Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock BeeBole
OVERVIEW
Price(per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user+$16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan:$30 for 5 users+$5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user+$8From $2.20 per user$5.99 per user per month
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days30 days,no credit card required
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone,chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone,email,chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone,email,chat and onlinePhone and onlineOnline chat and video support in English,French,and Spanish
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Screenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

In a remote work environment, it’s easy for team members to fall into their own silos and get cut off from their coworkers. 

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to establish clear communication strategies and practices for your employees to follow. With effective strategies in place, everyone knows what to do, how to reach their coworkers or managers, and what method of communication to use in different situations.

Clarify Expectations 

The best place to start when refreshing and refining your remote work communication strategies is with your expectations.

Start with this question:

How should team members communicate with one another, how often should they check in, and what methods should they use?

The answers you come up with to this three-part question should provide the foundation for your communication guidelines. You can then write up those guidelines in a formal document and share it with employees and new hires as part of the onboarding process.

By clarifying your expectations surrounding communication, you can get everyone on the same page, even if you’re working remotely with a scattered workforce. 

If your workforce is global, or at least not centralized in one location, be sure to make it clear in your guidelines how you’ll communicate across time zones. Usually, some form of asynchronous communication, using tools like Loom and Slack, is the best way to get around the obstacle of time differences and different work schedules.

You can then employ the best software for employee monitoring as a form of remote performance management to evaluate the impact using asynchronous communication tools has on performance levels.

Monitoring work performance through different types of employee monitoring, such as custom screenshot intervals and monitoring computer and app activity, can help you introduce communication tools based on how your team members currently collaborate.

Mix up Communication Methods

An effective communication strategy should include multiple methods of staying connected.

If you rely on one way of communicating, such as Slack, the disruption to productivity can be huge if the app experiences issues. Plus, sticking to just one form of communication limits the ways you can communicate information, which can slow things down.

In an ideal world, you would have a balance of synchronous and asynchronous communication methods and tools in your remote work environment.

Synchronous communication lets you talk to team members in real time, which is useful for:

  • High-context explanations

  • Lengthy briefings

  • Fielding questions from team members

Examples of synchronous communication tools include:

  1. Video Conferencing - Jump on a call with your team for project briefings or to update coworkers on changing circumstances while inviting questions.

  2. Instant Messaging - Chat in real-time with coworkers or customers using instant messaging tools for fast responses and quick problem resolution.

Whereas asynchronous communication doesn’t require the recipient to respond straight away, which can be helpful for:

  • Coordinating on projects

  • Reaching team members in different time zones

  • Making different work schedules compatible

Examples of asynchronous communication tools include:

  1.  Video Recordings - Record videos with software solutions like Loom that team members can watch on their own time, accommodating different work schedules and time zones.

  1.  Project Management Chat - Use project management solutions to label tasks, tag team members, and comment on relevant information for getting the project done.

With a varied approach to communication, you can safeguard yourself against disruption, and cater to various communication styles, too, as every employee will have their own preferences.

Create Systems to Store and Share Information

On top of the methods, tools, and systems you use to communicate, you also need to factor in how you’ll store and share information.

Effective communication often relies on having all the facts and files on hand. If every time an employee has to provide an update to their manager, they have to first trawl through outdated archives to dig up relevant files, there’s an unnecessary loss of time.

So how can you store and share information easily in a remote work environment?

Systematize your File Storage

In a remote work environment, you’ll need to replace all the file cabinets, paper folders, and other physical paperwork archives you’d expect to find in an office.

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Use a Cloud-based Solution: With a cloud-based file storage solution like Dropbox, you can collect, organize, and categorize all of your digital paperwork. If you work with a lot of files, you can use Dropbox to make it easy for all employees to access relevant information with permission-based access.

  1. Set up a Knowledge Base or Wiki: If a cloud-based solution is like a virtual filing cabinet, a knowledge base or Wiki is like hosting your own library. You can fill this in-house library with all company process guidelines, onboarding process information, and project-specific guidance for easy retrieval.

Enable Live Document Editing

Storing all of your virtual documentation is one thing, but accessing and editing documents in real time is another.

As part of your communication strategy, you need to think about how team members can coordinate and collaborate on tasks and projects. One of the best ways to enable teamwork is to use software like Google Docs, as it allows multiple collaborators to edit a document at once.

Between your file storage solution and live document or asset editing, your teams should have no problem staying in touch about ongoing projects and working in tandem.

Using the best monitoring software for Mac or Windows, you can monitor employee computer activity and find out through screenshots and app usage tracking how your team members work together in real time.

Wondering how to track user activity on the computer?

Insightful solves the issue of how to monitor work from home employees by offering a range of features designed to track time data and generate productivity and performance reports. Workstation monitoring tools provide you with a way of bringing collaboration and communication practices into sharp focus.

Check in Regularly

As part of your communication strategy, you should factor in regular check-ins.

You can point your remote teams in the right direction with clear guidelines and the right tools for staying in touch, but it’s still important to regularly brief and invite feedback from team members.

Scheduling weekly or biweekly check-ins allows you to touch base on the current projects your team is working on, and open the floor to questions. These regular check-ins can become a pillar of your communication strategy, and can help you navigate uncertain economic times when the scope or circumstances around certain projects is liable to change frequently.

Allow for Casual Conversation

While it may not seem like a cornerstone of an effective communication strategy, allowing for casual conversation among remote teams is more important than you might think.

Isolation is one of the biggest reasons remote employees feel as if they’re cut off in their own work silos.

To prevent remote employees from feeling as if they’ve been cut adrift from one another, allowing casual conversation can help promote bonding and encourage cross-functional collaboration.

Here are several ways to incorporate team member conversation in your communication strategy:

Introduce Casual Lunch Chats - To encourage team member conversation without disrupting workflow, try introducing casual chats during the lunch break. Providing work schedules align, you can open up a casual Zoom call or Slack channel for team members to enter on their lunch break for a quick catch-up.

Create After-work Cooldowns - If team members are receptive to the idea, you can put on brief post-work cooldown chats. In these chats, team members can decompress after a hard day’s work and organize in-person or virtual meetups.

Start a Monthly Quiz - Set up interactive socialization events such as trivia quizzes or virtual escape rooms that promote team-building and coworker conversation.

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