Company culture defines everything from how to manage a remote team and the interpersonal relationships within it to your overarching values, work ethics, and goals.
Company culture plays a huge role in employee happiness, and we all know that happy employees are productive employees. Yet, no matter how friendly and laid back the company culture is, certain procedures and processes need to be set in place. You, as a business owner, must make sure everyone’s data is safe, as well as that your clients’ requirements are met at any time.
These two things can be achieved with one simple computer monitoring software. And right now you’re probably thinking how employee PC monitoring will have a disastrous effect on your team. Well, you’re both right and wrong.
An Overview of Time Tracking
Before we look at the relationship between time tracking and company culture - and how you can make sure it’s a positive one - let’s start with a brief overview of the good and the bad.
Let’s start with the limitations.
Employee computer tracking software can harm your company in several ways.
If you implement it without notifying your employees or even discussing it with them, you can expect a backlash. Not to mention that in most countries it’s illegal to monitor employee computer activity without prior notice or even consent.
Careless implementation leads to distrust, which ultimately leads employees to leave, underperform, and feel stressed in general.
Another drawback is that it can make team members feel as if their every move is being scrutinized - though this is comparable to having a superior peering over your shoulder at the office.
If implemented correctly, employee tracking can boost productivity, create healthy competition in a team, allow you to bill your hours more correctly, and pay employees fairly.
Once you communicate the expectations to your team, explain different scenarios which will portrait the benefits, and help workers embrace the growth mindset - you’ll be set to implement the software without hiccups.
That’s the key to unlocking the true potential of time tracking software: creating trust and using it as a way of developing personal and professional accountability. It shouldn’t be seen as shackles tying team members to their output, but as a tool for how to manage a remote team effectively, enabling them to do their best work day in and day out.
How to Use Time Tracking Software Responsibly
If you want to use time tracking as a force for good in and beyond the office, and ensure it positively impacts your company culture, you need to learn to use it responsibly.
The only way time tracking will harm your company culture is if you use it in a way which breeds resentment among employees.
Introducing it without prior notice, as a means of squeezing every last drop of productivity out of every individual, or to spy on your team members is a surefire way to create mistrust and shake the foundations of your company culture.
Here are 3 simple ways to introduce and use time tracking software to strengthen, not harm, your company culture:
1. Be transparent
Before you implement any form of time tracking in your teams, it’s important to be transparent with your employees.
Communication is one of the core pillars of any effective company culture, and it’s what will ensure your employee monitoring practice is seen as a positive rather than a negative.
Team members need to know from the outset what your reasons are for introducing time tracking, and more importantly, what’s in it for them. It’s easy to focus on the extra productivity and what that might mean for the company, but have you considered how employees might benefit from the software?
Here are a few examples:
- Greater accountability to ensure consistent peak performance
- Awareness of output allows team members to refine their skills to hit their professional goals
- Opportunities for professional development become clear when you put numbers on productivity
2. Align monitoring with company values
If you already have an established company culture, then you should make every effort to ensure your employee monitoring practice is fully aligned with it from the start.
For example, if honesty and openness are traits you claim to value in your company, then you have to introduce time tracking transparently to let employees know it’s not coming at the expense of your core values.
Speak about how employee monitoring can help ensure every employee is fairly compensated for their work and that you have the data you need to support team members in their professional growth.
3. Create fair evaluation criteria
Every employee at one point or another has felt as if they’ve been treated unfairly or that the subjective bias of a manager has crept into their performance appraisal.
Time tracking allows you to focus more on objective data, which should be a positive both for management and employees.
Combining objective and subjective data, you can create and enforce fair evaluation criteria for all.
How Does Employee Activity Monitor Affect Company Culture?
User activity monitoring software plays a huge role in the modern workplace, and so does culture. Can these two coexist in any environment?
In short, they can complement each other in the ways you thought were impossible.
Implementation of the activity monitor software will require you to make some changes in your policies, as well as in your culture book. Which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Given that you can track productivity now, you can set productivity trackers for every team and reward those who manage to hit the targets frequently.
Additionally, you can set aside certain times of the day for different activities. If you have a game room, set aside the time for all teams to enjoy a round of table football, and create a weekly tournament.
The fact that you’re using a productivity tracker app doesn’t have to mean your workers must be productive every second of the day (and that’s not going to happen with or without the tracking software). What we’re trying to prove here is that employees monitoring software aren’t a necessary evil and that they won’t spoil your culture.
And How Do We Know That?
Let’s start with our own personal experience. Yes, we are using Insightful in the office, because it works wonders combined with our culture.
Our culture is a startup culture - we have flexible starting time in the morning, option of working remotely (and some teams who are fully remote), we’re also very friendly. From time to time we even have two adorable dogs running around the office, so you can imagine that distractions hide behind every computer (or under the desk in this case).
We can allow ourselves so many distractions because we have Insightful to keep us focused. Not only that, our core values (which are a huge part of Insightful culture), help us with maintaining high productivity levels.
Everyone has access to their own data, and we can see at any time if we’ve spent too much time finding a perfect playlist for the day. Given the nature of our culture, no one has a feeling like they’re being watched, or overly controlled.
For the sake of proving a point, we conducted an experiment in the office. Since we already had productivity baseline for everyone, a couple of team members volunteered to have their trackers in stealth mode for 2 months, and we turned the software on and off at random days. Now, with stealth mode, an employee doesn’t see if the workplace monitoring software is running or not.
At first, the productivity skyrocketed! We’re talking big numbers - it went up around 35% on average during the first 2 weeks. Over the next 2 weeks, those numbers started deteriorating, going down until they came to being about 5% above the baseline. The second month of the experiment went by peacefully, with no major statistical changes.
The whole point of the experiment was to see the numbers, and see how employee behavior would change over time. We realized that behavior didn’t change much, when we look at the culture and overall relationship among team members. However, those who knew their daily productivity levels, were much quicker to go back to work.
The experiment also provided our HR department with valuable data, which was used to optimize some of our core processes. Additionally, during the experiment, we’ve found some tasks which could have been completely avoided or automated.
Most importantly, we did have fun while evaluating the data, and we’ve definitely set benchmarks for future experiments and employees.