If I Have Workers in Another Time Zone, Do They Really Put in Time?

Our prior discussion about faith is being continued. In this post, we started by looking at trust problems from the standpoint of remote workers.

We are now diving into the trust in remote teams problem from the perspective of employers.

There has been frequent discussion amongst managers regarding the issue of remote working, particularly within the context of ensuring that staff are completing their required hours of work. Questions have been raised as to how it can be verified that employees are putting in the requisite effort while working remotely.

It is possible to observe some staff members while they are in the office. However, it is not uncommon to see remote workers engaging in activities such as sharing a midday yoga selfie during their working hours.

The only logical conclusion is that remote employees cannot be relied upon to put in the required time.

This is the farthest thing from the truth. Call us if you’ve had similar misgivings; we’ll gladly put them to rest.

The unavoidable reality of what you’re seeing in your workers’ job

Consider for a moment the employees you have on staff at the workplace.

It is advisable to proceed with taking the straightforward examination in order to gain an understanding of how much time is being wasted in the workplace. Furthermore, obtaining the browser histories of all team members is likely to provide greater insight into where the inefficiencies are occurring.

The typical office environment is often subject to various distractions which can hinder employees from completing their tasks. These disruptions can be found in the immediate vicinity, such as in and around their workstations.

Implementing prohibitive measures, such as an absolute prohibition of social media use during working hours, a reduction in the amount of time allocated to rest breaks, and disciplinary action for any breach of rules, could ultimately lead to an atmosphere of distrust, secrecy and alienation between yourself and your employees.

Keeping an eye on your staff hasn’t lived up to its hype.

In contrast, remote working relies heavily on the trust between employers and employees. This flexibility in hours allows remote workers to accommodate their other commitments, such as picking up their children from school, while still being able to complete their daily tasks at different times throughout the day.

They may take pride in their creations without worrying about being discovered or having to lie about their methods.

The benefits of a results-focused approach to work, and how to adopt it

Upon further examination, we found that three separate organizations that were geographically distant from one another had achieved great success. These organizations were Groove, InVision and HotJar. All three of them utilized very similar criteria when assessing their team’s performance; for instance, the amount of time spent on a task was never taken into consideration when making a final judgement. Instead, we focused on the quality of the work and the outcomes that were achieved.

The employees in this fast-paced, out-of-the-office setting are all very responsive. It is evident when someone is not performing to the expected standard. It is unacceptable to penalize anyone for not submitting their timesheet on time.

Matteo Grassi, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the fully remote e-commerce accelerator, Eli Z Group, concurred with us during our recent discussion. To gain insight into how Matteo manages his business and obtains successful outcomes, we recommend listening to the Works Podcast.

Taking into account the fact that an individual’s ability can develop and improve with more experience of tackling similar tasks in the workplace, it is clear that their efficiency is likely to be significantly higher than when they first started out. This demonstrates the value of gaining experience in a specific role, as it is likely to have a positive impact on their ability to perform their job to a higher standard.

By taking this approach, you can save yourself time by not having to constantly check if they are spending the same amount of effort on a standard issue, and instead give them more challenging tasks to work on.

When a time-based approach to telecommuting is appropriate

Time spent on the job may be a greater indicator of performance in some roles.

  • Assisting clients: Service agents are paid by the hour and may have daily quotas for calls they must field.
  • Formal Administrative tasks: Admin labor, whether it is tracking words per minute or dealing with bureaucracy, is frequently billed by the hour.
  • Positions that Are Just Temporary in nature: If you’re paying an expert on a project by the hour, you should monitor their progress.

Indicators that your concerns about the reliability of your remote staff are well-founded

Although trusting your remote staff is critical, it’s also important to keep an eye out for these warning indicators.

  • Unreturned messages: Be sure everything is well with your remote worker if it has been more than a few hours since they responded to emails or pings.
  • The rescheduling of previously planned events: Even if you arrange meetings taking everyone’s whereabouts into account, you may want to check up on a remote worker who fails to show up.
  • The Slack front is peaceful: The advantages of having a distributed workforce are clear; utilising a range of remote communication methods, team members can remain in frequent contact with one another. Consequently, it is important to be aware of any prolonged absences from the team, as this could be indicative of underlying issues.
  • Missed deadlines: This is an apparent one — if a remote employee isn’t reaching their deadlines, you should investigate their work schedule.
  • Colleagues’ comments: If members of your remote team are consistently reporting that one individual is arriving late to meetings, it is important to take due notice of this feedback. It is essential to ensure that all team members are collaborating in an effective manner, and arriving to meetings on time is a key factor in achieving this goal.
  • KPIs that move: All of the aforementioned factors will have an impact on the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of a remote worker. If the effects remain unchanged for more than three months, it may be necessary to reassess whether they are a suitable member of the team.

Methods of checking the productivity of distant workers

Advanced technological programs are available to ensure that you can keep track of your remote workforce, even if you send robots to explore the depths of outer space. Not only do these applications enable timekeeping, scheduling, and billing, but they are also compatible with remote project management software, making it easier to manage your remote workforce. Examples of these applications include:

  • TodoistWe offer the flexibility to choose your own working hours, allowing you to tailor the project to your individual needs. Each task can be assigned to different people, with deadlines and priorities assigned to each. The cost per user is approximately £3.
  • You’re the Time Doctor, Right? Time Doctor is an invaluable tool for supervisors of remote employees, as it provides detailed reports on how much time employees are spending on each project, as well as random screenshots of their computer activity. This allows employers to ensure that their remote employees are working to their full potential. The cost for using this service is approximately £9.99 per user.
  • Harvest When you have a large workforce that is spread out over a wide geographical area, Harvest is an essential tool for tracking time. It provides an instantaneous overview of the total workload of your team and the productivity of each individual. You can also gain insight into indicators such as total workload, billable hours, and non-billable hours. The cost for using this application is approximately £12 per user per month.

It is impossible to ignore the issues surrounding trust and productivity that have been raised in relation to remote working. Employers have a responsibility to provide their staff with all the relevant information they need to be able to do their job, and it is not acceptable to withhold any facts from remote workers. Additionally, it is important that remote staff put in the same amount of time and effort as their in-office counterparts, in order to ensure that productivity targets are met.

In order to ensure the success of all parties involved, we have taken a pragmatic view and implemented various measures to protect the interests of all involved. For example, we require remote workers to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) when they have access to sensitive company information, and we keep track of the amount of time they spend on their tasks.

Despite the fact that trust is something that cannot be coerced, it is something that can develop organically. The key is to find the right people for the job and then give them the freedom to perform without constant monitoring. We are here to help you find the most competent and reliable remote developers, who can deliver results without the need for continuous supervision.

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