For most companies, working remotely is already a part of the culture but there are still many companies for which it’s fairly new. By now, lots of tools are available to help make the remote team a functional part of the business.
It is already a pain to manage the payroll of employees in-house. When the remote workers are in the mix, tracking their work hours becomes more challenging. Flexible work hours certainly give workers freedom but it is distracting especially when there is no boundary between work and personal stuff.
So how do you know your employees are actually working in the set work hours? Setting up a time and attendance system for remote workers sounds cool, but there’s more you can do. For example:
- Set task deadlines
There are always employees in a remote team who work just enough not to get fired. You can override this attitude by distributing tasks to the team members and assigning deadlines. Once your workers take ownership of their task, their attitude towards completing it on time will change. You can also remind your team about the deadlines so that they don’t slack off.
- Monitor when they are at their desk
It’s obvious that when you are working from home, you will have to answer the phone or doorbell. You are likely to be distracted by kids and spouse too.
So how does a manager know his remote employees are at their desk? What if the employee forgets to turn off the time tracking software and it continuously records the time spent at work incorrectly?
Tools like timedoctor display how much time a worker logged from his desk during the day. It monitors the mouse and keyboard activity of the user. So, if the employee is away from his desk, the tool will not track those hours.
- Ask for an end of the day report summary
It’s very important that your employees send their daily report summarizing the tasks they have performed throughout the day. This will help you ensure that they are actually getting their tasks done. You will always know what projects they worked on each day. They won’t be able to waste the entire day doing nothing.
- Talk face to face
When you are managing a team of remote employees, you cannot neglect the importance of video calls. It makes them feel a part of the team. As the shift starts, do a conference call in which the team discusses the task they will be working on. This will also help the remote employees connect with those who are sitting in the office.
- Set a Schedule
How can you be sure your remote team and an in-house team is on the same page? The answer is simple. By setting online meetings every day. When everyone is available and connected at the same time, productivity will increase. No one will have to wait to get answers or feedback.
That calls for setting a schedule. For instance, make it mandatory for all employees to be online from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Even if it is for a few hours, all employees will stay connected. This will also ensure that they are online and working on their task of the day.
- Don’t just track presence, track performance too
As an employer, you would expect your remote staff to work the same hours as the in-house team. When time zones are different, whether you like it or not, you have to give your remote workers some flexibility. So, does it even matter if they start their work at 4 a.m. and finish by noon when all the projects are at a satisfactory pace? They might have hours in which they are most productive and that’s when they choose to work.
Yes, remote workers enjoy all these benefits which is why you can’t just make them sit alone throughout the 8-hour shift. So, don’t just focus on the presence, make sure they are performing well too. After all, you would want them to give their best to the company.
No doubt managing remote workers is challenging. For companies that are accustomed to the idea of having in-house employees, shifting to a remote work environment can be difficult. A good thing is lots of tools are now available that help track work hours and productivity.
Even if the employee’s performance is great, it is still recommended to follow the tips mentioned above to account for their work hours. When your employees will know that their daily tasks are being monitored, they won’t slack off.