4 New Ways to Model Work

Our goal at Worklytics is to understand how work gets done - and how it could get done better.

As we partner with clients to think through thorny topics like delayering or talent development, we often discover new ways to describe work.

We’re excited to share 4 new ways that we’re modeling how work gets done:

  1. Workday Intensity

Hybrid work has changed the shape of our workday.  Hybrid has elongated the span of our day:  we log in earlier (no commute!) and tend to sign off later than we did when we were in-office.

But hybrid has also changed the intensity of our workday.  People take advantage of having a more flexible schedule to split their work into multiple bursts spread across a longer period of time – the triple peak day.” 

For most of us, hybrid work increases our workday span (we’re “online” for longer) but decreases our workday intensity (we take frequent breaks).

If your company measures span, you should also be measuring intensity.  We measure intensity as time spent on digital work as a % of overall workday span.  So for instance, it’s not uncommon to see a 10 hour workday span with an intensity of 70%, meaning 7 hours of digital work over the 10 hour period. 

If span is up, you’d expect intensity to decline as employees juggle work & home tasks across the day.   If you see both span and intensity increasing, that’s a strong signal of burnout risk.

An important note:  Workday intensity is not the same thing as productivity.  Intensity is looking at the frequency of digital collaboration, and doesn’t tell us anything about the value of the work or what gets done offline.  

  1. Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest elongators of workday span is after-hours messaging.  Chat on Teams and Slack has become widespread.  Particularly in a hybrid setting, we find DMs are the main way that managers keep in contact with their teams.   

Unfortunately, these tools can lend themselves to an “always-on” way of working.  It's easy for managers to send a quick ping after-hours that inadvertently triggers a cascade of late-night activity adversely impacting work-life balance across the team.

Some after-hours messaging is expected, but it’s concerning if late night scrambles are a team’s de facto way of working.  

To see if you’ve got a problem, take a look at:

  1. Incoming vs Outgoing DMs:  Is this team initiating the fire drill or responding to one?

  2. Manager-Initiated After-Hours DMs:  How frequently are your managers sending after-hours DMs to their direct reports?

 

How much is too much after-hours action?  Employees that receive more than 15 after-hours Slack DMs during the week are at higher risk for burnout, especially if those messages come from a direct manager.

  1. Manager Effectiveness

    Managers have a tough job.  They’re not excited to be sending those after-hours DMs;  they’re just trying to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.  


That’s why it’s important to understand how the pandemic changed what it means to be a good manager.  With the rise of distributed work, managers are being asked to work in a fundamentally different way than they’ve worked before.  

With new ways of working come new metrics.  And there are several metrics that matter more than eSat scores when it comes to improving manager effectiveness. 

One of the standouts:  1:1 Frequency.

No, it’s not the flashiest metric on the list.  But tracking 1:1 frequency gives you one of the best early signals of disengagement.  So you can intervene before people quit.

The nuance here is that we’re tracking 1:1 over a longer timespan.  Missing the occasional 1:1 is OK (everyone takes vacation), but if this trend is consistent over a 4-week period, that’s a sign you need to make a change.  We’re specifically looking at the number of 1:1s in the past 2 weeks and the number of 1:1s in the past 4 weeks (both rolling) as a pulse-check for manager support.

  1. Sales Effectiveness

With sales stalling, People Analytics teams are increasingly being asked to weigh in on what can be done to reaccelerate revenue growth.  

It can be intimidating to dig into department-level data.  Sales Ops knows your CRM far better than you do.  And your Sales Leaders spend far more time with your customers than you ever will.

Instead of trying to extract new insights from those same datasets, check your calendar.  Try taking a look at the underlying work behavior that’s driving those sales outcomes.  How are reps spending their time?    

The first place to start:  Selling Time.  

Length of Workday - Time Spent on Internal Meetings =  Selling Time

Every Sales Leader worth their salt wants more Selling Time in their reps’ week.  You’ll immediately add value by showing them how much Selling Time their team has compared to other teams in your org – and which cross-functional partners are consuming the most of their reps’ workweek.

For more information on Worklytics metrics, check out our Data Dictionary

 

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