How One Company Is Changing Remote Work Through Virtual Accountability

Being scrutinized by someone can be bothersome, making one feel their privacy has been intruded upon and their efforts constantly judged. I recall a colleague who took it upon herself to oversee others to the extent that it made me want to veil my computer screen and give her a look that would let her know I was uncomfortable with the situation. People who experienced the “Big Brother” era would be surprised to learn that some individuals are now willingly allowing themselves to be monitored. With numerous activities available to participate in, virtual supervision is increasingly becoming the norm for remote workers seeking to ensure work efficiency.

In contrast to individuals operating in a conventional office setting, who have the advantage of co-workers aiding them in maintaining concentration and efficacy, remote workers must take the initiative to combat distractions.

A business leader recognized a need and created Focusmate, which provides a distinct “virtual colleague experience” holding remote employees accountable for their responsibilities. Therefore, employing Focusmate can significantly aid your remote workforce. Focusmate not only helps them maintain focus, but also offers a sense of togetherness and companionship that individuals working from home may lack.

Remote work can lead to isolation, resulting in anxiety and negative thoughts, which adversely impact employee productivity and morale. In our blog, ‘4 Ways to Prevent Isolation in Your Remote Team,’ we addressed this particular issue. Now, we will delve into how Focusmate can be a positive solution. How exactly does it help remote workers? Let’s explore further to better comprehend its workings.

Available to Everyone: Accountability in the Digital Era

Taylor Jacobson, the creator of the service, was no stranger to remote work and delaying tasks. However, he realized he couldn’t assist a close friend of his who struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder. Hence, he began developing what we know today as Focusmate.

To remain focused on their work, the duo opted to remain in contact with each other via video conferencing throughout the workweek. This helped in two ways: it provided them with companionship and also helped them stay on track with their responsibilities.

We committed to our deadlines by exchanging daily messages; he was preparing a presentation, while I was tackling a task that I had been putting off for months – writing a blog post. Surprisingly, we had never been that motivated before, and the outcome was exceptional.

Inspired by his success, Jacobson decided to launch a company to extend similar benefits to others. Focusmate pairs up remote workers who select the same 50-minute time slot online for virtual accountability.

Before beginning their workday, the two virtual colleagues exchanged polite greetings and provided each other with a quick overview of their respective responsibilities. During the session, each individual worked on their own projects before sharing updates on their progress with their counterpart.

Although chatting is not allowed, having a virtual companion in your bubble has been found to enhance productivity.

This article was praised by Jake Baker, a green energy investor:

A user shared how having a live and present partner to work alongside them enhanced their productivity, stating how it helped them “get quickly into the zone of productivity”.

The blog proposed 5 sources of distraction while working from home and provided strategies to handle each one.

Without a doubt, our home life can present several distractions and interruptions. There are various elements that can compete for our attention at any given moment, from household chores to leisure activities and streaming services. How can we boost our chances of staying focused?

Focusmate could potentially be the saving grace for remote team managers.

The Perfect Pair: Accountability and Effective Communication

The widely held belief that procrastination is primarily caused by laziness is incorrect.

Procrastination could be a manifestation of a deeper issue, as per Men’s Health. Crystal Lee, Ph.D., the founder of LA Concierge Psychologist, suggests that “procrastination is frequently linked to perfectionism and the fear of failure.” Due to the pressure to attain perfection, individuals often postpone their work until the eleventh hour, resulting in heightened stress levels.

While distraction and procrastination can be detrimental, lack of communication poses a bigger challenge. It is crucial for remote workers to stay connected with their team, as disconnectedness can have severe consequences. Remote workers may struggle to feel like they are a part of the team due to geographical distance, which can negatively affect their productivity. If a remote worker seems to be procrastinating, it is essential to understand if they are having difficulty grasping their tasks or feeling anxious about the job assigned to them.

Communication is both the strongest asset and weakest link for a remotely working team. It is imperative to build a robust network starting from scratch.

Distraction and procrastination are common problems that all of us must combat. Focusmate has emerged as a useful tool for communication and a plausible solution for managers. It could be considered as the ultimate solution to overcome this particular obstacle.

Virtual Teams Collaborating

Managers, whether traditional or non-traditional, are continually searching for innovative ways to enhance their employees’ efficiency. Focusmate could be the solution to the obstacles faced by remote management, enabling teams to stay productive even while working remotely. In the near future, remote teams may need to establish consistent periods of online collaboration, without the suffocating “Big Brother” presence that was prevalent in the 1990s.

Focusmate’s community functions, such as one-on-one communication and regulations, safeguard user anonymity. Professor Philip Asherson, a psychiatry expert, has remarked that “the central aspect of this concept is making a promise to another person.” This idea’s significance is emphasised by Professor Asherson, a top researcher in the field, and Focusmate’s implementation of it underscores their dedication to preserving user privacy and security.

Focusmate offers telecommuters a conducive and enjoyable work environment, the benefits of having a co-worker, and the ability to monitor each other (and more crucially, themselves) productively. Using Focusmate, remote workers can access the same atmosphere they would typically experience in an office space while retaining their independence. This also allows them to stay socially connected and hold themselves accountable for their output.

This is undoubtedly a potent tool for managing groups, especially in the current climate of remote working. At Works, we are well-equipped to support you with your staffing needs, be it sourcing the most skilled and talented professionals in a particular field or expanding your current team. We can assist you in quickly and effectively finding the right people.

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