enables performance evaluation based on collective goal attainment.

This can translate to goals like the number of qualified leads for marketing teams and revenue per user for sales teams. Here, too, you can leverage the goal-tracking features of your project management tool. 

ClickUp Goals
Set specific, time-bound goals for each team or department and monitor your progress with ClickUp Goals

With ClickUp Goals, for instance, you can set different types of targets to measure progress and productivity, such as:

  • Number targets: To track how many qualified leads were generated in a month
  • Yes/no targets: To check if a feature or bug fix went live as planned
  • Task targets: To count how many support tickets a customer service agent closes every week

By setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals and regularly tracking progress toward them, you can effectively gauge your team’s collective productivity and ensure that you meet your targets every week, month, and quarter.

Organizations

Most organizations determine their productivity index by examining numbers such as revenue growth rates, profit margins, and return on investment (ROI). 

In this case, different departments, such as marketing, sales, and customer success, align and work toward a few strategic goals, such as lead generation, customer engagement, and annual recurring revenue (ARR). 

Here are two ways to measure your org-wide productivity rate:

  • Revenue per employee: Simply divide your total revenue by the total number of employees to find your revenue per employee. So if you have 20 employees and your revenue is $100,000 for one week, each employee would be generating $5000 on average
  • Team effectiveness ratio: First, calculate your gross profit (revenue minus all your expenses). Then, divide the profit by your employee payroll costs. If your gross profit is $50,000 and the total investment in your employees is $5000, then your team effectiveness ratio is 10:1

The good thing about the team effectiveness ratio is that you don’t have to just stick to revenue or profits. You can also use other performance metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and sprint completion rate. 

The three formulas to measure productivity

Here are some common formulas that can measure the productivity index for different industries.

1. Labor productivity

This is the simplest of all formulas—all you have to do is divide your output by your input

If a manufacturing company produces 1,000 units of a product in a week, it takes 100 hours of labor to produce them. Then productivity would be 1,000/100 which is 10 units per hour. 

2. Goal-based calculation

This approach focuses on evaluating performance relative to predefined goals or targets. Here, it clearly indicates whether a particular goal has been met, exceeded, or failed. You can then reevaluate your strategy and plan for future success. 

For example, if your goal is to increase monthly revenue by 20%, your productivity rate is measured by whether you:

  • Achieved that goal and increased your revenue by 20% (100% productivity rate)
  • Exceeded it and increased your revenue by 25% (125% productivity rate)
  • Fell short and increased your revenue by 15% (75% productivity rate)

3. 360-level feedback

In this method, you gather feedback from various sources, such as peers, supervisors, clients, and employees, to comprehensively assess an individual or team’s performance.

You can collect feedback through surveys and interviews, or by scoring an individual or team against pre-defined criteria. Unlike the other two methods, 360-degree feedback is more qualitative than quantitative and can give you more nuanced input about how an individual or team performs.

Calculating productivity and efficiency

Productivity is often used interchangeably with efficiency, but the two differ when used in specific contexts. 

  • Productivity analyzes the relationship between output and input—the quantity or quality of output generated per unit of input. So, the formula would be a measure of Output / Input 
  • Efficiency, on the other hand, assesses how well resources are utilized to achieve desired outcomes. So the formula would be a measure of  (Output / Input) x 100%

While both metrics are important for organizational performance, they provide different perspectives on operational effectiveness. 

Measuring productivity: Real-world examples

Here’s how you can measure productivity for different industries:

  • Manufacturing: Tracking units produced per hour on an assembly line
  • Service: Counting customer calls handled per agent per day in a call center
  • Retail: Calculating sales revenue per employee in a retail store
  • Technology: Measuring new features shipped in every sprint cycle
  • Hospitality: Measuring room occupancy rate or revenue per available room in a hotel

Here are some KPIs that you can use for different teams or job roles:

  • Marketing: Inbound leads, website visits, ad conversions
  • Sales: New accounts, revenue generated, conversion rate
  • Product and engineering: New features, hotfixes, time to market
  • Customer success: NPS score, number of replies, customer reviews

Finally, when measuring productivity, ensure that you don’t over-emphasize any one factor—be it individual over team or quantity over quality. It’s not just about the numbers; you’ve got to factor in quality, context, and other nuances. 

Measuring productivity involves using a mix of quantitative and qualitative metrics, setting realistic goals, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. 

It’s equally important to measure productivity for your remote teams.

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Measuring Productivity in Remote Work

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by technological advancements—Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Virtual Reality (VR), and automation—has fundamentally changed how we work.

Not only are companies jumping on the hybrid and remote work bandwagon, but they’re also constantly teaming up with contractors, agencies, and freelancers. This globally spread-out workforce makes it a real hassle to employ correct productivity measures.

Here’s where workspace management and productivity tracking tools like ClickUp come into play. With a comprehensive suite of tools—project management, internal communication, docs, and even automations—ClickUp can help organizations track both individual and team productivity. 

Plus, its async and real-time communication tools, automation capabilities, and more can help streamline communications and reduce busy work. Here’s how:

Stay on track with projects

With ClickUp, you can set up separate projects (with tasks, subtasks, and action items), assign them to team members, and discuss status updates in one place. Plus, you can use the ClickUp Board View to organize (and drag-and-drop tasks) to update their status quickly. 

ClickUp Board View
Organize your tasks in a Kanban Board and get a bird’s-eye view of your tasks and their progress

Measure productivity by assigning Sprint Points and priority levels for each task or action item in ClickUp. This can help you quantify the work each employee (and team) completes in each sprint cycle. 

ClickUp Task View
Measure your team’s productivity by assigning sprint points for each task

As an added benefit, sprint points can also help you estimate the time and effort required to complete each task, ensuring you allot tasks efficiently without overburdening your team. 

Measure progress performance charts

Another great way to measure your productivity is by setting goals for each sprint or project. ClickUp gives you access to many performance reports that can analyze the progress of your team, identify bottlenecks, and modify your productivity plans. Some charts include:

  • Burnup and burndown charts: This shows you the amount of work completed and what’s remaining
  • Cumulative flow: These diagrams help you visualize how your tasks progress through different stages, such as backlog, in-progress, and testing, so you can identify how long tasks spend in each stage
  • Velocity: This shows you how long employees take to complete a task on average so you can plan future sprints better
ClickUp Velocity Charts
Compare forecasts with the actual time taken using velocity charts in ClickUp to understand your team’s performance across multiple sprints 

Calculate productivity with time tracking

We’ve seen that the simplest way to track productivity is input vs. output. For knowledge workers, this is the time spent on a task vs. the tasks completed. 

If you have freelancers or part-time employees who are paid by the hour, you can use time-tracking software to get an idea of their billable hours.

ClickUp, for example, provides a built-in time-tracking feature that allows individual employees to add time entries for each task along with a note describing what they did. 

ClickUp Time Tracking Feature
Generate timesheets for each employee and understand how they spend their time throughout the week or sprint cycle

Managers can access individual employees’ timesheets and evaluate their productivity and performance levels. They can also use cumulative time tracking to understand how much time each team member takes for different task groups.

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Measure Your Team’s Productivity with ClickUp

Upping your team’s productivity levels is important to hit your targets and increase your company’s revenue and profitability rate. Prioritizing productivity measurement is essential for driving growth, innovation, and success. 

If you’re part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we recommend trying ClickUp. Not only does it help you track the individual and collective productivity levels at your organization, but it also comes with a set of tools that can enhance your team’s productivity

Don’t believe us? This is what a ClickUp customer has to say:

Your agency is missing out on so much productivity if you are not using ClickUp! Without Clickup, I would have to hire 3 more people to get the same things done.

Ravi Tharuma, CEO & Founder, LAVA

Your team can reduce repetitive work with ClickUp’s workflow automations, find information quickly with ClickUp Brain (its genAI assistant), and streamline communication with video clips, chats, and whiteboards.

Simply put, you get an all-in-one tool that both increases productivity and measures it so you can continuously improve. 

Sign up for ClickUp free today and explore how it can help you monitor your company’s productivity trends.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the best measurement of productivity?

While there’s no single best way to measure productivity, project-specific KPIs can prove useful. They provide clear data points that track progress toward specific goals. Plus, they can be customized for different departments, such as development, marketing, and sales. 

2. How do you calculate productivity?

The simplest way to calculate productivity is to divide the output produced by the total input used.

For example, if a sales representative makes 20 customer calls in 5 hours, their productivity is:

20 calls / 5 hours = 2 calls per hour

3. What are the three measures of productivity?

The three common measures of productivity are:

  1. Output per input: Calculate the total output (goods or services produced) divided by the total input (resources used, like labor hours or capital invested)
  2. Goals: Track progress towards specific productivity goals to see if resources are used effectively
  3. Time: Measure how long tasks take (e.g., cycle time) to identify workflow bottlenecks

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