Businesses of all sizes are continuing to embrace a remote workforce. In fact, Gallup's State of the American Workplace reveals that roughly 43 percent of companies allow some employees to work remotely.
Even more interesting, however, is that the survey revealed remote workers tend to log more hours than their in-office counterparts and tend to be slightly more engaged.
Say what?! JACKPOT.
How to Monitor Remote Employees
But if you're managing a remote team, how can you really be sure everyone is on task, staying productive, and collaborating appropriately?
There are countless online tools that can help you keep your team humming along every day – check these and these out for starters – but if you’re wondering how to implement remote monitoring policies for your business, here are some steps and considerations:
- Why. You need to be able to answer the following: ‘Why do you want to implement remote employee monitoring – is it to keep an eye on employee productivity, monitor performance, increase billing, or another reason?’ Your answer will dictate your next step – determining which tools, products and policies will help you uncover those key performance indicators.
- Research. Research software that has the necessary features to accurately monitor those areas you identified above, like URL and application monitoring, activity tracking, or basic time-tracking features.
- Roll Out. Introduce the policy to your staff. When doing this, it is best to frame the introduction of remote staff monitoring as a positive initiative. Explain about how it will empower individuals to be more accountable, and that the top performers will be more easily recognized.
- Curate Accountability. Create a culture of accountability – leading by example – by sharing your time sheet and activities with your remote employees, and encourage the sharing of timesheets among your remote teams as it can help increase employee motivation. Further, it serves to help employees individually benchmark their performance, efficiency, and productivity as compared to everyone else.
- Incentivize. Consider incentivizing employees to track their time and monitor their own performance by holding competitions for the most efficient or productive employees, and emphasize how monitoring and time tracking helps to empower individual workers by giving them freedom and flexibility over their workload.
- Follow Up. After introducing and rolling out the policy, be sure to follow up in the weeks and months that follow so your team has a chance to give feedback. Then, you can make adjustments accordingly to maximize productivity.
Telecommuting is now easier and more prevalent than ever and regardless of whether you manage a team of five or 500, communication is always key. And with countless free and low-cost tools and products designed to help keep remote employees productive, accountable, and in touch, you no longer have to be relegated to playing taskmaster. Learn more about ways to foster a strong company culture in our online managing virtual teams training.
When implemented well, remote employee monitoring can have an incredibly positive impact on your company. By accurately monitoring the time your remote employees spend on client projects, internal tasks, and non-work related items, you can better manage your team so you can instead focus on what matters most: running a better business.