Working from home has become a new reality for many businesses around the globe. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workforces are proving to be the lifeline for organizations that want to secure their business continuity. Some companies are faring better than others, trying to implement or expand work-from-home policies for their remote workforce.
The learning curve can be steep to overcome, especially for businesses that used to thrive on face-to-face contact and a buzzing office environment. This changed situation raises a number of questions. A particular dilemma that companies face is the following: should they turn to technology to check on team members or rather trust their employees entirely? And do employees feel rewarded for the efforts they put in? And will employees feel rewarded for their (additional) productivity? The answer might surprise you.
Trust versus technology is a false dilemma
Strange as it may seem, coming from a tracking tool software provider, technology is not the right starting point for a discussion about the productivity of remote workers. You might expect us to propagate the idea of technology as the quintessential solution for tracking employees’ work and ensuring maximum productivity. In reality, however, this trust versus technology debate is counterproductive.
For many companies who used to rely on human interaction, it would seem an attractive strategy to concentrate fully on video monitoring, keystroke logging or digital time sheets. In practice, they are doomed to see their efforts fail in the long run. These aggressive techniques provide a false sense of transparency. Before you know it, employers and employees alike start focusing too much on productivity numbers rather than actual output. This could easily lead to misreporting on activities. Keep up appearances, be it intentional or inadvertently, is evidently not the best approach.
Monitoring and tracking can only be helpful if there is a basis of mutual confidence in place, supported by a transparent work-from-home policy that strikes the right balance between managers’ expectations and employee autonomy. If this condition is satisfied, software tools can provide an incredibly powerful boost to the day-to-day home office operations of your business.
Business benefits example: time tracking
Take, for example, automated time tracking software - something we feel rather confident making statements about, since AI-powered time tracking happens to be our core business.
As we’ve explained before, time tracking is a business tool. We recommend automated time tracking not for checking in on employees, but rather for businesses who are looking to increase their transparency towards their clients and gain a better understanding of project budgets and ROI.
Three stakeholders benefit from this approach:
- Employees get a better understanding of the time they spend, which can be useful to improve their productivity,
- Employers can allocate the right resources and monitor project profitability,
- Clients are provided with more accurate information, leading to improved transparency.
The key takeaway?
Automated time-tracking tools for employees, like other productivity software, can be a tremendous addition to your work-from-home policy and increase peace of mind for employers and employees alike. Just make sure the mutual trust between you and your team members is established first, before all else.