Is It Really Necessary to Keep an Eye on Remote Workers?

Due to the escalating spread of the Coronavirus, a great number of businesses have been forced to adopt a remote working system. There have been a few notable successes, such as Twitter, yet some have had a harder time adjusting. Across the world, team leaders are faced with the issue of micromanagement and are uncertain of how they can guarantee their staff are working efficiently without the ability to constantly monitor them. In response to the increasing demand for remote employee monitoring, software as a service (SaaS) companies such as Time Doctor have been inundated with requests, reflecting the sudden surge in popularity.

It is indeed essential to maintain oversight of remote employees. At Works, we have devoted considerable resources to exploring this topic, and we are pleased to share our findings with you. Our research suggests that the best way to keep track of remote workers is to ensure regular communication, to introduce employee monitoring tools, and to create clear expectations for performance. Regular check-ins will also provide an opportunity to ensure that employees are staying on track and meeting their goals.

Exactly Why Do You Feel the Need to Keep Tabs on Things?

If you are accustomed to managing a team of employees in the same physical office or in close proximity to one another, adjusting to the challenge of managing a remote team can take some getting used to. By simply being around the team, you can usually assess their productivity and progress. However, since all members of the team are now working from home, you no longer have the option of observing them and gaining insights into the team’s progress, which may make you feel a sense of loss of control.

Despite the new working circumstances, it is clear that productive staff members will remain productive, providing that prudent decisions were made when hiring them. Consequently, is there a requirement for further supervision now that team members are working remotely?

Hours of Operation

For many years, presenteeism has been a concern in the workplace. However, given the current pandemic situation, is it reasonable to expect employees to work from nine to five while they are working remotely? This may be particularly difficult if they need to coordinate different schedules with their partner or have to take on the responsibility of educating their children. One of the major attractions of remote work is its flexibility in terms of scheduling, which allows employees to complete their tasks at a time that suits them and their overall work-life balance.

It is true that there are software applications available that allow managers to gain insight into their remote employees’ activities. Whilst this may seem appealing, it is important to remember that the success of virtual teams is founded upon trust, and that employees being aware of being monitored could have a hugely detrimental effect.

Participation

It is highly beneficial to monitor how your remote workforce are making use of the latest technology available to them. As an example, Zoom video conferencing – which is increasingly popular among businesses – is not always welcomed with open arms by employees. This could be due to reluctance to be recorded, or perhaps a bit of stubbornness; either way, Zoom’s ‘inactive users’ feature can help to identify those who might require extra guidance or support.

Zoom provides attention-tracking functionality, enabling meeting hosts to observe if participants have kept the window open and are paying attention or have minimised it to do other tasks. Rather than penalising those who may be multitasking, it may be beneficial to explore ways to enhance remote meeting productivity or to acknowledge the fact that “Zoom fatigue” is a genuine concern.

Results of Labor

It is our conclusion that the most effective approach to monitoring remote workers is to measure their output. Irrespective of the physical location of your team, if everyone is fulfilling their responsibilities and contributing to the company’s success, then it should not be a major concern whether they are constantly at their computers or have their best ideas while out in the garden. You should have a clear idea of the capabilities of each team member, so as long as the job is completed on schedule, then there is no significant issue.

It is understandable that you may be wondering if your team is eligible for the much-anticipated productivity incentive for remote workers. Please bear in mind that, in light of the current unprecedented circumstances, we are taking into account the additional pressures and strains caused by the quarantine.

It is essential that your team is equipped with a dependable task management system as soon as possible if one is not already in place. Select a system that is straightforward to use and enables your team to keep you informed of their progress, including if they have achieved a goal or are stuck.

Holding daily stand up meetings can be extremely beneficial for keeping your team motivated, focused and informed. Agile development techniques often incorporate such meetings, however, if your team are not currently following this approach, stand ups can still be conducted remotely, either through video chats or asynchronous messaging services. As long as everyone is aware of their individual progress, what their next steps are and where they may require assistance, the project should continue to progress smoothly.

Inadvertent Drawbacks of Tracking Devices

Employees frequently express their concern that remote job monitoring software adds further stress and effort to their already hectic lives. If you find yourself spending more time justifying your actions to others than actually executing them, it is certainly a cause for alarm. Timely and Tsheets are two pieces of tracking technology that could potentially alleviate these issues. Timely harnesses AI technology to understand the tasks that your team are completing when using specific documents or software, whereas Tsheets makes it easy to move between tasks with a single click.

It is imperative that the mental health of engineers and other technical staff is taken into consideration when developing productivity monitoring tools. It has already been established that mutual trust between team members is essential for a successful remote team. It is important to be mindful not to sacrifice something more valuable than time when attempting to monitor employee activity.

It is not beneficial to introduce superfluous administrative responsibilities at a time when we need to be particularly mindful of our personnel’s emotional wellbeing. When assessing the contrast between a local workplace and remote working, Sharon Koifman, CEO of our firm, has noted that “the most noteworthy difference is the management of your employee’s mental health”. Therefore, it is important to become acquainted with your team, their requirements and abilities, and work in collaboration with them to set achievable objectives.

Is It Necessary To Keep Tabs On Workers From Afar?

At Works, we have been committed to promoting open communication, building trust and assessing results regardless of the changing technological landscape. Hiring the right people is essential in order to reach high performance levels, and if you feel you have not chosen the right people for the job, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. If you are looking to recruit a remote specialist, we would be delighted to put you in touch with a suitable candidate.

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