Here’s How Employers Can Monitor Employees Remote Activity

April 3, 20201:42 pm964 views
Generic placeholder image
“As the Covid-19 cases are spiralling, work-from-home increasingly became the new norm.”

Dallas News reported that working from home is the right measure in order to ensure employees’ health and safety in connection with the spread of the virus. Employers are also encouraged to move their business processes virtually, optimising the use of technology and automation. 

Yet, managing a large team who works remotely could pose another challenge. Some managers told Dallas News that they are learning that their remote workers do not turn on their webcams during work conferences just because they have messy hair. Managers also reported having a hard time monitoring whether their employees really spend their time working on their laptop or just playing with their laptop during a productive day. 

If you’re having the same concerns regarding employees’ productivity during remote working, here are three strategies to monitor employee’s activity.  

Monitoring work laptop 

If employees use work laptop or are connected to company’s virtual private network, you can have the ability to monitor nearly everything your employees do with their computer/laptop by using monitor application such as Keystroke to analyse keyboard activity, Teramind to identify the level of productivity, social media use, or time spent on a project, or ActivTrak to help you analyse productive behaviours and understand how your employees utilise their time. 

See also: COVID-19 Cyber Threats & What HR Should Do About It

Asking questions that require answer while video conferencing 

Messaging service Slack and video-conferencing service Zoom are essential nowadays to connect with others while working remotely. These tools can ease and shorten the distance between teams through face-to-face video calls. Yet, monitoring whether your employees really pay attention to the conference would be effortful, especially when your employees refuse to open their webcam due to specific reasons. If that’s the case, then keep asking questions that require answers will help you know whether your employees really pay attention and spend their day working or not. 

Tracking employees’ internet usage 

There are monitoring tools called TimeDoctor where employers can track employees’ history of internet usage and whether they visit relevant websites and online applications. This is a higher level of monitoring, nonetheless, because you might get exposed to too much information to employee’s confidential internet usage. 

If your employees use the company’s devices, such as laptop or handphone, employers have the right to monitor, remove any application, change any setting, and monitor any activity employees do with those devices with or without employee’s concern. Yet, employers should have a user device policy in place to avoid any legal charges in case your employees think that you violate their privacy as an employee.  

How close and often should you monitor your remote employees? 

When you use monitoring tools, you might notice different efforts made by your people. For example, the chatty Carry who is usually productive at work makes longer unexplained stops during a supposedly-productive workday. Meanwhile, Alex who usually works in silence can be more productive albeit he makes a few stops during your monitoring. Should you be worried about this? 

The answer is NOT necessarily. Their breaks are probably used to sip a cup of coffee while recharging their productivity battery or make an important call. If the stops take longer and frequent, employers have the right to ask the employees about their schedule. Yet again – employers must understand that for some people, being closely monitored or micromanage could destroy employees’ morale. This negative impact is closely related to white-collar employees.  

In some industry that requires hospitality, however, letting employees know they are being monitored can result better. A study on the effect of information technology on employee time-theft and productivity at restaurants found that workers work harder during the monitoring. There is approximately 22 percent reduction in employees’ time-theft. At the same time, the restaurants found a 10 percent increase in their sales. 

Read also: Crisis Management Guide for HR During COVID-19 Pandemic