It may be debatable whether working from home deteriorates the employees' productivity by providing them with unprecedented flexibility, or can actually boost productivity by bringing in a better work-life balance. But as the pandemic is over, it has become quite clear that working from home is here to stay.
Why should you monitor employees working from home? 🏘️
As you have decided to employ people willing to work for you from home or choose to send back your workforce to the house and work from there, it's time to learn how to monitor employees working from home. But before that, we've to focus on the reasons why you should track work-from-home employees.
- WFH employees are prone to distractions -
It’s obvious yet mentionable that while working from home, employees will be distracted by different triggers and disturbances- a well-cooked recipe, children, calling bell, ongoing programs on the TV channels, and many more! Without monitoring, it's tough to have them focused.
- A little thrust can help you get the best out of them -
Monitoring work-from-home employees could be a blessing for both you and your workers. As the employees are working with full-fledged flexibility, a little nudge and heads-up can help them leverage the latitude they enjoy and push their productivity upward.
- Too much flexibility damages productivity -
Yet again, flexibility can act like a killer in disguise. Working in the drawing room in a casual dress without any hustling of office premises would be too comforting, and don’t be surprised if you catch the employees off-guard.
- Increased security -
If you are concerned about cybersecurity or data security, WFH monitoring can help you. Employees using malicious tools or visiting fishy sites can compromise the security of company data. That’s why by monitoring work-from-home employees you can avoid the chance of data theft or security breaches.
How do you know if WFH employees are genuinely working? 🏡
Following are the seven strategies that would be helpful in keeping the WFH (Work from home) employees focused on the work.
- Daily standup meetings or monthly town hall
Every successful company believes in the power of a small standup meeting at the beginning of the work, which can act as a plan-making session. A monthly discussion or a retrospective meeting at the end of any definite time duration can help the company learn from its mistakes and reframe the workflow.
- Set quantifiable goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis -
Setting goals on different time and financial bases can help you stay on track till the goal is successfully pursued. Delegate managers to set goals that are quantifiable and achievable.
- Screenshot of work-from-home employees 📸
Screenshot monitoring software is now everywhere, and it can do magic for you. While monitoring employees working from home, screenshot monitoring software can keep employees accountable for their work by taking screenshots randomly. Few of them also have the option for taking real-time instant screenshots.
- Checking the app usage
Work from home monitoring apps can help you check what software the employees are using during their course of action. That's how you can acknowledge whether they are using the right tools or intentionally wasting their time on different media players!
- Tracking the URLs
It's another strategy for holding the employees on the right track. Checking the websites your employees are visiting is also a metric you can set to see how productive they really are.
- End of day report
You can generate a habit of sending end-of-day reports (EOD reports) to your employees to report their on-day activities and other details.
11 Steps to monitor employees working from home
WFH monitoring is a systematic approach that shouldn’t be embraced with shortcuts; instead, it requires procedural and decisive steps to conquer. There are multiple ways to monitor working from home employees. Here, we have discussed 11 steps for monitoring WFH employees in the most streamlined way.
1. Examine the affordability of a WFH employee monitoring tool
The first step in managing employees working from home is to check the affordability of your business to bring in a work from home employee monitoring tool. You can get a lot of tools in the market that can serve your purpose just as well as you need, but maybe quality maintenance could be a big issue later on.
Then again, bringing highly-priced software can instigate a greater cash outflow which might deter you from paying the other bills. So, finding a ‘Tradeoff point’ is necessary.
2. Implementing work from home monitoring tools
If you are okay with the first step, then it’s time to bring and implement an employee monitoring tool. Again, you can get many in the market but choosing the perfect fit can be time consuming and requires a pre-study session that may take hours.
So, try to compare and contrast your choices and pick the right tool.
3. Tracking employees’ work hours
Employee monitoring tools will be helpful in tracking the work hours of the employees. To supervise the work of work from home employees the first metric is to check their logged time. It will show if they are maintaining respectable figures compared to the standard you set for them.
4. Automated timesheet for employee's work
Management can calculate the number of working hours and overall remuneration for his or her personnel using a timesheet/ timecard calculator. Managers will save time by using an automated timesheet system. Most crucially, this is applicable to freelancers, contractors, and hourly employees employed by your company, among others.
5. Keep in touch with the work-from-home workers
Using some communication apps such as Slack, Zoom, and Google meet can help you stay engaged with your WFH employees. These tools might help you with instant communication or detailed discussion. Keeping in touch with work from home employees significantly reduces the chance of time theft, distractions, and many other issues.
6. Make payroll management agreements
Paying salary and remuneration to your organization's employees must be transparent. Dissatisfaction with your company's pay and wage structure always seems to hurt its performance. Manually review, verify, enter, and analyze employee timesheets every pay period. Furthermore, calculating labor costs using aggregates and spreadsheets to manage paid and unpaid time takes time. Apploye allows you to calculate compensation and wages based on working hours precisely.
7. Employee self-reporting options
Reporting has proven to be an effective method of keeping track of employees from an early stage. It is now common practice for WFH employees to clock in and out using an employee monitoring app, which they can access from any device.
8. Check the employee attendance
Checking attendance and making sure that employees are at their desks is a simple yet important task for any HR manager. You can check the best clock-in and out apps out there, which will help you maintain this.
9. Create video recordings to answer employee issues
Your employees will be able to solve their difficulties much more quickly in the office setting. They can come to you during office hours, but it's far more difficult for work-from-home employees who work in various time zones to receive the assistance they require. It will be more beneficial to create solution videos and distribute them to the employees in order to resolve a situation like this.
10. Keep track of employee productivity
An overview of productivity can be obtained by evaluating employees' performance and dedication during working hours. If you have concerns about someone's performance, you can use any of the employee monitoring software to examine screen recordings, files, folders, programs, and websites opened during working hours.
11. Evaluate the employee performance based on the reports
This is the last step of your systematic monitoring and surveillance activity. The report generated by the employee monitoring software would be helpful to evaluate the employees based on the performance they showed, the boxes they ticked, and the tasks they have successfully executed.
That’s how a comprehensive process of monitoring WFH employees can be completed.
What to remember while monitoring WFH employees 💻
Three things you must remember while monitoring work-from-home employees. They are as follows:
- Respect employee privacy during WFH monitoring
Every individual deserves respect for their secrecy. If, as an employer, you walk through that private part and neglect the fine line between monitoring and scrutinizing, then you’ll lose your respect too.
- Don’t run into micromanagement
Monitoring doesn’t mean you have to be there 24/7. Supervising doesn’t tell you to make employees uncomfortable in their job. So, micromanaging is an urge that must be suppressed no matter what.
- You can’t monitor everything, so you don’t need to.
You don't need to be concerned about everything an employee does. You are expected to monitor only those activities that matter. So, don't overburden yourself.
Apploye - The Ultimate Tool to Monitor Employees Working From Home 🏠
Apploye could be the desired WFH monitoring tool for you if you wonder how to track employees working from home effectively or not . The pricing of Apploye is reasonable but it gives away comparatively more features than its competitors. Some of them are
🌟 Clock-in and attendance
The time tracking feature of Apploye offer Clock-In Clock-out, Time entry notes, Pomodoro Timer, Billable hours tracking, etc. There is an option for idle time monitoring as well. These are useful in monitoring work from home workers.
🌟WFH employee monitoring
For monitoring remote employees or WFH employees, the RemoteTrack option of Apploye is bliss! It offers random screenshots, URL tracking, and Apps usage. You can easily know which software your employees are using or which website your employees are visiting. There is an option for real-time instant screenshots as well.
🌟 Reporting & dashboard
The dashboard of Apploye is an extensive one that offers everything from the total hours worked by the team to top-performing employees based on time logged and productivity. You can get activity analytics reports in different time duration, which are exportable.
🌟 Task Management
Via Apploye task timer, you can create & assign tasks to the employees directly. Employees can create their own tasks under assigned projects as well. You can also see the task-wise time log for all employees.
🌟 Projects & budgeting
Project management with time tracking is straightforward with Apploye. Through Apploye, you will be able to open numerous projects, assign people, set the budget, see the progress in terms of time spent and cost, set budget alerts, and many other things.
As it is said that working from home is now the new normal, adapting to this new practice must be done methodically with proper measures. If you fail to monitor employees working from home, you will be far behind those that embraced and mastered it. So, the sooner you sharpen your monitoring weapons, the better it is for your business.