No question that managing remote employees can be a challenge. But with the right tools in your toolkit, it’s doable. This blog will share tips and strategies for keeping tabs on your remote team and ensuring they’re productive and happy. Let’s get started!
Managing Remote Employees & Employee Monitoring
Employee monitoring is the use of various surveillance methods to ensure employee productivity while working. Employee monitoring includes onsite workplaces, such as retail outlets, factories, offices, and offsite or remote environments. There are two primary purposes for employee monitoring:
- The purpose of employee monitoring is to collect information and monitor certain types of employee behavior during scheduled working hours. The term “employee monitoring” does have a negative connotation; however, monitoring employees supports employee engagement and health & safety issues.
- The second purpose is to monitor certain types of employee behavior on the company network that can put an organization at risk.
Note: In this article, we will focus on monitoring employees and employees’ work in the context of managing (people) remote employees, remote team members, and the remote environment.
Hold Regularly Scheduled Team & Individual Remote Meetings – Set Meeting Expectations
Remote or virtual meetings are meetings that take place across geographic locations. Remote meetings support communication between employers, employees, clients, and business partners. Remote meetings have become a critical tool for managing remote workers and the remote work environment generally!
Three common types of virtual meetings include:
- Teleconferencing is call-based meetings with various participants dialing into a joint conference call bridge using assigned passcodes to participate. They are audio-only meetings ideal for small to medium-sized groups from different geographic locations.
- Video Conferencing is video conferencing meetings that make use of both audio and visual mediums. The combination of webcams and meeting software allows employees and remote teams in different locations to hold regular company meetings. Remote workers with mobile devices, PCs, and an internet connection can participate.
- Web Conferencing is an online service that facilitates team meetings, presentations, and conferences through the internet. Participants can hold a web conference using PCs or mobile devices. Web conferences encourage team members, managers, and remote employees to collaborate online and share documents or screens. (Also provide for face-to-face interaction)
Virtual meetings support remote work environments since remote teams and employees do not have to be physically present at the same location. Further, they allow for flexibility in terms of meeting times. Having more virtual meetings also means more employees can work remotely and, at the same time, maintain consistent communication with team members.
Set expectations, employees should be prepared, punctual and ready to participate.
Note: Effective virtual meetings require a clear agenda and good time management; recommended reading: Creating an Effective Staff Meeting Agenda
Work with Employees to Set Daily & Weekly Goals
“Start by discussing and setting agreed-upon goals with your remote employees. Measuring remote employee productivity involves thinking about issues such as quality of work, the number of tasks completed, and ability to finish tasks in a timely manner.” –Carol Cochran, VP at FlexJobs
Goal setting and its influence on employee behavior and performance have been widely researched in academia and by private business. In short, it is a proven motivator. Successful goal-setting strategies will result in employees being more motivated to complete specific tasks, higher morale, and a more effective workplace.
- Individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when measured and recorded.
- Employees are ten times more successful than those without goals. (Harvard Business, 2020)
- Goal achievement increases threefold when they are written down (Harvard Business, 2020)
Use the SMART methodology of goal setting as the foundation for employee goals:
- Specific: Specific Goals have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished.
- Measurable: A goal must-have criteria for measuring progress. Without benchmarks, it is challenging to determine progress or if reaching the goal is possible.
- Attainable: The goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help figure out ways to realize the goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be designed to challenge remote employees and teams but defined well enough that they will achieve it.
- Relevant: the goal must be achievable given available resources and time.
- Time-Based: the goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no urgency factor and less motivation to achieve the goal.
Utilize TimeWellScheduled’s Time and Attendance Software
TimeWellscheduled’s time and attendance system provides all the tools and features businesses need for managing remote teams and individual employees. As companies change to remote work arrangements, the information, tools, and technology must be available to ensure remote workers are productive, paid accurately, and accountable for their work.
TimeWellScheduled’s staff management system and scheduling software enhance remote management infrastructure to track remote teams effectively.
TimeWellScheduled’s system allows companies to set up remote work locations for individual employees or the entire business:
- Use the app or browser to capture employee locations
- Design the time tracking system to cover specific remote work locations
Geofencing is a solution that limits where remote employees can punch in. It uses GPS tracking technology integrated into the TimeWellScheduled app or browser. This feature ensures remote workers are at the right location during their scheduled working hours. Managers can decide how stringent or flexible the remote work arrangement needs to be.
TimeWellScheduled’s payroll system is user-friendly. With a simple click and download, your data is out of our system and ready to be loaded into your payroll without the need for calculations or to manually enter time cards. We are fully integrated with the following payroll systems: EasyPay, Desjardins, Ceridian, MYOB, Simply Accounting, Payworks, PayWeb, ADP, PeachTree, QuickBooks, Nethris, Sage 50
Keep remote teams connected with your business, whether they need to be notified about shift start times, shift changes, or open shifts. Notifications (instant messaging) are delivered by Email, SMS, Slack, or app.
Employees have their own unique portal to manage their messages, check their schedules, and request time off. There is no need for post-it notes, documents, or paperwork.
TimeWellscheduled’s app is available on both android and iOS systems. The app allows coworkers and managers to communicate with each other and the scheduling and attendance system. For example, the app provides convenient access to the schedule, scheduling changes, message notifications, time clock punches, and geofencing.
Lastly, TimeWellScheduled will help track remote workers in real-time and the location the employees are working at. TimeWellScheduled has an up-to-the-minute dashboard informing management about employees’ current and past work sites during their scheduled shifts. Let TimeWellScheduled do the monitoring for you.
Click here to learn more about managing remote teams and employees!
Ensure Accountability by Measure Employee Results
Employees who know what result is expected will feel more accountable and engaged. Therefore, it is good practice to have key performance indicators (KPIs) for each remote team and employee, depending on the scope and nature of their work.
Key performance indicators and metrics are industry, company, and job-specific. However, some KPIs to consider include:
- meeting attendance and participation rate
- participation in company-provided training
- Survey and feedback participation
- Frequency of communication between team members and leaders
Metrics should be designed to measure specific performance and organization-relevant results. Above are just a few examples; metrics must be industry, company, team and role specific.
Consistently Support & Engage Employees
Employees feel attached when they know the company values/appreciates their effort, even though they work remotely. Likewise, managers appreciate it when other employees check in with them and work together to adhere to the company’s values when they are engaged.
“Most employees who work remotely enjoy it, primarily because of the flexibility it gives them in terms of when and where they work. By taking away employees’ sense of flexibility and self-direction, overzealous monitoring may cancel out the benefits to their engagement and productivity,” –Blakeley Hartfelder, research director at Gartner
Below are three effective ways to facilitate employee engagement:
Feedback: Feedback becomes even more important when working remotely. Working from home is not a trend anymore; it’s here to stay. For this reason, it’s crucial to check in with peers regularly, understand how to support them from a distance, and ensure that everyone stays aligned.
Recognition: Recognizing remote employees increases intrinsic motivation and improves employee connections across the organization. Unfortunately, many remote employees feel isolated and overwhelmed during unprecedented times (such as the covid pandemic). When employees do good work, bosses must notice, compliment, or reward them. Also, managers need to provide emotional support to employees when necessary.
Surveys: Send a strong signal to employees that they are valued, their contribution matters, and their opinions are appreciated. It is also vital to encourage remote employees to discuss issues of morale, satisfaction, and motivation; surveys are a valuable tool for capturing this kind of information. Two types of surveys provide critical feedback to managers, they are:
- Satisfaction surveys Indicate how satisfied employees are with their organization and identify problem areas that can be addressed through coaching and training.
- Engagement surveys: Assess employees’ motivation levels, highlighting where businesses can improve employee development initiatives.
- Employee Self-Assessments & Self-improvement plans: These assessments provide employees with opportunities to constructively review their performance, share ideas about what has been working well, what needs improving, a plan to improve and and goals to measure their progress and performance.
As employees migrate to companies willing to facilitate work-life balance, managers are finding more and more that remote work arrangements are here to stay. However, while there are many benefits to remote work, there are also new and evolving challenges that managers and employees will have to confront, including employees.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 62% of employees believe working remotely positively impacts employee engagement.
Encourage Employee Skill Development
Remote working arrangements can provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills and an excellent time for managers to facilitate it. Employees who receive regular training demonstrate improved skills and knowledge, increased productivity, and greater confidence in their abilities. In addition, company-sponsored professional development helps remote employees establish goals and provides the resources to achieve them.
Examples of remote training tools that are cost-effective and readily available:
- eLearning courses
- Company-sponsored YouTube videos
- Google Classroom (Microsoft teams)
- Learning Apps, audiobooks, webinars
Learning software and technology provides a wide range of mediums and methods to deliver training cost effectively to remote employees.
Managing and leading remote teams is challenging, but it’s doable with the right tools and TimeWellScheduled’s time and attendance system. This article shared tips and tools to manage remote employees in remote work environments effectively. By holding regularly scheduled meetings, setting daily and weekly goals, utilizing time tracking software, consistently engaging employees, and encouraging employee training & development, businesses can keep remote teams engaged, satisfied, and productive.
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TimeWellScheduled.com is a secure, online time and attendance software that is 100% tailored to meet your scheduling needs! In addition, TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance tracking, payroll tasks, and enhances your staff management capabilities. Plus, our service is free for up to 10 employees!
Click: here to download our (Excel) employee scheduling template, IT’s FREE!