Switching office-based teams to remote work in the middle of a pandemic was a stressful process for thousands of companies in 2020. Even more so if you had never worked remotely before. In an instant, you had to think about equipment, internet speed, and potential security issues, while simultaneously worrying about the health of the people closest to you.
Amidst the sudden work from home chaos, business owners and managers were faced with all kinds of new challenges and questions. How will you make sure your employees stay productive? Will you be able to give them more flexible work hours? And how will you track their hours (especially if you’re working with hourly workers)?
Most employers decided to tackle these fresh challenges by tracking work from home with some type of a monitoring solution — and they reaped amazing benefits. If you’re one of those employers who is still debating whether or not to start monitoring work from home, keep reading, as we’ll explore the benefits of doing so.
Ensuring Your Team Isn’t Overworked
It’s much easier for people to overwork themselves when they’re working from home. “I’ll just do this one quick thing before bed” can quickly turn into hours of overtime which could easily go unnoticed (and unpaid).
The result of such behaviour is burnout and employee dissatisfaction, which ultimately lead to poor performance that is costly for your company. Even if your company has generous overtime policies, extra paid hours can still weigh on an employee’s wellbeing.
Monitoring software lets you keep a better eye on employee workloads and wellbeing.
When you track work from home with software, your employees use it to clock-in/out of devices, so you can clearly see when they started working, how long they worked, and what they were doing during work hours. Then, you can adjust workloads accordingly with a focus on employee wellness.
Additionally, some solutions have a project management feature, which gives you a clear picture of what everyone on your team is working on. With this oversight, it’s easy to notice which employees might have too many tasks and who can pick up extra tasks.
Remember, happy employees are productive employees — and those overworking themselves are very unlikely to be happy.
Keeping Everyone Productive
As easy as it is to overwork yourself when working from home, it’s even easier to go in the other direction and procrastinate excessively. Monitoring software helps stop the desire to sneak in some Netflix or while away hours on social media to keep employee minds on the job.
That said, it’s important to understand that you can’t expect anyone to be 100% productive all the time. Reading a little bit of news, briefly scrolling through social media, or doing some shopping is alright occasionally. It’s a way for employees to rest and relax, before they continue working on their tasks.
However, if non-work related behaviour becomes common practice, your company will lose time, money, and possibly customers along the way.
Monitoring solutions are incredibly effective at preemptively addressing the temptation to slack off. Employees know their work will be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis, so it serves as a deterrent.
The deterrence effect won’t last forever, though. And it shouldn’t be relied on in isolation. To dig deeper and get your employees performing at their best, make sure that you use all the data available to find out what makes your employees unproductive.
For instance, maybe employees don’t have enough skills to complete a task, or maybe they aren’t sure how to prioritize their workload. Either way, ensure you use monitoring data as the basis for conversation with your employees. The beauty of monitoring software is that it helps you uncover the causes of unproductive behavior, which you’ll be able to resolve by working together with your employees.
Since mandatory work from home started, some countries have introduced regulations to ensure that employers aren’t using the situation to push their teams into overtime constantly.
As part of these new regulations, you might have the obligation to save the data about employees working hours, depending on where you are located.
When tracking work from home, you’ll be required to adhere to the current regulations of your country — which monitoring software will help you do — as well as typical international standards, such as EU Work Time Directive or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the US.
Easier Project Management
Some tracking solutions give you an option to track time on projects and tasks. They usually include a Kanban board where you can easily view every project, who’s working on what, and review all activities in a given timeframe.
Not only that, project management enabled solutions will give you accurate insights into the time each project or task takes, helping you bill your clients accordingly and avoid any potential misunderstandings that lead to project blowouts or shortfalls.
With some monitoring solutions, there are even options to let your clients login and review the data related to their projects, so communication over the course of the project can be minimized and seamless.
The data you collect about projects can also help you make better estimates, increase your profitability, and create benchmarks based on historical projects and tasks.
These are just some of the benefits you’ll get by tracking work from home. The full capabilities of monitoring software are best experienced through a free trial or demo that most software companies offer.
Keep in mind, monitoring solutions vary — and so will the advantages you get. Beyond just the software’s functionality, the solution your team needs also depends on your goals, the structure of your team, your work time, and the way you plan to use the monitoring software.
So, when tracking work from home, first get clear with your needs and goals. Then, use this as the guiding plan to find the solution that’s right for you.
Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.