Nowadays, the world is connected via the internet more than ever. People from different countries and regions can participate on a single project regardless of their location or isolation. Teleworking teams must use telecommunication technologies – Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype, for example – to share information and collaborate in real-time. Managers need to contact and engage their team about their project easily. As some jobs are becoming totally remote and cannot be monitored physically, it’s important to use the proper tools to get and track that information. For manufacturing this is even more difficult with parts of the team on-site while others work from home.
Most jobs are still based on working hours, and it’s very important to keep track of time spent on projects and clients no matter where your employees are located. Yes, people are prone to check social media while working, but this happens in an office setting as well. As an employer you can either track hours or track output.
Tracking output and production will yield better results even if the employee is paid hourly. Employers need to trust their employees whether they are in the office or not. Creating a strategy that focuses on outputs but still quantifies the hours spent is critical to operational success.
It is important to make sure that everyone in the remote team uses the same virtual application and database to manage chats, to-do lists, shared documents, spreadsheets, and other essentials of your projects. For example, anyone can successfully manage a virtual team remotely from anywhere with any device by adopting innovative various cloud products such as Click360 or ULIMI – Reach. (Spoiler alert, we are a bit biased to our solutions). Automation is among the simplest ways to help remote teams get rid of routine tasks and focus on more value-adding activities. There are many AI driven applications available which can be trained to do any such job up to a certain limit. (Contact us if you don’t know where to start!)
To get maximum performance from the workers, there should be a daily/monthly goal target to be achieved. Also, to encourage them, companies can use software to recognize and award a prize amount for the top performers. These small actions have real impact; studies have shown that 69% of people work harder when they feel their efforts are properly recognized. Mutual trust is very important, and trust is built from accountability. There should be clear instructions about the goals. The manager should ask for status updates but not too often. Team integrity should be preserved at any cost.
In order to ensure that employees are spending their time for the job they are being paid for and not for something else, many tools come handy. The tools are easy to implement and can be used to get various levels of statistical analysis that helps the management team to understand problems and identify the employees who are not working as expected. It is even possible to get detailed activity updates of the worker remotely anytime from anywhere without being intrusive. At ULIMI we use an Alexa skill we built to “check-in” on the progress or status of any employee. This comes in handy when managing a globally distributed team but is also very effective for smaller teams that aren’t occupying the same office.
There are other more intrusive ways to track and monitor the performance of your virtual team, but these tools need to be used sparingly and with caution. Advance features like random screenshot taking, site tracking, timer popup etc. prevent the employees to spend billable hours in somewhere else they are not supposed to be, but can lead to anxiety and frustration with your team.
Above all, you must trust your employees to work with or without direct supervision. If you can’t do that, then you’ve hired the wrong people and you have to at least be able to identify your A, B, C, and D players.
Software like ULIMI – Time Clock (Google Assistant Skill), Time Doctor, RescueTime, Timeneye, TopTracker, ClickTime, Everhour give an opportunity to keep track on the employee who is working remotely. With a good time tracking tool, freelancers and contractors have concrete proof of time spent when billing clients. This works as a money-saver for the company. It also reduces the time spent on time-tracking and task management as the tool does it for you. Tracking your time is time consuming. One of our clients who was used to paper time sheets was wasting 15 minutes per day per employee, costing them upwards of $750,000 per year.
As there are records of time spent on each task, clients know exactly which remote work they’re being billed for. It serves as an attendance register with much more details. With Log-in and Log-out time records, it is far more convenient than usual attendance methods. Major features of these tools include Inactivity Tracker, daily timeline reports, attendance reports, web usage reports etc.
This is helpful for both parties. Freelancers and independent contractors can stay assured about time tracking and employee monitoring and also workers are far less likely to face issues when it comes to billing justification and payment. This same rule applies to agencies when it comes to client billing. Time-sheets and activity reports can be shared with clients so that they can closely monitor a project’s progress, and take required steps to improve it. Remote monitoring also offers huge benefits when it comes to management. Team leaders and business owners can focus on core tasks, which helps increase billing and efficiency overall, rather than wasting time on employee monitoring.
With these advanced features, it becomes easier for a company manager to manage a big virtual team. These tools are not totally free, but the price is well worth the services provided.