How to Know if Your Remote Employees are Working from Home?

Remote jobs are now no longer a strange career for employees. More and more companies are adapting the remote job culture. Companies like xteam who have their employees fully working remote were very less affected by COVID-19 and the lockdown. Current trends clearly indicate that more companies will be allowing their employees to work from home by the end of 2022. There are lots of benefits to having your employees remote. Here are some of the major benefits.

  1. You can cut your office spaces and expenses
  2. Hire the right team
  3. Flexible working time

Automattic, the founder company of WordPress has its full team of more than 1100 employees remote, spreading around 70 countries all over the world..

We are going through a tough time like never before. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced 80% of the companies to have their employees work from home. As we all know, working from home can be really unproductive if not monitored in the right way. Your employees can easily fall into the trap of easy-going attitude and laziness. So how can an employer make sure that his employee is working from home and being productive? Let’s have a look. I am sharing this from my experience of 9 years working remotely.

1. Make sure your employees have the right work environment.

Your work station is one of the key pillars of success as an employee. As an employer, you have to ensure that your employees have the best work station befitting the culture of your company. This is why good companies provide high-end laptops for their employees. This won’t give a chance for the employee to blabber about a slow performing or an inefficient computer. We can often see remote employees finding excuses from being productive by complaining about a slow pc, bad internet connection, faulty headset, etc. By providing high-end work stations, an employer can avoid this kind of scenario.

2. Install a proper time tracking software.

Time tracking and employee productivity Softwares like Hubstaff can properly track how much hours your employee is actively working on each day.

How does a time tracking software work?

Time tracking software works based on your activity. You can set an idle time in Hubstaff say 5 minutes, for example, if your computer doesn’t have any activity for 5 minutes the software will turn idle and time won’t be tracked further. If you don’t have a keypress or mouse movement in 5 minutes, Hubstaff considers that you are idle and won’t track time until you become active(a keypress, mouse movement, etc). In short, even if your employee turns on Hubstaff, if he doesn’t work the time will be discarded.

They have lots of features like

Time tracking – Tracks how many hours an employee works each day. The employer can also track when an employee logged in and logged out.

Weekly reports – These softwares are highly organized, they’ll send weekly/monthly reports with the working time and other details of the employee to the employer

Screenshots – Hubstaff can take regular screenshots in each interval and send it to the employer. Normally Hubstaff takes a screenshot every 10 minutes. By checking screenshots, you can monitor what kind of things your employee is running on the computer. In short, if your employee uses Facebook during working hours, you’ll get that as a screenshot in Hubstaff.

Efficiency Tracker – Hubstaff has an inbuilt algorithm through which the employer can track the efficiency of the employee. This amazing piece of software tracks your keypress and mouse movements and builds an efficiency score in percentage. If your employee is highly efficient, the efficiency score will be high. Generally above 50% is considered highly efficient in Hubstaff. If the efficiency score is below 30% it means that your employee output is low or working inefficiently. Let’s say your employee tracked time for 8 hours, but an efficiency score of 25% means that out of the 8 hours, the employee worked efficiently for 2 hours only. This makes

Payment report– You can set an hourly rate for your employee in Hubstaff and pay accordingly as well. This feature helps an employer to pay only for the time which the employee has worked.

3. Make sure your employees doesnt have free time.

What if your employees had deadlines to meet each and every day. Just think of that day where all your employees worked late at night to meet the deadline of a project. Commitments force the employees to stay out of laziness and be productive. Make your deadlines strict and you will start seeing the difference.

4. Make sure your trak time for each and every tasks

99% of the task management software does have a time logging feature. Why is this important? Well, the time tracker software like Hubstaff just tracks the hours worked by the employees. Like say an employee worked for 7.5 hours the whole day. Forcing your employees to log their time (for every task) helps you to track the productivity of your employee(or like how much billable hours the employee is working on a project. Most of the task management Softwares does have monthly timesheet reports through which we can analyze how much an employee is contributing to a company.

Companies that are concerned about employee productivity do a monthly timesheet analysis and if an employee has less time logged than expected( 160 hours a month, or like let’s say less than 120 hours) the lead personally calls and enquires about this. This procedure makes you able to understand if your employee is low on tasks and assign more tasks.

This process is super important if your employees are working remote.

5. Regular video conferencing and calls

No remote team can sustain with out regular meetings and conferences. Setup meetings in a regular fashion,

For example:

  • Monday morning weekly meetings – A weekly monday morning meeting while your employees get into work.
  • Tuesday internal department calls – A lead can talk with his team regarding ongoing projects and future plans
  • Wednesday client calls – Support calls for clients along with your employees.
  • Thursday company-wide meetings – Every member of your firm come together for a video call and discussing work, life, and fun
  • Friday happy hours – A fun meeting at the end of the week 1 hour before office hours.

This kind of call structure makes your remote employees feel like they are really a part of the organization. Video calls are the best way to execute this. Some employees might be shy or not that confident to show their faces in video calls that they cut the video and join with audio. Well, this might be comfortable for the employees, but if you force every employee to turn their video on, its a different kind of interaction and it can bring in many superior results than audio calls. Enforcing video regularly helps your remote employees to come out of their comfort zones, moreover face to face interactions establish more connections with the employees. Video conferencing is also the best way to build team interaction and establish a bond between employees.

6. Treat them like real employees, make them feel it

When it comes to working from home, the biggest challenge for the employees is how to tackle isolation and boredom. They might be loving what they are doing, they might be happy with the salary, but many of the employees might be missing that connection, friendship, and fun of a real office. Many remote companies make this big mistake of treating the remote employees like just work employees without any emotional connection.

Good companies treat their remote employees like any normal employee and make them feel it. The remote employee should really feel like a part of the organization and this can create an emotional commitment to the organization. You can build this emotional connection, through frequent video calls, talking personal matters apart from work, fun activities{like company games, contests etc}. What I am saying is this kind of emotional connection can improve the trust of a remote employee to the employer and work more dedicated. He really feels like a part of the organization and works hard for the betterment of the firm. This indeed is another tip for an employer to make sure that his remote employee is working productively from his home.

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