Simply measuring ’bum-on-seat’ time will no longer suffice in the post-lockdown working world

Enforced home working because of the coronavirus lockdown could see a revolution in how workforce productivity is measured, Insurance Times has heard.

Neil Grimshaw, founding director at broker Ravenshall said that as a small business, his company has been used to seeing people ”with their bum on a seat for seven and a half hours a day”.

”That’s one of the ways by which we judge productivity. And that’s going to change. Managers and owners are going to have to understand what productivity metrics are going to look like going forward”, he said during Insurance Times’s recent Brokers and coronavirus: What challenges will brokers face post-Covid and what role will technology play this year and beyond? webinar, in association with Applied Systems.

A key element is trust, Grimshaw added. ”You need to be able to trust people to do the work they need to do from home.

”But if you can’t trust the people you’ve employed, then you’ve made some wrong decisions in the past before Covid.”

Grimshaw continued by asking how productivity is judged, musing on how this could change as the working world evolves post-Covid. He said: ”Do we shift from hours worked a day to ’is the work done?’ And how do we measure how productive an individual is compared to another?

”It’s going to be a challenge for a small business like ourselves who are used to using our eyes to judge whether or not someone is pulling their weight.”

Productivity boost

Andy Fairchild, chief executive at Applied Systems Europe, said he had seen productivity go up since the lockdown. 

He said that the “new normal” had focused his mind on how output should be measured and how employees should be supported to deliver.

”We have to ensure we also have a focus on employee engagement, wellbeing and mental health”, he added. 

Meanwhile A-Plan chief executive Carl Shuker said: ”Your start point has to be that you trust your teams to do what they need to do and they do it well.

”We’ve got lots of data where we can measure productivity. But our focus is on client outcomes and employee sense of engagement and value.

”If productivity drops, then we are sensing that something is not quite right. 

”We’re using productivity measures not as a ‘big brother’ type tool, but as an indicator that someone who’s performing normally really well is somehow off their game and we need to have a conversation with them. 

”For us it is all about ‘what is the client experiencing?’ and they’ll only have a great experience if our colleagues are delivering a great service.”

You can listen to the webinar in full here: