Remote workers time tracking

Remote workers time tracking

Is hiring workers remotely a necessity or can it be a competitive advantage? Can you reduce the negative effects of remote working by monitoring and analysing their time spent?

The answer to this question is not simple. It depends on a large number of different factors related to the:

  • employees
  • the jobs they perform
  • working conditions, etc.

In recent decades more companies hire remote workers, due to the development of technology and the emergence of new occupations. The COVID 19 pandemic has especially encouraged remote working.

Sure, the pandemic has made us think more about the need for remote working in the future. But that is not a central issue. Whether it’s a necessity or your workers are working from home because you think it’s better for your company. One of the key questions is how to increase their productivity and thus achieve your company’s goals?

The first thing that comes to mind is probably how to control remote workers, especially if you haven’t organized remote working so far. You probably think that physical supervision over the employee’s work also means better control.

Is that really so?

Maybe employees work better when they are not under direct control?

Have you thought that by working remotely you can gain a comparative advantage? Of course, you have to organize everything in an adequate way.

This does not mean that you need to have control over employees, but to ensure that they do their job. The way you can do this is to monitor and analyse the time spent. On this basis, you can make appropriate decisions at both the operational and strategic levels.

Now you must be wondering, how to achieve this?

In the era of IT, the logical answer is a software solution that will enable you to do that.

Remote workers time tracking – what is the ultimate goal?

Although it is implied that the recording of the time spent by workers is generally kept in electronic form, for remote workers this is the only possible way.

The question is whether to use online or desktop versions?

Despite certain shortcomings such as the possibility of data loss or theft, online solutions are certainly the best choice for recording the time spent by remote workers.

Today you can find thousands of different solutions. In such competition, it is very difficult to choose the one that best suits your needs. Certain solutions will suit you better than others depending on:

  • the business you are in,
  • the way you do it,
  • employee structures,
  • clients,
  • service,
  • the data you want to get,
  • possibilities of their analysis,
  • purpose of using the results of the analysis, etc.

The two key issues to consider when choosing are:

  • How is data entry performed in order to provide the highest quality data
  • What data employees enter in order to enable appropriate analysis, decision making and achieve the above goal

Remote employee monitoring

Recording of time spent by remote workers

The ultimate goal of monitoring the time of remote workers or employees, in general, is not their control. If you just wanted to see how much time employees spent on an activity, you could do so without an advanced software solution.

But what would you gain by that?

You would have raw information as a result of the work of your employees, but based on it you would not be able to take any steps. Whether the time the employee spent is satisfactory would be a matter of your subjective assessment. You could make wrong decisions based on subjective assessments. In order not to make wrong decisions that could jeopardize the achievement of your goals, the analysis of the time spent by remote workers needs to be approached in a more serious way.

Suppose that the fund of time available to your employees to perform work activities is a category that you cannot influence in the short term. In order to achieve your company’s goals, you need to use that fund as productively as possible.

To do this, you do not only need information about the time spent per employee, but you also need information on whether your employee’s work is productive or not and what are the causes of unproductive behaviour. Once you determine the causes, you will be able to make decisions and take concrete actions to eliminate them, which will enable you to spend your employees’ time more efficiently.

As we can see, the ultimate goal of monitoring the time of remote workers is not their control, but to increase the productivity of their work, which will lead to the realization of their, the company’s, as well as the goals of all other stakeholders.

Once we have defined the goal, the question is how to reach it?

How to ensure the quality of the entered data?

The success of the process of determining the existence of:

  • inefficient spending of time
  • identification of causes
  • analysis
  • decision-making
  • taking appropriate actions

primarily depends on the accuracy of the data entered.

Here we come to the most significant challenge of using software to monitor and analyse the time spent by remote workers and in general.

The data entered in the time tracking software may be incorrect for several reasons:

  • To cover up the poor results of one client, employees can transfer the excess of time to another client where they spent less than expected,
  • If they work for several clients several different activities, out-of-date data entry can affect the accuracy of their entry,
  • There may be other reasons for incorrect input, such as simply unintentional input errors.

How to solve these problems, together with the problem of time required for data entry?

One of the ways is entry automation. So we have solutions that, based on the images of the engagement plan:

  • enter data into time tracking software
  • connect software to phones and computers
  • enter the beginning and end of activities while the software calculates time spent, etc.

However, all these solutions are limited and significantly influenced by the subjective factor.

There are thoughts that this problem could be solved on the basis of artificial intelligence. But this goes to the other extreme of endangering the integrity and basic human rights of employees.

Despite all the shortcomings, it turned out that solutions based on manual or semi-automated data entry by employees are still the most acceptable.

BOOST productivity with time tracking for consulting

What do you need to analyse the time spent by remote workers?

You will need different data in order to reach the desired goal, i.e. to increase the productivity of your employees, depending on the:

  • activity in which you operate
  • the position of the employee
  • the services you provide, etc.

In order to perform the appropriate analyses, without going into the above specifics, you should have data on the time spent by the following dimensions:

  • Staff
  • Services
  • Clients

However, time data alone is not enough for analysis. To determine whether an employee’s time is satisfactory or not, you need to compare inputs and outputs. Assuming that we express outputs in money, the comparison is made only if the inputs are also expressed in money.

You will determine the employee’s hourly rate by increasing the employee’s direct hourly rate by the corresponding amount of overheads per hour.

You will determine the cost of providing service per hour based on the hourly rate of the employees who provide it. The cost of services provided in a given period you can receive by multiplying the number of hours spent by employees to provide services in that period by the cost of employees per hour.

It is possible to determine costs by other dimensions per:

  • the employee when providing a specific service for one client
  • the employee when providing a specific service for multiple clients
  • and the employee when providing multiple services for one client
  • service for one client
  • service for multiple clients
  • client for more services, etc.

In addition to the costs of these dimensions, the analysis also requires revenues of the same dimensions, which you can receive based on the agreed prices of services provided to clients.

Analysis of the time spent by remote workers

When you have income and expenses per employee, service or client, you can determine where the results are satisfactory, or where you are dissatisfied.

If the results are satisfactory or above expectations, you probably won’t take any steps to change anything right now. However, although the results are satisfactory overall, it may turn out that there is a problem with the individual indicators. With an employee, service, or client that needs to be solved, but that other factors draw an average.

Also, if you have above average results in total, it may turn out that individually observed there are problems with some of these factors. This information can be very important in the future so that you do not make the wrong decision.

For example, if it turns out that you have above average results due to a higher contract price. If the client asks you to reduce it, you will not make the decision to terminate the cooperation. But you can reduce the price and continue the cooperation without negatively affecting your business.

As with the previous two cases, if you have unsatisfactory results, you must find the cause of the problem. Time records allow you to determine:

  • how much time each of your employees spends
  • how much it costs you to provide a certain type of service per hour
  • what income your company earns per hour of employee work, for providing service or hiring for the client

Of course, a combined analysis of these indicators is possible. If you are not satisfied with one or more of the above indicators, it is necessary to perform an analysis of the time spent on each of them.

Identifying the problems and solutions

Identifying the causes of the problem and possible solutions

If you are not satisfied with the productivity per employee working remotely, it is necessary to perform an analysis to determine the causes and take measures to increase it. First, you need to see if the employee has the appropriate:

  • knowledge,
  • skills,
  • abilities and
  • experience

to perform the activities assigned to him for a particular client. If you determine that the employee insufficiently possesses all of the above, it is necessary to consider the possibilities of his professional development.

However, if an employee possesses all the above, but still is not qualified or is too qualified to perform the activity. Consider entrusting activities to another employee. Also, you should consider hiring an employee to perform other activities in the company, etc.

If there is no possibility to implement any of the above, the option may be to terminate the cooperation with the existing and hire a new employee.

If there is no possibility to implement any of the above, the option may be to terminate the cooperation with the existing and hire a new employee.

In addition to the above, it is necessary to determine:

  • whether the working conditions of the employee are remote,
  • vertical and horizontal communication,
  • compliance with other projects,
  • work dynamics,
  • relations with colleagues, etc.

organized in an appropriate manner and consider the possibility of certain changes to reach the optimal solution that will increase the productivity of the employee.

Employee timesheet software usage

Should the problem always be sought in the employee and the organization of his work?

If you determine that there is no problem on the part of the employee or that you can solve it, with appropriate organizational changes. It is necessary to look for the problem on the side of the service itself and consider:

  • the possibility of changing the manner of providing the service,
  • different structuring of the service or
  • changes in the portfolio of services provided by the company

Next, it is necessary to reconsider relations with clients. Firstly, you need to review the agreed scope of the engagement. Do you perform only activities that are agreed or other activities that are not invoiced?

To determine if it is possible to achieve better efficiency it is necessary to re-examine relationships with the client. If it turns out that it is not possible to increase efficiency within the existing relationship, it is necessary to review the contractual relationship with the client.

If it is not possible to achieve better conditions by amending the contract, you should consider the possibility of terminating the cooperation and finding new clients who will provide higher productivity.

Conclusion

Conducting all these analyses, based on monitoring the time of remote workers, will contribute to the creation of an optimal structure of employees, as well as a portfolio of services and clients. These analyses will not only allow you to establish the optimal structure of employees and organizations, as well as a portfolio of services and clients at a given time but will also help you define the vision, thoughts, goals and strategy of future business.

As can be seen from the previous presentations, monitoring the time spent by workers remotely and in general by different categories, as well as measuring productivity based on the given analyses, is not an end in itself. Increasing productivity in all these categories, and consequently increasing the company’s profitability is not the ultimate goal.

Tracking the time spent by remote workers should be used as a tool that will allow you to create an organization where all stakeholders will be satisfied in the long run. Only in this way will you ensure the long-term sustainability of your company and the achievement of its goals.

Productivity analysis and opportunities to increase it will allow you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your company, as well as opportunities and threats in future business, and most importantly to make the right decisions in a timely manner.

Most importantly, you can do all this with a small investment and without significant time, using the software solution we have developed for you.

Start managing your time

FREE 60-days trial – no credit card required

Run Trial