Are Your Employees Working When They’re Working From Home

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Working from home undeniably has a lot of benefits for both employees and employers. You might be 18 months into a work-from-home regime that’s kept everyone out of the office and in their homes. In fact, your business might have realized that this is more beneficial for you than moving back to the office, largely thanks to the cost savings. 

Nevertheless, there’s one big issue that puts a lot of employers and business owners off the concept of permanently working from home. When you’re in an office, it’s easy to tell whether your employees are working. When everyone is in their own homes, how can you know if they are working as productively as possible?

Put simply, are your employees working when they’re working from home?

How can you ensure that this is the case and they are genuinely doing their work? Thankfully, a few ideas and solutions help you understand just how productive your remote team is. Let’s look at the ideas below:

Hold daily meetings

It’s a smart idea to have a daily meeting via your video calling software of choice when everyone works from home. It sounds a bit overboard, but consider this; you would usually be in an office with everyone throughout the day, so it’s actually less full-on than that. The meetings don’t need to be overly formal; they’re just there to get everyone online and be sure the team knows what it’s doing. 

You can approach these meetings in two different ways. Firstly, you could hold them in the mornings to ensure everyone is simultaneously up and at their computers. This stops people from sleeping and starting work two or three hours after they should. It is also an opportunity to lay down daily goals and ensure the whole team understands what they need to accomplish today. 

A second approach is to hold the meeting just before or after lunch. Here, it’s more of a daily update meeting, checking in to see if everyone has completed their morning tasks or how they’re doing. This is a straightforward way of understanding who is working and who is not. If the same employees seem to have little progress at this point every day, you can have a private conversation with them about their productivity. They are not working while they’re at home!

Get your employees to clock in

Another tactic to ensure your employees are working when they’re working from home is by getting them to clock in. Believe it or not, this is very easy, and you don’t need a weird clocking-in system. Instead, many time and attendance tracking apps will let your employees clock in from home, stating that they have started work. You can even set times for them to clock in, getting notifications when people haven’t clocked in yet. 

In essence, these apps help how to monitor remote workers as they work, seeing how long they work. They clock out at the end of the day, and you should know that they have been working as much as they should. Even if you have a flexible schedule, you can see when an employee clocks in and when they clock out. So, someone might not clock in and out at 9 and 5, but they could do so at 12 and 8. That’s still an 8-hour shift, just done at a time that might be better for them. 

Naturally, there’s the elephant in the room here. Can’t someone just clock in via the app, do no work, then clock out at the end of the day? Well…yes…yes, they could. However, you need to combine this with the other methods. For instance, the daily meetings help you see what they’ve been doing. Thus, if someone clocks in and you have a meeting midway through the day, and they can’t provide a progress report, it tells you they just clocked in for the sake of it. Nobody wants to be caught doing this, so they are likelier to knuckle down and work!

Work on shared projects

Working from home works because there’s an abundance of cloud software that makes it easier than ever to work remotely. Primarily, this software lets you work on shared projects where numerous people can access the same documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. Google Docs is the clearest example of this; someone can work on a document, but anyone with the link to the document can view or edit it. 

What is the benefit of this? Well, from your perspective, it means you have access to the work that your employees are doing. You need to oversee things and look at people’s progress to ensure that projects are being completed correctly and to your requirements. As such, you can quickly see who is working and who isn’t. If you have access to a shared document and see that hardly any work has been done over the last couple of days, you know that at least one or two of your employees have been slacking. 

Plus, as your employees know their work is shared, they have to do it. They don’t want the awkwardness of you finding out that they’ve been home all day baking sourdough bread instead of doing their work!

Set daily and weekly goals

Many business owners don’t really care when their employees are working as long as they actually do the work. Well, this depends on your business and how important things get done at specific times. If you depend on work between 9 and 5, it is more critical that work gets done between these hours. 

Regardless, a way to ensure that your employees work is by setting daily and weekly goals. Give them things to achieve daily that will work towards the weekly plan. Right away, they have something that must be done, or they deal with the embarrassment of not completing the goals. Think back to the first point about daily meetings, where you discuss the plans and ensure that people are on the right track. 

Provide rewards for meeting goals

You should also look to incentivize work by giving your employees a reason to be as productive as possible. An easy idea is to reward them for meeting specific goals. A weekly reward might be a bit too much, but what about a monthly one? If everyone reaches their weekly goals to achieve a monthly one, you could reward your team with something special. If you all live in the same area but choose to work from home, an all-expenses-paid night out could be on the cards. 

Alternatively, you could provide gift cards or other little benefits periodically when goals are met. It makes your employees want to work hard, so they don’t just sit around the house doing nothing. They have an incentive, knowing there’s a reward waiting for them if everyone knocks down and tries their most challenging. 

You’re right to be concerned about employees working when they’re at home. Primarily if they aren’t used to working from home, it’s easy to be distracted or feel like they can get away with doing nothing. The tactics in this post will help you understand if your employees are working hard while also forcing them to do so. 


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