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How Do Employers Monitor Employees That Work From Home

How Do Employers Monitor Employees That Work From Home

A year ago, when the pandemic struck, companies all over the world were forced to relocate millions of employees to work from home. As a result, the already strong trend toward remote work has become one of the dominant ones. Let’s discuss how these new realities have changed the job of the executive and how employers are executing monitoring of the employees who work from home.

Sales are the key part of the business processes. It’s when a company ultimately makes real profit from all its other activities. No matter how well everyone else in your team is performing, if your sales managers aren’t doing a good job, the results won’t come. So, every executive should maintain control over their sales department – and here’s how to do it.

With the rise of remote work, the concept of monitoring employees takes on a new meaning. But how exactly can employers ensure that team productivity stays high when employees are miles away?

Several tools provide assistance with that:

  • Time trackers: These solutions log computer activity, showing online/offline times and app usage. Did Sarah spend an hour writing a work report or was she scrolling social media the entire time? Time trackers reveal the truth.
  • Project management platforms: From Asana to Trello, these solutions help assign tasks, track employee progress, and highlight potential bottlenecks or instances of procrastination.
  • Communication tools: Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams monitor communication frequency and responsiveness. Are employees actively collaborating or do they tend to disappear for hours? These platforms provide all the answers.
  • Performance metrics: Sales figures, project deadlines, and client satisfaction display a clear picture of individual and team productivity, regardless of employees’ actual location.

However, properly configured monitoring shouldn't have a Big Brother feel. Transparency and open communication are key. Employees should understand the tools that are being used and the purpose of using them. Trust becomes the ultimate barometer, fostering accountability and a productive remote work environment for everybody.

Best Practices For Remote Employee Productivity Monitoring

In the vast majority of cases, remote employees use computers for their work, which means you can track almost any activity of theirs and find out what exactly they are busy with. Most of the time supervisors use the following features:

  • Automatic monitoring of remote employees’ activity at the computer. Programs track when employees log into their work accounts, what apps they use, which browser tabs they open, when they take breaks, how long these breaks are, and so on. The specifics depend on the tracking software employers choose – advanced employee monitoring software logs pretty much every click of the mouse and generates highly detailed reports;
  • Screenshots and video recording of employees’ desktops. Most monitoring programs can be configured to record at random intervals, without notifying employees in advance;
  • Remote screen viewing or executing control over computers. These tools are usually used by the tech team, but they can also be beneficial to the supervisors who prefer to monitor their subordinates in real time;
  • Self-monitoring modules. Some programs offer self-monitoring interfaces that allow employees to monitor their own productivity and organize themselves without the supervisors’ involvement.

Note: All the above-mentioned tracking functions should be activated strictly during the working hours – and only work accounts should be monitored. Avoid the very possibility of gaining access to employees’ personal data in order to protect yourself from legal problems (that’s why we didn’t mention monitoring tools like camera or microphone control).

An image of a Big Brother boss peering over your shoulder is often what comes to mind when we think of tracking software for remote workers. In reality, though, the benefits go far beyond micromanagement. If used thoughtfully, tracking software can be a powerful tool for both employers and employees in the remote work landscape.

For Employers:

  • Boosted Productivity: Trackers provide insights into time spent on tasks, helping identify areas for improvement and optimize workflows. They offer comprehensive analysis of team data that helps discover underutilized tools or repetitive processes and streamline operations for smoother and faster work.
  • Enhanced Time Management: Trackers reveal individual and team work patterns, enabling better scheduling and resource allocation. This helps managers make better data-driven decisions regarding project deadlines and staffing needs, ensuring everyone is working efficiently.
  • Improved Communication and Collaboration: Tracking software often integrates with communication platforms, fostering transparency and visibility into project progress. Real-time updates and clear task ownership keep everyone informed and on the same page, even if the team members are miles apart.

For Employees:

  • Increased Accountability and Focus: Trackers can help remote workers stay on track and avoid distractions. Knowing that their activity is being monitored can encourage more focus during work and help overcome procrastination, leading to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Trackers can accurately log working hours, preventing work from bleeding into personal matters. This helps remote workers establish healthy boundaries and maintain a balanced lifestyle, which ultimately leads to increased happiness and improved well-being of employees.
  • Data-Driven Performance Feedback: Trackers provide managers with objective data on employee performance, enabling more constructive and informed feedback. This data-driven approach allows for personalized feedback and targeted development plans, empowering employees to grow and excel in their roles.

Organizing remote work processes

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever tools you choose to use to monitor your remote employees, that’s all they are – tools. We’ve already touched on that in our article that describes the pros and cons of employees monitoring. In addition to establishing monitoring, you need to be mindful of the following aspects:

  1. Technical equipment. Each employee should have everything they need to carry out their duties. This usually includes a computer with required software, a smartphone, and consistent access to the Internet;
  2. Clear understanding among employees of their tasks and deadlines. While in the office employees are constantly involved in the work processes (they engage in conversations with their superiors and colleagues, participate in meetings, etc.), when working from home, employees feel separated from the rest of the team. To bridge this distance, you need to:
    • Organize work environment for the teams, departments or even the whole company with the help of services like Asana and Trello;
    • Take care of communications, be it Telegram chats, Zoom conferences, etc.;
    • Maintain constant monitoring of the situation. You should keep a close eye on each employee, the level of their involvement and motivation (which’s why emotional intelligence nowadays is considered one of the main competencies of a manager). In order to maintain the contact that’s required for such control, you need to communicate with your subordinates during meetings and team briefings, which become even more important when it comes to monitoring remote employees.

Another essential thing to remember is that managers need to be tactful and considerate. Constant micromanagement, like calling an employee who took five minutes off work to check news and reprimanding them, demotivates remote employees and exhausts their energy. They become stressed and feel like they’re being constantly watched. That’s why supervisors should be in touch with everything that’s happening in the company, yet only reveal that awareness to their subordinates in extreme cases.

Most often, automatic notifications on violations offered by pretty much all employee monitoring software will suffice. These notifications depersonalize the warnings, don’t provoke unnecessary negative reaction from employees and don’t make them feel like the big brother is watching. What’s more, such notifications can help you build a new KPI that’s simple and easy to understand.

For example, Kickidler employee monitoring software provides reports on the number of notifications the system issues to an employee over a certain period of time. Explain to your both office and remote employees that you provide them with the option of self-monitoring because you believe in their commitment and motivation. However, if someone gets more than 5 warnings in a day, you'll be forced to monitor them more closely.

Comprehensive remote monitoring isn't a one-size-fits-all process. Your toolkit should adapt to your team's needs, balancing both data-driven software insights and employee trust. Beyond time trackers, consider tools like:

  • Project management platforms: Trello's task boards and Asana's workflows reveal potential progress bottlenecks.
  • Communication platforms: Slack's active channels and Microsoft Teams' file sharing aid with improvement of collaboration and responsiveness.
  • Performance dashboards: Tracking sales numbers, project deadlines, and client satisfaction levels provide an objective overview of individual and team productivity.

Kickidler is truly an unmatched solution when it comes to capturing more insightful details. Its screen recording feature provides context for time tracking, and its website and application monitoring feature identifies productivity drains. But you should keep in mind that software metrics are just guides. Use them to encourage open conversations, not build digital traps. Trust, clear expectations, and focus on growth are the true keys to unlocking remote team success.

The main conclusion to be drawn from experience is this – the less apparent monitoring of remote employees, the better. Ideally, you receive comprehensive information on every move your subordinates make, and, while they’re aware of it, they don’t actually notice such monitoring. Collecting data, automating notifications on violations and avoiding putting constant pressure on your subordinates – that's the most effective approach right there.


How Can I Monitor My Employees Working Remotely?

Monitoring remote workers is about building trust, not walls. Focus on collaborative tools like project management platforms and communication apps. Track employee overall progress, not their keystrokes. Set clear goals and empower team members to take responsibility for their work. Open communication is key: explain tools that are being used and the purpose of using them. Regular check-ins and employee feedback replace constant oversight. Remember, it is employee trust that fosters accountability, not tracking software.

What Are The Methods Of Employee Monitoring?

Methods range from subtle to overt monitoring: time trackers monitor keystrokes and mouse clicks; project management platforms display task progress; communication tools reveal chat frequency.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Manage Employees Remotely?

Managing remote teams thrives on trust and the right tools. Employee monitoring software isn't a spy cam, it's a guide in productivity. It tracks progress, not pixels, revealing bottlenecks and optimizing workflows. It helps improve project transparency, empower informed feedback, and free employees from constant anxiety.

What Are The Considerations For Remote Working?

While employee monitoring software does boost productivity and helps streamline workflow, keep in mind that it's just one tool in your toolbox. Prioritize open communication, set clear expectations, and focus on outcomes, not micromanagement.

Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software

Alicia Rubens

As a tech enthusiast and senior writer at Kickidler, I specialize in creating insightful content that helps businesses optimize their workforce management.

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