Millions of people around the world suddenly knew what it was like to spend their entire days working remotely at their own homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote working jobs have been around for quite some time, it has never been implemented at this scale and within the same time period.
Now that more and more organizations are adopting a new remote working scheme for the majority of their operations, this new setup presents a unique challenge. How do employers keep track of their employees’ attendance and productivity in a remote working environment? That’s one hugely important question that has been put in the spotlight recently because of the changes in work culture and environment. Let’s try to understand this concern and how companies work around this challenge.
The Challenges of Working Remotely
For freelancers, digital nomads, and remote teams, working from home has been their kind of normal. It almost seems effortless for them to get focused, keep a watchful eye on their working hours, and create boundaries.
However, for employees accustomed to working in an office for so many years, the sudden change in the working environment can sometimes be quite a challenge. They could be having difficulty focusing on their work, or spending most of their time doing non-work-related activities, or they tend to work beyond their prescribed hours. When an employee isn’t surrounded by others who are on a similar work schedule, they may find themselves losing track of time and working overtime.
All of those problems pose quite a dilemma for managers as they can easily affect their employees’ productivity and turnaround time. Managing the time and productivity of employees who are working remotely, keeping track of their attendance, and ensuring everything runs smoothly is a monumental challenge that could easily not end well for the employee and employer. But like any good problem, there is an equally good solution to it.
Tracking Remote Employee Attendance
Keeping track of employee attendance even if they are working from home is crucial to every company. If done well, you will see the positive impact remote employees can have on your business. Your strategy should include methods to keep employees engaged and wanting to work more and contribute to the company. Try the following tips to manage attendance and productivity for your remote employees.
- Use Video Often
Maintaining face-to-face contact is especially critical for remote teams. With all that’s happening during the pandemic and the solitary nature of remote working jobs, employees can feel a little left out and detached from the rest of the team. This is especially true at a sensitive time like everyone in the world is experiencing right now. Connecting remote workers and reminding them of your company’s culture can be best done through video conferencing.
Video conferencing is the closest thing a remote team has to seeing and interacting with each other face-to-face. You can all see each other in real-time and enjoy quality time together as a team, even when working remotely. This kind of interaction adds a level of contact that can never be matched by online chat or emails. By seeing each other, making eye contact, and reading each other’s body language— which is how people are meant to communicate with each other— you create a more engaging work environment.
- Adopt a Productivity Management System
If you’re one of the thousands of companies that had to immediately adapt to a work-from-home setup, then it’s possible you already have an attendance or human resource management system in place. While an attendance system is sufficient enough in an office setting, remote working jobs demand a system that tracks not only the attendance of an employee but how they spend their time during work hours.
Whether your employees are working in the office or at home, they are expected to work diligently and productively during their working hours. The only problem is, there’s no way to actually monitor how employees spend their time working if you can’t physically observe them doing it. This is where productivity management software could come in handy.
A productivity management system gives you full visibility of your team’s productivity. This helps you become more effective when it comes to project management, giving you a clear picture of the resources required to accomplish your goals within the day. Most productivity systems for remote working jobs have an automated time tracking feature that will enable you to estimate time effort to successfully complete the project deliverables before the deadline. Some systems even allow you to monitor not just the time in/out of your employees but also their total active time, keystrokes, and even mouse clicks.
- Establish Expectations
Remote employees need to know when you want them to work. That includes what days they have to log in for work and the specific hours in a day to do that. Home-based employees also need to know how much you expect them to work. This can be easily achieved by setting specific guidelines to avoid under or overworking them.
The consequences of not following the attendance policy must also be clear to all remote workers. Establish the rules for attendance and time off in your policy, so employees are always informed of what they’re allowed to do and what isn’t. This is where employee portals where information like company policies, announcements, and memorandums should be posted and accessible at all times.
- Be Available
An absent manager does not encourage attendance to a remote team. You really need to be a present leader if you expect good employee attendance. Whenever you show up ready to work, your employees are more likely to follow suit and become more productive at work. Of course, showing up to work isn’t enough if you want to be an effective manager. Make an effort to communicate with your employees whenever possible, even just for a quick chitchat. It also goes without saying that you should set multiple ways to contact you, such as your phone number, email, or chat ID.
As the world continues to struggle in a post-pandemic world, many organizations are finally accepting the fact that remote work is here to stay. For these companies, tracking employee attendance and productivity is a must to maintain an effective and productive remote workforce.
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