The workplace has changed a fair bit in the decade, and even more so in the last few years, and a huge factor in this massive transformation has been remote working. What was once the pipe dream of a few employees wanting a better work-life balance has now become a huge part of modern businesses. It’s become a cornerstone of success; a revelation that has made the working culture a million times more beneficial for both sides of the fence (just to confirm, we’re talking about employers and employees, not Democrats and Republicans).
On the one hand, your employees are able to work from home on the days where life throws them a curveball and it gives people an increased sense of freedom. But from your perspective, you are able to tap into the ever-growing freelance market, hire top talent anywhere in the world, have your employees work while on the move and even check-in on your business while you’re away sunning yourself from some hot corner of the planet. All that and we haven’t even discussed the added bonus of a happier, more productive workforce.
But for all the undeniable positives, there is one question that hangs overhead like an inescapable shadow: as an employer, how the heck are you meant to keep an eye on your employees if they are not working from your office? How can you be sure that they’re actually working and not watching cat videos on Youtube followed by F.R.I.E.N.D.S on Netflix?
Well, first things first, you need to have more trust in your team because that’s where a great deal of their enthusiasm and work ethic will spout from. That said, it’s also important to have the added peace of mind that comes with knowing when they’re working for you.
So, without further ado, here are some tools and techniques you can use to better monitor your staff when they are nowhere to be seen:
- Set The Sort Of Tasks That Have Deadlines
Every team faces a similar headache, but it’s accentuated in a remote team: while there are always some employees that totally commit themselves to a project, there are some that do just enough work to keep them from getting fired. What you need to do is put an end to this attitude and the best way of doing this is to distribute the different tasks that make up a project to different team members and give them due dates and regular nudges. This level of ownership will not only motivate your employees, but it will also allow you to see how much progress is being made at every step of the way, changing attitudes as you go. To get the most out of this, use a tool like Trello so everyone on the team can see who has been assigned what task. It will give them a better picture, show them who is doing what and how much everyone is contributing.
- Up Your Remote-Worker Supervising Game
If you have got to the stage where you just aren’t impressed with your remote team’s productivity levels, there are a few things you can do to become a better supervisor and understand this issue more. So, first things first, invest in the right software – software that will give you the inside scoop – and TimeDoctor is at the top of the list on this front. Sure, this is for the boss that has certain trust issues, but this piece of software allows you to take screenshots of your employees’ screens at a set interval, like every six minutes. You can then flick through these screenshots in a single glance and quickly determine if they are working full-time or not. Of course, to use this effectively, you need to have the chat with your team and be as transparent about it as possible otherwise trust issues may creep in. That’s bad. Anyway, the other thing you can do is use these 5 effective employee write-up forms for your business, not as a way to discipline those who might need a little disciplining, but as a way of keeping a record of underperformers and mick-takers. Oh, and you’ll also be able to use them as protection should a liability case crop up, something that has crept into the workplace with the rise of remote working.
- Keep An Eye On Your Employees’ Internet Usage
Those employees that commute to and work in a physical office space have to content with more traditional distractions, from water cooler chats to the person in the cubicle next to them shouting down the phone for no known reason. But while remote workers are immune to this sort of distraction, they can easily find themselves slipping down the rabbit hole of Facebook and Instagram. That’s why it’s important to track what your remote employees are up to and ensure they are only visiting relevant websites and apps while on your time (excluding lunch and coffee breaks obviously). Thankfully, there are tools out there that make this easy; tools that are able to monitor all the websites and apps each of your remote employees are using while on the job. That’s not all, though. Some are even advanced enough to create and send a detailed report to either yourself or the team manager, highlighting any unproductive sites or applications that might have been used by a team member. Yeah, we’re looking at you Monsieur YouTube and Madame Coffee Break Arcade (do people still use this?).
Yes, when using these tools, you need to tread carefully so that you don’t cause friction and you need to make sure you are totally honest and transparent with your remote employees about why you need to do this. But it’s a great way for a modern business to stay on the path of to success. Oh, and one last thing, these tools should only be used with your full-time employees, not freelancers. They have their own ways of working and their performances should be judged on the final product.
You may also like: Can You Spy On Your Employees?