Remote work is more in demand than ever before and it’s also becoming more widely accepted despite the many challenges and limitations along the way, including working hours compliance, communication and task monitoring. But good remote work policies and organization have made it possible after all. And in addition, PC monitoring software is a great tool for enabling this system to function across many different industries and organizational business types.
But before you go ahead and implement this international time clock software for tracking computer activity of your remote workforce that might even be spread across countries and continents, there are four extremely important things you need to take into consideration.
1. Laws and Regulations
Yes, laws - plural. It’s not enough to just check what the law in your own country says about employee monitoring. Seeing that, for example, you can implement time tracking software in India and assuming that you can do the same in all other countries where your employees are located may land you in trouble.
The good news is that monitoring is very rarely outright illegal (provided, of course, it’s done for work purposes), but you still need to read the fine print for every country of residence. For instance, using employee time tracking software in Canada is legal if you notify your workers about the process. Similar thing goes for implementing time tracking software in Australia - you have to inform your employees at least two weeks before you start monitoring them.
So, get informed, consult your legal team if necessary and, regardless of whether you’re forced to or not, tell your remote workers that you’ll be tracking their computer use.
2. Technical Requirements
One other thing that you need to consider regarding your employee tracking system before you even decide to buy this software is how you’re going to implement it on your employees’ computers remotely.
Nowadays, the computer tracking solutions have become sophisticated enough to let you store all the data on the cloud and track work hours online, but even more importantly for this topic, you can install the monitoring software remotely by simply sending your telecommuters an email invite. So look for the tool that will make this process as easy as possible.
Another thing to consider, especially if you’re planning to install the system on workers’ personal machines, is operating system compatibility. Just like with laws, you can’t be too egocentric in estimating what you’re going to need. If you decide to go with time tracking app Mac version because that’s the system that you’re using and it turns out that most of your remote workers use Windows, you’ll have to do it all over again.
So make sure you cover as much ground with this as you can - sure, get a time tracking Mac software, but check whether you also got a timer app for Windows or maybe even Linux. Luckily, most modern software work on all major operating systems, but it definitely can’t hurt to double-check.
Knowing how to track your employees when they’re working from home without hurting their personal privacy is an important prerequisite for this system to work for both sides. In order to accomplish this delicate balance, you first need to think about what you’ll be tracking and how.
This will depend greatly on the job roles of your remote team. For example, the best time tracking software for graphic designers will have some form of project tracking or assigning tasks to different clients. This might be important for billable hours and as proof of work for the client, so using this functionality might be what you’ll be focusing on in this case.
On the other hand, time tracking software for virtual assistants might not need this precise task tracking, since compliance with the working hours and being available online is likely the deciding factor in doing a good job. In this case, you might want to predominantly use attendance tracking feature.
In both of these cases, going too much outside of what you really need may result in you accessing data that you can’t necessarily use for work purposes, and this is getting dangerously close to harming your telecommuters’ privacy.
Another thing to remember is that remote employees are usually working from home, which means that they’ll inevitable use their laptops for private matters. This is why it’s of utmost importance to never collect data outside their official working hours.
4. Maintaining Human Contact
Regardless of how useful a computer tracking app might be, you shouldn’t forget that your remote employees are a part of the team, no matter where they work from. Don’t rob them of regular communication with the rest of the colleagues or personal feedback on their performance.
In fact, a recent survey on remote companies done by our team at Insightful found that communication was the single biggest challenge in as many as 24.3% of remote teams. Today, you have a lot of digital tools and instant messaging platforms, so use them to check in on your remote workers from time to time.
Sure, when you’re tracking employees’ computer activity, you might know which task they’re working on and how long they’ve been using a particular app, but it’s good for the company culture and your relationship with remote workers to take the time and ask them how they’re doing and whether they need any help. They’ll appreciate you reaching out. Just don’t go overboard with the attention.
And finally, provide regular personal feedback to each employee working from home. Call them into the office or use a video chat to discuss their progress and suggest any possible improvements that you would like to see.
Tracking remote workers is a delicate process and even having the best work time tracker doesn’t guarantee that you’ll know how to use it right. But hopefully, by now you know which things you need to pay attention to and how you can implement and conduct employee tracking in a way that’s fair and safe for everybody.