Remote work: trending, productivity, and monitoring
In this article you will discover:
- What is trending in remote work?
- How you can monitor productivity when working at home
- How you can do time tracking for remote employees in our free online platform.
According to the “State of Remote Work Report 2019”, more than 40% of remote employees wish to work remotely more frequently, and more than 50% of on-site workers want to work remotely in the future.
Also, research shows that remote employees are 29% happier in work performance than on-site workers.
The study says that remote workers achieve better work-life balance, increase their productivity, and focus.
According to other researches, remote work increased its share in total working time by 40% – 45% in the period of COVID-19. In the post-COVID period, the assumption is that remote work will continue to grow, comparing the pre-COVID period.
The fact is COVID-19 dramatically changed the organizational environment. From the management perspective, it would be hard to estimate how COVID-19 will impact to increase of remote work, but the assumption is that the work will be organized differently:
- remote work should be more efficiently
- management will require more control of task performed
- time tracking for remote employees will be more attractive
- on-line solutions for remote employee monitoring is going to be more implemented.
Remote work, future, or our reality?
In nowadays business conditions, technology is a new level. In addition to the changed the healthy environment caused by COVID19, technological development is one of the key factors that impact on remote work rise.
For example, a video conference application, Zoom reaches 300 million users for the first time. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Zoom had ten million users in December last year, but its popularity jumped sharply during the pandemic and continues to grow
In the post-COVID period, a significant number of companies continued to use various apps and software (such as time tracking for remote employees, conference apps etc.) that helped them to overcome a pandemic.
Also, most of them, supported by high technology solutions, continued with partially remote work, experienced by huge benefits of remote working during the pandemic.
Advantages of remote work from an Employer perspective:
- Lower costs such as rent, utilities, office material, other office costs
- Flexibility with remote work could increase employee productivity satisfaction and motivation
- The option of remote work as part of a package could lead to a total fluctuation rate decrease (or increased loyalty)
- The results can be measured: “No care where you work, just results are important”
- Remote work possibility is important for employer branding
Disadvantages of remote work from an Employer perspective:
- Lower possibility of the direct control of task performed
- Lack of direct communication and organizing meetings
- More difficult leadership
- Hard to implement corporate culture
- Difficult personal approach for employee development
- Absence of close relationship and team-building effects
Working remotely could be flexibly implemented and depending on both employer business nature and personal life of employees. Usual types of remote working:
- An employee works four days weekly from the office and one day remotely
- Working remotely all the time with a commitment for monthly/quarterly in-person meetings
- A few month’s remote work could be allowed during a year as part of the package.
Loyalty: The like hood that remote worker will keep current is 13% higher compared with on-site workers
From the employee perspective, remote work benefits employees with flexibility in life, more healthiness, more time for private purposes (minimal time consumed on transportation), and less stress.
The possibility to work remotely offers to employees to be are happier and trustful with better work-life balance.
P.S. Based on the study, about 40% of remote workers prefer to work remotely in the next five years. Also, more than 50% of on-site workers want to start working remotely. 18% of workers do not prefer remote work..
How to do time tracking for remote employees and increase productivity?
The main question is how to control the performance of someone who works remotely.
Firstly, productivity management requires strategically approach.
Secondly, you need to define how to measure productivity and what would be the company goals. As productivity is related to human resources, the main parameter of productivity is a return on invested labor. Accordingly, we need to measure the preferred results as a return:
- How many clients are handled by an employee
- How many projects are performed per employee
- What is the value of projects that one employee is engaged on
- How many employee hours are billed to customers
Expected results should be transparently communicated to each worker.
In the other side, you need to measure what you invested in order to get above results:
- Total working time spent by the remote worker
- Operating costs of remote worked and other indirect costs
The another key point is that you need to set productivity measurement indicators that could be total:
- Track billable hours in relation to total working hours(Utilization rate)
- Hours spent on projects in relation to total working hours
- Cost per hour
- Clients per one remote worker
- Projects per one remote worker
In order to minimize your efforts to manage productivity, you can use an online time tracker for remote workers that offer detailed analytics in the productivity measurement process.
The final goal for remote workers time tracking
- stop unproductive behavior of remote workers
- increase efficiency and results
- perform a properly based evaluation of remote workers
- redefining work conditions
- determine reasons for overtime work
Why the implementation of time tracking for remote employees would be beneficial?
Monitoring of remote workers by time tracker enables full control over workers and automatic measurement of productivity.
A time tracking for remote employees is a tool that helps you to control the activities of remote workers as well as their efficiency.
Therefore, detailed analytics should show data on:
- total hours for each worker,
- amount of total hours which is billable and unbillable
- labor utilization rate (gold productivity indicator).
- the average cost per hour
- number of projects covered
- number of different activities performed
For all employees, it is possible to get detailed data for activities which employee has done, for which clients and how much he/she worked for them, on which projects or Clients.
Each employee get access to his dashboard and analytics
This enables workers to follow their results and to be more productive. For example, in case each project and client has budgeted hours, the employee is able to align its real working time to budgeted time. Each employee management can define the requested labor utilization rate and follow achievements in time tracking software.
How do time tracker solutions work?
The main rule is that time tracking for remote employees should be easy to use and does not burden employees.
We trust that time tracker apps with real-time tracking with the use of the play button can disrupt workers and lose a focus from working activity to very demanding software. When a worker starts and stops a play button each time when he works different activity, it could be counterproductive.
Another extreme is automation time tracking based on apps in live use. Such a solution cannot provide comprehensive and accurate results.
Accordingly, we believe that type of entries fields and time tracking for remote employees should be flexible and aligned with both, management expectations and employee’s effort.
Easily tracking time is a must!
Time tracking for remote employees should be based on minimal engagements of employees with maximal quality of information.
Remote worker time entry
Filling a form in our platform is very easy, each remote worker need only five to seven minutes per day to enter its activities per projects and clients:
In the case of repetitive actives, time tracking software for remote workers offers easy preparation of templates. When employees starts the software, with created templates it can make a full entry with two clicks.
Moreover, the main characteristic of the reliable time tracking solutions are:
- User friendly
- Gathering relevant information (time spent on projects, clients, activities, service lines, billable/non—billable)
- Enable insight of excellence dashboard for both management and employees
- Export of timesheets for any period of time
- Offering drop list for selecting relevant parameters
- Show productivity for each team member, profitability and efficiency of projects
Also, there should be an option of recurring timesheet entries. In this way, the employee makes his own templates of usual work, and just change consumed time. With this option, you avoid that employees must enter the same figures each day or week.
Automatically processing of data
After data entries, the platform for time tracking for remote employees processes all information and calculate different indicators of:
- Cost of projects/clients
With this information managers should know:
- What is the profit per each project or client?
- What projects are „negative“?
- Which clients “eat” margins and time?
- Which are the most expensive projects and service lines?
- What is billable time?
- What are the details for invoicing?
In regard with main key performance indicators, company manager is offered with main dashboard:
Besides, with exported indicators you can:
- redefine terms with current clients in order to reach better profitability,
- offer appropriate fees for new clients
- evidence of completed tasks on client request
- the basis for preparing the invoice – possibility of data export in excel as invoice assistant
P.S. Relevant data processing offers excellent indicators to management: what needs to be improved, what should be reorganized, what requires re-negotiation of working conditions?
Getting excellent timesheets
When time is booked by the employee, time tracker generates timesheets. It is possible to export periodical online timesheets for each:
- Service line
The most importantly, Employee timesheet contains a daily breakdown of:
- All activities that employee performed
- Time spent on each activity per client and projects
- Description of work performed
- Calculation of performed billable and non-billable hours
- Hourly rate
- The option of edit, duplication or delete of data
Furthermore, a time tracking for remote employees allows comprehensive timesheets to be exported in excel and suitable for different analyses and calculations.
The analysis resulted from timesheets of from time analytics report allows you to identify overall strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company in future business.
In other words, the analysis resulted from time tracking for remote employees or other time analytics solutions provide a conclusion which employees need to be :
- additionally exercised,
- switched to other departments,
- assigned by other working tasks or clients
- promoted or stimulated
In addition, the analysis provides conclusions that what you need to change or improve, which internal procedures should be implemented of redesigned, should you change organizational structure, introduce outsourcing of some activities etc.
P.S. using timesheets will improve your productivity
Planning of daily or weekly tasks of remote workers
How many times you came into the office and ask yourself what my employees will do today?
Or, you have remote workers but not sure what is their daily activity plan.
How to control their activities?
With time tracker for remote workers, you can have a daily or weekly list of planned activities in one click. Such a plan includes total planed hours per each activity, client, project, or service lines.
After getting a plan, each morning you can:
- control labor resources
- reorganize planned activities to reach better efficiency
- stop non-productive activities to reach better productivity
- insight who is overloaded and who is not engaged as expected
Time tracking for remote employees is an invoicing assistant
This solution should have an option for export accurate data for preparing the invoice. By exporting information for the invoicing period you should:
- Re-check all services and tasks for billing
- Get a detailed description of what is done for the client
- Review what work is billable and what is not
- Prepare calculation of billable hours in excel and prepare invoice based on hourly rates
- Prepare appendix to invoice with description of activates, time spent and hourly rates
- Keep the evidence that work is done
Tracking annual holiday for a remote worker
With time tracking for remote employees, the people are allowed to book their annual holiday plan or days off plan. As manager of the company you can:
- Review holiday plan and make appropriate corrections
- Check labor capacity for planned projects
- Ensure minimal effective working hours needed for required projects quality
In the end and having all the above in view, we can say that monitoring of remote workers could be an essential issue in new critical times. With a deep analysis of company owners’ and directors’ needs for more control of remote employee needs, we created a simple and user-friendly platform for developing company performance in the conditions of remote work. This powerful platform will help your company to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability no matter if we are talking about time tracking for lawyers, consultants, or digital marketers.
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