Coping with a dispersed workforce with remote employee tracking is nothing new. However, as the world has transformed due to the various contagion control measures that have been put in place around the world in recent times the requirement to track remote workers has grown exponentially. For many managers who have never needed to consider the implications before, this has presented numerous challenges. How will they monitor their team’s activities, assign tasks or rate performance? Above all, perhaps, how will they ensure productivity does not nose dive?
The answer to these questions – and many more – is mobile workforce technology that employees can use on a self-serve basis and that managers can use to keep on top of all the key performance indicators. Modern remote time tracking software allows managers and directors to stay in control of their workforce, whether they are working from home, in the field or even on the other side of the planet. In other words, the software tools to assist you in a changing world are already there. How you deploy them will come down to the sort of business you run, of course.
So, if you are new to managing a remote workforce and need to upskill so that your company or departmental performance does not drop, then read on to find out everything you need to know.
Assist With Remote Workstations
Not every employee will be comfortable working from home. Most will learn to adjust but you will probably find it beneficial to have some common standards that you expect of your workers. This might come down to something as straightforward as encouraging a good posture by using a proper workstation at the right height. Laptops are very useful mobile working tools but they can make workers adopt poor posture. Supply hardware like monitors and Bluetooth keyboards so this sort of equipment can be arranged optimally on desk spaces just as you would provide in the office. Sometimes, you might even like to consider offering the use of an office chair to help. It is all about remaining comfortable and thereby boosting productivity, after all.
Secondly, it is always a good idea to encourage your team to work from a dedicated space so that their work-life balance is not compromised too much by the new arrangements. This might mean letting them know that this mode of operation will be in place for the foreseeable future.
Alter Your Communication Style
The way you communicate will necessarily change with a remote workforce. Sure, you will still use email but you won’t always be able to back up written communications with verbal clarifications or by merely altering the tone of your voice to add context to what you are saying. Therefore, you will probably need to rely more on phone calls and – where possible – on video conferencing. That said, it is easy to go overboard with video meetings. By all means, use them but run meetings formally with an agenda. Otherwise, they will ramble on. Convey what you need to and try to bring them to an end ahead of schedule. Video meetings that overrun can be soul-destroying for managers and team members alike.
Again, good remote time tracking software will help you to keep your workers’ meetings on time because it can notify you when meetings you are not virtually attending overrun and need to be wound up. In short, the right communication strategy will allow you to say things as and when they are needed but without overdoing it. Too much communication can be as problematic as too little. Bear in mind that remote workers are often less inclined to ask questions of managers than they would had they been in the office. Therefore, check on team members from time to time, especially those you have not spoken to in a while. It helps to ensure workers are not drifting away from their key tasks too much.
Think About Worker’s All-Round Well-Being
Working from home is something many workers greatly appreciate but there are undoubted downsides to go along with the obvious benefits. Some people will struggle without the social interactions of the office or the chance to simply get out of the house during the day! It will affect some people’s mental health while others might feel under-motivated and need some form of inspiration.
As such, remote employee tracking should be as much about helping employees to maintain a healthy attitude to work as keeping an eye on whether they are working or not. In some cases, it will help you to identify someone who is doing too much, perhaps so overloaded with tasks that they risk burning out. Without the right monitoring tools, this can be a real problem for managers who may lose valued team members simply because of the additional pressures of working from home.
Choose the Right Software Tools
Workforce management software is beneficial in numerous ways. It is not simply about keeping tabs on employees and seeing who is at their workstation. When you start to learn how powerful it can be, you will soon see that it offers many more insights into your team member’s individual performances than you could have hoped to glean from simply sitting in the same office together.
Whether you want more effective data management throughout your workforce or want to make your payroll function more accurate than it otherwise would have been, there are tried and tested software systems out there. These provide turnkey solutions to most of the common business challenges that companies face when they shift towards a remote worker type of operation. Obviously, you will want to make the right investment from an established software supplier who can provide you with all the functionality you need to make a go of a remote workforce model. Such software suites are just waiting to be rolled out in your organisation, offering managers all of the tools they will need to manage a remote workforce successfully.