You’ve probably heard how employees can be just as productive at home than in the office. While some insist employees aren’t productive remotely, studies have shown people can often get more done in the home office.

There are a number of theories about why either environment would be better or worse for productivity. At the workplace, your employees often have access to all the tools they need, and there are fewer distractions. Yet the comfort of home and more flexible scheduling seems to boost productivity when employees work remotely.

As almost everyone has shifted to remote work in recent months, you’ve had the opportunity to put this to the test. Are your employees really more productive when they work from home or when they’re in the office? To know the answer, you need to get some hard numbers. Luckily, your human resources information system is here to help.

How to Measure Productivity

Before you begin the comparison of home versus workplace productivity, you’ll need to figure out how you want to measure productivity. How do you define productivity? Does it mean how many hours someone logs, or does it mean the number of tasks they complete?

You may want to record data for both and create a metric such as average tasks per hour or something similar.

There are other ways to measure productivity. For your sales team, you might measure the number of leads they contact every shift. You could consider how many deals they actually manage to close as a measure of productivity.

Defining productivity and deciding how to measure it are key to ensuring you collect the right data.

Collecting the Data with Your HRIS

Once you’ve defined productivity, you’ll need to collect the data itself. There are a few ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to use your human resources information system.

The HRIS can collect data on employee productivity, such as how many hours they’ve worked. It can also track time on various projects or tasks.

Many HR managers use this feature to track progress towards project or task completion. They may also use this information to schedule future projects by estimating timelines. If you’re tracking hours or shifts, you might also be using this information to help prepare payroll.

These aren’t the only uses for this data. With these datasets, you can monitor individual employee productivity. How much is any single person getting done, and how long is it taking them?

Mapping Patterns in the Data

From here, you can use the HRIS data to examine individual employee patterns. Maybe someone is incredibly productive on Tuesdays, or maybe they’ve become more productive week over week for the last little while.

You could also see where employees are struggling. There may be particular tasks they finish quite quickly, while others take them much longer. Pinpointing these issues can help you open the conversation about what your team members need to complete their jobs efficiently. It could mean they need more training or they’re missing some key technology.

You can also use this data to determine when or where someone is more productive. Do they work best early in the morning or late at night? You might also discover the differences between how they work when they’re in the office versus how they’re working at home.

From there, you can compare all the data about employees working remotely versus those working in the office. You might discover that, in general, some types of employees work better at the office, while others excel when they’re at home. Maybe some tasks are easy to complete from the home office, while others require use of equipment or systems only available in the workplace.

Getting this big picture of where, when, and who is most productive gives you the chance to better support your team, no matter what they’re working on or where they’re working.