Different screens showing charts used to track productivity

Track team productivity with care

The right productivity tracking tools and strategies can take your team’s performance to a new level

El equipo de Slack18 de abril de 2024

Employee productivity is an evolving concept, especially for remote and hybrid companies. The productivity tracking tools and strategies we once used in shared office spaces simply don’t work for most remote-friendly teams.

But with 71% of business leaders reporting immense pressure from management to make their teams more productive, according to Slack’s 2023 State of Work report, productivity tracking is top of mind for many team leaders. Executives can use productivity metrics to enforce accountability, identify patterns and challenges, and make targeted improvements.

Let’s explore how employee productivity tracking looks in the modern workplace.

What is productivity tracking?

Productivity tracking tools and methods capture employees’ work activities—including tasks completed, time spent on each task and overall efficiency—and turn these activities into data for analysis.

Team leaders might use productivity insights to adjust employee responsibilities, tweak processes, and gauge the need for automated workflows and other supportive tools. For example, since productivity is often linked to employee morale and satisfaction, a dip in productivity metrics could indicate deeper issues in team structure, dynamics or processes.

The evolution of productivity tracking tools

Most remote-friendly workplaces have left behind old productivity tracking systems, such as paper timesheets and activity logs. And you can’t exactly walk over to an employee’s desk to see what they’re working on when the employee is working from their home office three states away. So how can remote and hybrid team leaders keep track of employee progress?

Many organizations—about 60% of companies, according to research by Gartner—turn to productivity tracking software as a modern solution.

Web-based applications on employees’ computers and mobile devices can monitor their work hours, keep tabs on their tasks, and identify where they’re located during work. Some software even records employees’ device screens, takes pictures of their faces, and follows their smartphone data to ensure they’re fulfilling responsibilities.

A 2023 study by StandOut CV found that:

  • 8% of productivity tracking tools use audio monitoring
  • 38% of these tools use video recording and monitoring
  • At least 38% of employees who have monitoring software on their work computers do not know it’s active because of “stealth mode”
  • More than 1 in 4 employer-managed surveillance tools allow employers to remotely access their employees’ devices

If you think these tracking methods sound invasive, you’re not alone. Many remote workers feel that productivity tracking software goes too far, especially since these employees often work from their private homes.

Key metrics for tracking productivity

When it comes to productivity metrics, business leaders and their employees aren’t always on the same page. When the State of Work report asked desk workers how they preferred to be evaluated for productivity, the largest share (27%) said key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals should be the most important metrics. When asked the same question, the largest share of executives (also 27%) said it was best to measure productivity based on employees’ visible activity.

Even so, a solid 19% of executives agreed that KPIs and goals were the most important productivity metrics. KPIs are undeniably critical for collecting accurate and meaningful data on employee productivity. And the best productivity tracking method for one team might not make sense for another. The most relevant metrics vary depending on each team’s function and objectives.

Here are some common KPIs to consider, based on your team’s unique characteristics:

  • Time management metrics, such as time spent on tasks and adherence to a deadline
  • Quality measurements, such as error rates and customer satisfaction
  • Efficiency KPIs, including process adherence and resource utilization rate
  • Project progress metrics, such as completion of project milestones and task completion rate
  • Employee engagement, feedback and satisfaction

The benefits and challenges of employee productivity monitoring

Team leaders are under heavy pressure to show executives that their teams are productive. But traditional productivity tracking methods rarely work for remote teams, and the more modern productivity tracking software tends to raise privacy concerns.

Plus, when business leaders rely too much on quantitative metrics to evaluate employee performance, it can lead to a lack of trust and empathy between team leaders and their employees. It’s important to strike a balance between the quantitative and the qualitative. Productivity isn’t only about how much gets done; it’s also about how well things get done.

So what’s the right thing to do here? Let’s explore some benefits and drawbacks of monitoring employee productivity.

The benefits of productivity tracking

  • Measuring employee productivity helps enhance team performance and accountability
  • Data-based insights can help identify productivity gaps and make targeted improvements, like upgrading your tech stack or introducing flexible work hours
  • Team leaders and executives can make data-driven decisions, such as adjusting employee workload or rebalancing resource allocation

Potential drawbacks of productivity tracking

  • Employers may over-index on quantity metrics over quality, drawing inaccurate conclusions about employees’ productivity
  • Employee surveillance can lead to decreased job satisfaction
  • These tools may also create a sense of job insecurity, leading to burnout and lower morale among employees

Overcoming remote productivity tracking challenges

The biggest challenges associated with productivity tracking include concerns with employee privacy and morale. To help combat these issues, companies can:

  • Implement measures to anonymize and secure sensitive data, addressing privacy concerns and minimizing compliance risks
  • Involve employees in decision-making, encourage open communication, and set clear productivity expectations
  • Apply tracking measures consistently across all employees regardless of their location or schedule
  • Establish transparent criteria for performance evaluation

Making productivity tracking a win-win

Productivity tracking should benefit both employees and leadership. For example, surveillance tools might show that employees are spending too much time in meetings or on repetitive, low-value tasks. Leaders could then respond by replacing some meetings with asynchronous collaboration tools, such as Slack, and using a tool like Workflow Builder to automate some routine workflows.

The result works out for everyone: employees get to focus on more interesting tasks, and teams become more productive.

How to track remote worker productivity

When implementing productivity tracking tools on your remote or hybrid team:

  • Prioritize transparency and communication with employees
  • Obtain employees’ consent to surveillance
  • Avoid micromanaging
  • Enforce data security measures to protect privacy
  • Seek employee feedback for continuous improvement

With these objectives in mind, you can move forward with a productivity tracking strategy.

Various web-based tools and techniques are available to track productivity among remote workers:

  • Time-tracking software records time spent on specific projects and activities
  • Project management tools help track progress and allocate resources
  • Monitoring software can keep track of computer usage, app activities and website visits
  • Employee surveys gather qualitative feedback on the employee experience
  • Data analytics tools help visualize productivity KPIs to inform decision-making
  • Tools can track objectives and key results to support performance management

Consider your team’s structure and workflows to determine which type of productivity tracking tool would be the most appropriate.

Best productivity tracking solutions in 2024

These tools are some of the top choices for companies tracking productivity on remote and hybrid teams. If you’re a Slack user, you can integrate them into your workspace so you can access this data without switching apps.


Harvest offers time-tracking capabilities on desktop and mobile devices. Turn timesheet data into intuitive graphs and charts to gain critical insights into how team members spend their time and how their projects are progressing.


Justworks’s HR solution includes employee time tracking and workforce management features like geolocation, overtime alerts, customizable break rules and advanced reporting. Justworks produces metrics that can help you make operating decisions, improve scheduling and reduce employee management costs.

Time Doctor

Time Doctor includes comprehensive workforce analytics for both on-site and remote teams. The software offers enterprise-grade security and is HIPAA- and GDPR-compliant. It also provides 24-hour multilingual customer service.

Time Doctor sends real-time notifications in Slack when team members start or complete tasks, providing visibility on everyone’s current projects.


With Ally you can easily set and monitor team OKRs from right inside Slack (and say goodbye to unwieldy and quickly outdated spreadsheets). If this goal-management framework is new to you, don’t fret: The app comes with built-in best practices and automation that walks you through it.

Strike the right balance when tracking productivity

Productivity tracking tools give team leaders and executives data-driven insights so they can optimize workflows, adjust responsibilities, make the most of their resources and enhance team performance. However, while productivity tracking offers many benefits, pitfalls like ethical considerations and privacy concerns also come with the territory.

Consistency, transparency, communication and the right toolkit can help you implement an effective productivity tracking strategy on your team. To maintain trust, morale and strong performance, make your productivity tracking solution work for both leaders and employees.

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