Building Trust for Remote Employees with Time Tracking

We live in a society that puts real-time information at your fingertips by use of computers and other electronic devices. Technology has made it possible for many employees to work from their homes and other remote locations, which means that telecommuting is steadily on the rise. However, many managers have concerns that keep them from taking advantage of telecommuting.

Some are afraid that productivity and/or quality of work will suffer due to lack of control over the remote employee. Security is also an issue but tracking software is available to help managers maintain control and keep information secure. With the right resources, employers can keep track of these employees without spying on them or creating trust issues between employee and company.

Telecommuting Benefits

Telecommuting offers many benefits for employers, employees and the environment. Employers often see an increase in productivity among remote employees and it greatly reduces absenteeism and employee turnover. It can also reduce overhead expenses for your company.

Employees have a lot more freedom when working from home. They can set their own hours for the most part, take breaks when they need to and it helps individuals to balance work and personal time better.

Telecommuting also helps the environment because there are less commuters traveling to and from work. It can help reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption and it reduces the amount of toxic fumes released in the air by automobiles.
Now we know the benefits of telecommuting but how can you make it work for your needs and build trust for remote employees?

Building Trust

One of the most important things that you need to do is build trust between you and your remote employee. Workers are more motivated when they know you trust them to meet that tight deadline or whatever the case may be. These independent workers appreciate the opportunity to prove they can get the job done in an efficient and timely manner without you hovering over them.

They are often insulted when made to report in every hour or to fill out daily worksheets to show progress. In addition, filling out sheets and constant updates actually takes up valuable time that both of you could spend on meeting deadlines and taking care of other important issues. Instead of wasting your time and theirs scrutinizing every little thing, take advantage of the tracking tools that can help you keep track of productivity without making the remote employee feel like you don’t trust them. You can give them trust as well as the power to report in periodically in a method that is not intrusive and that will give them control of the situation and they can hold themselves accountable for their workday.

Providing feedback is also important. This helps the employee to know how important they are to the company. As a result, it encourages them to be more productive, while helping you monitor their performance without being overbearing.

Best Practices for Managing Remote Employee Workloads

Managing remote employee workloads is a little different from the office but modern technology offers many resources that make it possible to telecommute and keep your business running smoothly. As long as your remote employee is equipped with all the essential tools needed to work from home, both the company and the individual will benefit.

Some of the basic equipment needed is a reliable Internet connection, access to the company’s internal network through a secure remote system and access to any corporate messaging systems used such as email, SMS, voicemail and IM. Remote employees should also have a laptop with wireless adapter, a mobile phone and a multidirectional conference phone, so you always have a way to connect with them. These essentials make it easier to keep the remote employee in the loop so they are always aware of what’s going on in the office. It also makes it easier for employers to tack production to ensure employees are managing their time wisely.

Technology is always changing so make it a point to keep up with all the latest innovations and adopt them into your work plan. Time tracking tools like Worksnaps can also help multiple employees stay on task on the same project. You can see what one another are doing and check off milestones to remain on track. Here are a few more ideas that can help employers manage remote employee workloads.

Planning and Organizing

Planning and organization play a major role in helping employers manage the workload of remote employees. By carefully planning and organizing the work, you can reduce many problems that hinder productivity. The individual will know what is expected of them and they’ll have a plan to follow telling them what to do when problems do arise.

You will need to adjust your tactics to manage the individual’s progress by defining the objectives. This way, the employee will know exactly what needs done and what you expect of them to achieve company goals. In other words, it helps to ensure everyone is on the same page. You can measure their performance based on how well they achieve their goals within the deadline set.

Face-to-Face Interactions

When you interact face-to-face with employees using Skype, Google Video Chat, MegaMeeting or Telepresence it cuts down on a lot of confusion. Emails and voice mail messages can be misinterpreted reducing efficiency but you can help cut down on or avoid many mistakes when you interact with each other using video conferencing. It allows you to see body language, facial expressions and convey tone that is necessary in order to communicate effectively.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Keep the communication lines open and interact with your remote employee. They need to know they are an important part of your company and that you are depending on them to get the job done correctly and on time. Telecommuters spend a lot of time alone, so they need human contact and your support to reduce fatigue. In addition, it helps to build the trust between you and the employee.

You also want to follow up after all forms of communications whether it’s video conferences or talking via phone to recap what was discussed. This way, if there is any confusion it gives the employee a chance to ask questions while things are still fresh on their mind.

Best Remote Employee Personality Type

Researchers were very surprised to discover that extrovert personality types do better when telecommuting than someone with an introverted personality. Most people assume that the introverted personality types would do best in this type of environment because they tend to enjoy working in solitude. The problem is that they are less likely to reach out and initiate communication with clients or employers. On the other hand, extrovert personality types thrive by staying in touch with others. As a result, they reach out more and ask more questions to ensure quality work.

Telecommuting has many challenges with trust being at the top of the list. It can be difficult for employers to trust individuals when they cannot physically see what they’re doing but this doesn’t have to be a problem. Building trust for remote employees with time tracking is easy and beneficial for everyone concerned. By providing the individual with the right equipment, support and adjusting your tactics to meet the special needs of the telecommuter, companies can greatly increase productivity and everyone can benefit.


Remote Work Digest: October 13, 2017

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.


Image from

5 Key Practice Of Successful Remote Work Teams | Daniel Newman,

Nowadays — as more people continue to work remotely — leaders must find new ways to unite employees who are spending an increasing amount of time apart.

Studies show nearly 40% of today’s employees work offsite on a regular basis. While that’s great when it comes to saving on company overhead, it does present some challenges for leaders in terms of creating a singular culture that all employees—regardless of location — can rally behind. Indeed, as I wrote in my article Digital Transformation Cannot Succeed Without the Right Culture, culture and vision are what hold companies together in times of change and perceived chaos. Ironically, digital transformation is also making it increasingly difficult to build those bonds. Luckily, there are things leaders can do to foster a strong culture, despite differences in location and time zone. The following are just a few tips:

Use The Technology Available
As a leader, it’s important for you to “walk the walk” and take time to use new technology like telepresence robots, chat apps, video conference, and other unified communication channels to get your team on board with communicating this way in their daily lives.

Make Time For Homeroom
Even with many remote employees, you can still create consistent communication standards throughout the enterprise. The purpose of homeroom was to allow everyone to connect, discuss the day’s goals and capacity issues, and ask for help where needed. The best part: teammates were empowered to call their own homeroom meetings if needed, throughout the rest of the day. It doesn’t matter if you call it homeroom, all-hands, or daily update — the point is, consistent communication is a must.

Be Clear About Availability
It’s possible to allow for flexibility while also establishing clear virtual “office hours” for remote employees so your in-house workers know they can rely on their entire team to be available via chat or telepresence when needed. Doing so will help establish trust and consistency across all departments.

Get To Know Employees as People
It can be easy to forget to involve your remote employees in impromptu onsite conversations, or to forget that they also have lives, interests, and strengths outside of their initial job functions. Take time to get to know your remote employees as people, rather than just task managers.

Meet Face to Face
There’s nothing better than putting a face to a name — no matter how much easier it is to text, email, or chat about what we need. I know of at least one company that has established “unplugged” days where people are required to speak in person rather than via technology whenever possible. You’d be surprised how many people who worked in the same building ended up meeting one another for the first time.

Even companies with all employees working onsite experience challenges creating effective employee culture. And though it may be difficult, it is not an insurmountable task. Involve your employees in the process. Empower them to use their voice to make a difference. Use the tools available to you. That’s the way of the future. That’s the only way your company will succeed in a mobile working world.

Managing Your Schedule Like a Boss: Tips the Experts Never Tell You | John Rampton,

Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, once said, “Never let anyone own your schedule.”

I don’t know about you, but I love that quote. It’s so simple, yet true. After all being deliberate with your time is one of the best ways to have a happy life in the business world. Of course, try as hard as you can, that’s not always the reality. Life is kind of known for throwing a monkey wrench into your plans every now and then.

But, it’s still possible to manage your schedule like a boss by following these can’t-beat tips.

Create a routine.

Start by blocking times for specific activities, such as checking emails, exercise and spending time with your family. You can then convert your calendar into a series of blocks for you to place activities in the prepared spaces. If something isn’t planned and placed into a block, don’t do it.

Keep in mind that your routine will probably change throughout the year. But, it’s better to have a plan that changes than no plan at all.

Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. 

“This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going,” write Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival on Entrepreneur.

“You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.”

Add time buffers to manage your schedule.

A buffer is something like this:

You just landed a new client for your freelance business. They assign you a deadline to complete the task. Instead of entering their exact deadline, your put your own deadline that’s 24-48 earlier. Those hours are the buffer.

Why’s that such a big deal? When you have a buffer, and something happens that you can’t control, you still have those 24-48 hours to meet the deadline.

Schedule your calendar like a to-do list. 

If you have things on your schedule that have to be done, I personally like scheduling out time on my calendar for them. Much like a meeting, they have a set and scheduled time for this task to be accomplished.

For some people like myself, this includes blocking out time for working out, eating, walks and other important activities in my life. If I don’t make time for them, other things will always get in the way. I find that when I block out those times on my schedule, I’m much more proactive as well as I feel better about myself.

Use batching and time-blocking.

Batching is basically where you find similar tasks and then lump them all together to make a task-batch. You then sit down, set a timer, and focus only on those similar tasks. For example, setting aside 6 am to 7 am to check emails and then 8 am to 10 am to write blog posts.

Another strategy that you should try is using time-blocks. When you have outside meetings, block two and a half days per week for those meetings. Only attend those outside meetings during those time-blocks. To make blocking more effective, color-code your calendar so that you can visually glance at your calendar.

Optimize time for different meeting types.

Here are some suggestions on the types of meetings that you might want to book and schedule:

  • 45-minute meeting that’s outside of the office. Allow 15 minutes for travel and 30 minutes for the meeting over coffee.
  • 30-minute weekly staff meeting.
  • 30-minute meeting in the office to get to know colleagues or catch up.
  • 15-minute daily standup if you’re a startup or leading an engineering team.
  • 10-minute phone call to offer someone advice.

Whatever meetings you decide to hold a meeting, you should group them into blocks. If you think that a particular meeting needs more or less time, then you can adjust the block accordingly.

Still, just remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. “Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results,” say Mathews, Debolt, and Percival

7 Creative Ways to Show Remote Workers You Care | Jennifer Parris,

In a remote work environment, showing your workers that you care can require a little more effort. The good thing is that it’s easy to make your remote workers feel special, no matter where they are working in the world.

Here are some creative ways to show remote workers you care:

1. Talk to them.

Schedule a check-in with your remote workers at least once every six months or so to see where they’re at in terms of work and also their personal life. It gives your employee the chance to air any grievances, clear the air, and also reconnect with you and the company if he’s starting to feel a little disengaged.

And, as an employer, you can address any issues and find out a little more about what your employee is experiencing, both at work and at home.

2. Reward their work.

What worker doesn’t want to feel that their hard work is appreciated by the organization? Even for the most introverted of employees, you can include a “rock star of the month” award to spotlight your employees’ efforts in the company newsletter.
Acknowledging employees who went above and beyond the call of duty is a great way to show that you both recognize their hard work and appreciate their contribution to the company.

3. Make it memorable.

Make it a point to keep track of your workers’ important dates, such as work anniversaries, birthdays—even their wedding anniversaries and kids’ birthdays. You can send flowers or a gift basket for the big ones, and just jot off an email to wish your worker a happy anniversary or happy birthday to a child.

That little bit of extra effort can go a long way towards making your remote worker feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

4. Include their partners.

Let’s say that you’ve organized a meet-up for some of your workers who live near each other. Don’t just limit the invite to employees, though.

Encourage them to bring along their spouses and significant others, just as they might if it were a traditional office get-together.

After all, your remote employees might feel awkward if they’re meeting each other for the first time, and having their loved ones there can help break the ice. Plus, it shows that the company cares not just for them, but for their sweeties, too.

5. Support their outside endeavors.

As a part of their company culture, some companies are very supportive of their workers’ outside interests. That might be their humanitarian work, their contributions to their communities, and so on.

You can mention their work in the company newsletter or even reward them for their outside work. Offer a small stipend for any volunteer hours worked as a way to encourage their humanitarian efforts.

6. Be empathetic.

Don’t let the distance of a remote work environment create distance between you and your remote employee. Instead of being sympathetic, try to be empathetic and relate to your remote worker. Not only will it build stronger bonds between the two of you, it will show that you truly care.

7. Look for ways to create new opportunities and experiences for them.

Sometimes, you can show your remote workers that you care for them by giving them more work! No, not the kind that makes them feel bored at work, but the kind that they really want. Find ways to reward their work by giving them the work they really want to do, whether it’s in the form of a plum new assignment or a shiny promotion.

Showing your remote workers that you care for them should be a big part of your management style. It will help retain the top-level talent you already have, and become a natural part of your company culture that will help you attract new talent to your organization.

10 Ways to 10x Personal and Organizational Productivity | Deji Atoyebi,

Being productive is all about doing the best quality work within a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that to become a successful entrepreneur or an employee, productivity must be your strong suit. It’s equally important for managers to strive at improving employee productivity in order to grow their business. In view of these, this article will walk you through 10 pragmatic ways to increase both personal and organizational productivity.

#1. Use a Standing Desk: 

Standing is assumed to aid productivity through various ways. First, it improves health and provides energy bu reducing back and neck pain, burning calories, among other things. Second, standing decreases one’s tendency of falling asleep while working. Also, there are claims that it generally helps to increase creativity.

#2. Take Occasional Breaks: 

Taking occasional breaks while working is a good way to stay productive for a relatively longer time. Breaks tend to rejuvenate, rekindle attention and restore motivation. They can also prevent “decision fatigue”; in fact, a ‘walking rest’ is considered to help prolong memories and improve learning.

Don’t overwork yourself when you could avoid it; take a break as soon as you start finding it difficult to focus on the job at hand. Managers should also schedule appropriate break sessions for employees.

#3. Delegate When Necessary and Possible: 

To boost your productivity, you must learn when to let go of and prioritize work. Delegate tasks that you’d be better off not doing and trust those to whom you delegate them.

Don’t be a multitasking control-freak!

#4. Tidy Up Your Workspace:

A clean work space would most definitely make your focus more on the job at hand by freeing your mind of potential distractions that could sway you away from your work. Things like your mobile phone and random documents are good examples of such distractions.

In a nutshell, reduce the clutter and save yourself from being overwhelmed.

#5. Use Effective Analytic Technologies:

Businesses with relevant, large enough datasets and effective tools for manipulating them are more privileged than those without. But in what way does analytics boost productivity, you ask? Simple.

Well-analyzed data makes it easier to make good business decisions and even fastens the process. Without these data, it’s amazingly easy to gloss over necessary facts and delay the execution of a project.

#6. Use Time-Management/Tracking Software:

Although there are various options to help in tracking and managing time, special software for such a purpose are usually the best way to go. A good time-tracking software will make it easier for you to determine the period in the day in which you’re most productive and the type of work you’re generally faster at doing. Therefore, it’d enable you weigh your options and ultimately improve your productivity.

#7. Prioritize Knowledge Acquisition:

You need to strive for a better knowledge-base either at the personal or organizational level. A manager who provides effective training programs for employees would be turbo-charging their confidence and making them more productive performers.

#8. Get Enough Sleep:

Getting enough sleep improves memory, strengthens focus, increases energy and facilitates quite a number of things that soars productivity and which sleep deprivation naturally impedes.

#9. Make Use of Effective Collaboration Tools:

There are tools to help facilitate collaboration and thus aid coordination. A good example is Github, which is primarily a platform for software developers to jointly work on software and commit changes, independently. Some other general-purpose collaboration tools that aid work-flow are Slack, Trello, Google Keep and a host of others. They all have the potential of making you more productive in your daily work.

#10. Minimize Face-to-face Interactions:

Even in a not-so-crowded workplace, there’d be times when you, as an employee, would have to put your job on hold in order to talk to someone who needs help for something quite trivial or who just wants a tête-à-tête. This scenario can be frustrating and more frequent than normal.To avoid this, it’s reasonable to avoid things that could lead to face-to-face interactions while working. Many software developers are known to wear headphones for this purpose.