There has been a tremendous shift in the number of people who work from their homes. This trend was further exasperated by the March 2020 pandemic, which saw employers embrace remote workers to keep operations running. With the right tools, remote employees can be the best decision for your company and save you operational costs. Here are some ways to track your remote employees’ time;
1. Deadlines and Expectations
Structure in the workplace is one of the best tools you can use to ensure that things run smoothly and on time. This will require you to set expectations for the employees and to ensure that this works, you will also need to define deadlines. These two aspects create clarity for the employees and employer, which reduces any claims of misunderstandings and excuses.
The employees will have a better grasp of the work expected at the end of the day, and they can plan their time accordingly. You can also institute a rule where the employees give regular updates on a work platform, and that way, when you are remotely sending out work, you can evaluate who needs more work or more time.
Creating a task list is an excellent way to ensure that your employees use their time to meet deadlines. A well-executed task list will help you allocate work and share responsibilities according to the employee’s ability. It is inherent that even when employees say they are working, they could not actively be in their workspace. Ensure that all the work has been divided among the employees; you attach a time frame for when each task is due. Generally, it is a good idea to have a standard set time for charges to be done and submitted, which creates a time frame for the employees that suffice unless there is a contrary directive.
Many employers prefer to have employees physically present because the atmosphere warrants time to be used for assigned tasks only. This is not the case for remote workers, who can easily be distracted by one thing. Distractions affect time which may make a remote worker less productive and increase the time required for a task. As an employer, it is wise to appreciate this fact and allow a little more time for projects done remotely, especially for beginners, before they adjust accordingly.
It is easy to tell how an employee uses their time based on the quality of work and general performance of duties. Low-quality work usually indicates that it was done last minute, and they did not have time to go through it to check for avoidable mistakes and errors. Employees using company time for personal business is very evident in their work.
2. Monitoring Tools
Many tools and apps are available to keep you updated on how your employees use company time. The remote tools are designed to work the same way a punch-in system works for employees physically in the office. When you use time clock software, you can easily track attendance, lateness, and absence at your home or office convenience.
There are many types of monitoring software that are specifically designed to overcome the challenges of each industry. This makes it easier to find an excellent fit for you and your employees. Although these tools are all different, there are some common aspects you need to consider when choosing. The first feature of a great tool is that the employees should easily and quickly be able to log in and out. Ideally, this should be a two-step process as more steps only delay and frustrate you and the employees.
Monitoring tools reduce the paperwork and processes required to execute a vacation or absence request. This process is much smoother because when the human resource manager has accepted the employee’s request, it is directly updated in the system. This ensures that tracking your employees’ time benefits them as well. Appraisals are essential to any company because they reward extra effort and set employees up for promotions. Monitoring a remote worker‘s time helps you make the right decisions on pay increments and adding responsibilities.
It is vital to choose a time tracking system with features specifically designed to suit the employer without revealing it to the employee. This helps the employer gauge how many time-outs the employee takes and how long it takes them to complete a task and move on to another.
There are plenty of free time management software and apps employers use, but getting a paid one gives you more control and premium features.
3. Employee Self-Reporting
In many ways, the relationship between a remote employee and employer is hinged on discipline and trust. This is because as much as you want to keep up with your remote employee’s use of company time, it can prove quite tricky, especially for small companies without monitoring software.
You can put in place systems that allow the employees to account for their time and report when they are done with a task. The critical element for any employer who decides to take this time management form is to appreciate the apparent risks such as misrepresentation of work done and lies from employees. It is best to institute other tracking ideas to this self-reporting to make it more successful. The best addition to this system is to attach a manager to the employee’s self-assessment.
Feedback is an important aspect when you want to have self-sufficient remote employees. In some cases, the employee may not be fully aware that they are compromising company time. Constructive feedback irons out any time-related issues and helps employees become more effective. Solving problems quickly and answering any questions and concerns raised by employees reduces time wastage and other delays that affect morale and output.
You can go the extra mile and provide time sheets that the employees fill in to show how they spend their day working on the allocated tasks. The relevant proof of work should accompany these forms. Even when the employee is not wholly forward with how they use their time, it gets increasingly hard for them to fake results. Employers can then determine whether unproductivity results from poor time management and advise correctly on what needs to be done. You will need to have video calls or be in the same room every once in a while to ensure everyone is on the same page.
4. Emails and Websites
When you have company email domains for official work, you can use them to track the time used for each project submitted by an employee. It is crucial to get ahead of any problems that may arise, especially about the legality of perusing the employee’s email account. Some employees may feel a violation of privacy when the employer goes through their emails, and this may lead to hostility. From an ethical point of view, employers can put up safeguards to keep personal emails private, and legally they are allowed to check work emails on their domains.
As long as you adhere to the set laws, you can use emails to monitor work progress and time usage. Emails are an easy time tracking tool because all you have to check is the frequency of activity on the employee’s inbox and outbox, giving you an outlook of working time.
Working remotely seems to be the new trend and is set to continue in the foreseeable future because it has more benefits than demerits. Therefore, employers must be well educated on time management for remote employees to ensure that they are not duped and the company runs as it should. The pointers listed above will go a long way to ensure that the time allocated for remote employees is utilized to the maximum.