Beginning in September, Google employees will split their time at work, spending at least three days a week in the office and the remainder of the work week working from home. Microsoft and Ford have also signaled their intention to implement hybrid working models. Other, smaller businesses are sure to follow these examples. Spoiler alert: the future of work is hybrid.
We know that hybrid or flexible work models combine the traditional in-office work models with the remote working strategies used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s clear that workers and businesses want to combine the flexibility of remote work with the cultural benefits of in-office collaboration. In fact, an informal survey of nearly 200 IT professionals revealed that 83% reported their businesses will adopt hybrid work models in 2021.
But it can be hard to determine which employees are best suited for hybrid work and which are better off fully in the office or remote. A successful hybrid work policy requires a thorough understanding of the digital experience for employees across the hybrid work spectrum. In Volume 8 of the Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker we compared a week in the life of employees along this spectrum by examining the application performance of an employee working exclusively at home, one working exclusively in the office, and two who split their time between office and remote. But application performance is just one piece of the puzzle, this blog dives into some of the KPIs that should be considered when planning and measuring your hybrid work policies.
What Should You Measure to Understand Hybrid Work?
Were you measuring productivity for remote work in 2020? If you were, there is good news: you can continue to do the same for your hybrid workplace. Because hybrid workers will spend a portion of their time working remotely, many of the same principles apply.
If tracking KPIs for remote work is new, or if you now need to measure the connectivity of business critical applications, review these four key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you efficiently measure the effectiveness of your hybrid work conditions.
1. Capture Baseline Connectivity
Your first KPI for hybrid workers is connectivity. Connectivity is one of the biggest headaches for IT when it comes to supporting hybrid or remote workforces. This is primarily because there are several factors that affect connectivity that are beyond IT control, such as:
- Home Wi-Fi performance
- Where the employee is working (too far from the access point or there are walls or bookcases between the employee’s laptop and the modem)
- Network connectivity via the internet service provider.
To combat these challenges, implement tools to track and measure connectivity to understand the worker’s digital experience. Measuring and establishing a common baseline for efficient internet performance helps determine how performant workers can be given their connection speed. Gaining this insight is the first step to determining digital experience.
2. Measure for Equitable Device Performance
The sixth volume of Aternity’s Remote Work Productivity Tracker revealed that many businesses upgraded legacy employee devices to new generations during 2020. In fact, there was a 13.7% increase in 8th generation and higher devices. This makes sense; most employees now use laptops instead of desktops, and this trend will continue as organizations pursue a hybrid model.
Determining which devices best support hybrid work requires measuring your current device performance and comparing baselines across the employee ecosystem. To ensure performance is consistent and equitable for both remote and in-office work, it’s critical that, at a minimum, your digital experience management (DEM) solution allows you to measure CPU usage, memory and battery performance.
3. Demonstrate Work Impact with Productivity Measures
Measuring worker productivity reveals how effectively employees are adjusting to hybrid work. This KPI requires your DEM measures employee work volume and worker usage. Work volume is the number and size of files employees produce, while worker usage refers to the time spent within business critical applications. Combined, the volume and usage create a productivity index number that demonstrates any long-term impact the shift to hybrid work may have on workers.
For example, Aternity found that as US workers adjusted to fully remote work between March and July 2020, there was a 14% decrease in US employee output. But by December 2020, productivity was higher than it had been in March.
It certainly begs the question regarding the productivity output we’ll see around the shift to hybrid work. Returning to the commute and long-missed social interactions will certainly affect worker performance, but it will be important to demonstrate any productivity losses are not the result of poor connectivity or outdated devices.
4. Understand Application Performance to Assure Satisfaction
User experience should be measured by any application crashes, hangs or errors. Whether the employee is at home, in the office, or wherever they choose to be to get their work done, applications are critical to their performance and productivity. Without the right monitoring solution in place, keeping track of every employee—including their respective levels of engagement or satisfaction—becomes impossible.
Application performance monitoring (APM) is critical in every work environment. To perform their work, employees rely on a broad portfolio of thick client, web and mobile applications running on multiple devices. As hybrid working models are instituted, you should monitor the performance of all high-use applications, quickly addressing anomalous or slow response times. By tracking applications daily, you can better understand and maintain hybrid working satisfaction.
Additionally, for hybrid workers, their business critical application activities are the ultimate measure of productivity. Ensuring that an application performs consistently between office and home helps workers remain productive and engaged. Some business critical applications, such as CAD drawing tools, are very data intensive and not architected to perform over home Wi-Fi connections. In these instances, you’ll want to work with the employee to find an appropriate solution–such as scheduling more in-office work time or finding remote-friendly alternatives.
Elevating the End-User Experience
With an end-user experience monitoring solution like Aternity, you can gain better visibility to proactively manage the experience of your hybrid workforce. In addition to measuring connectivity, device performance and worker productivity, Aternity helps you understand the most critical KPI for hybrid work: application performance. Gaining this insight equips you with the knowledge to understand what users actually see when any application renders on their device.
By correlating connectivity, device health, worker productivity and application performance patterns, your service desk can elevate the end-user experience across your hybrid workforce and remediate common issues automatically. This is how Aternity has been supporting some of the world’s largest employers throughout the shift to fully remote work. Now we’re helping those same companies implement and continually improve their hybrid work environments.
In Volume 8 of The Aternity Remote Work Productivity Tracker we examine the digital experience and productivity of employees along the post-pandemic workplace spectrum and provide recommendations for enterprises planning the shift to a hybrid workforce. Download the report today: The Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker – Volume 8: Hybrid Work Productivity – A Digital Experience Decision-Making Guide