When dealing with remote teams, managers have to pay special attention to keep a check on how each team member is performing their assigned tasks.
It’s their duty to ensure that remote employees are working sincerely and not get involved in activities that they are not supposed to do during work hours.
Most of us love working remotely because it gives us more freedom and flexibility than a traditional office setting. However, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, remote workers tend to delay work without any good reason.
Usually, while working from home or any remote place, distractions seem to be much more overpowering because of the lack of supervision. As a result, it becomes difficult to stay focused on tasks, and productivity gets affected pretty badly.
To cope up with such a situation, leaders need to utilize remote employee time-tracking techniques and tools that I am going to share with you in this article.
But before that, let’s take a quick look at employee time tracking how it can be of great help to both leaders and their remote teams.
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What is team or employee time tracking?
Employee time tracking is the process of measuring and recording the work hours of employees to analyze their performance.
The total work hours can be further divided based on individual projects and activities to have a better understanding of an employee’s productivity.
When you have a team to manage that’s not working from a common space, remote employee time tracking can help you complete your projects on time.
As a leader, using top-rated time tracking software allows you to monitor the activities of each team member on a daily or hourly basis. Consequently, you can easily draw a clear line between the time that an employee has actually spent working and the time during which they took breaks.
While time tracking seems to be inclined more towards employers and managers, this is not completely true. Time tracking has its own set of benefits for employees too.
If you are a remote employee, you can use timesheets to know the specific hours of the day when you are being more productive. Moreover, you can also identify the tasks that you complete in less time compared to other tasks. Thus, you can point out your skills that need improvement.
4 Actionable ways to perform employee time tracking (Without sacrificing the trust of employees)
You need to perform time tracking in such a way that it does not overburden your remote team. They shouldn’t perceive your way of time tracking as a restraint.
Also, when your team has made a temporary shift to remote work due to some serious issues like the spread of a global pandemic, you need to be more empathetic with your team.
You should tell the importance of time tracking every person on the team and why you need to implement it. It’s always a good idea to maintain transparency with your remote team so that they can understand your decisions better and stand with you.
Following are 5 effective ways that can help you with remote employee time tracking:
1. Get regular updates on who’s working on what
Sounds easy, right?
So, all you need to do is to ask every individual on the remote team to report their current tasks, and the tasks lined up for them.
And believe me… no one on your team is going to complain or mind providing updates on their tasks because it hardly requires a couple of minutes to communicate an update.
However, for you, these updates are of great value. With regular task updates, you can keep yourself aware of what each team member is working on, and also estimate the time taken by them to finish their tasks.
You can ask your remote team to provide task updates once or twice a day!
2. Set start and end dates for each task
This goes a step ahead of regular task updates and requires you to define due dates for each task.
By assigning a start date and due date for each task, remote employees will take their tasks more seriously and will give their best to accomplish each task within the defined time limit.
However, make sure that the deadlines are realistic and not intended to push any individual in the team to overwork.
Reminders can also put in place to make sure that everyone on the team stays aware of the end dates of their tasks.
Important Tip – To make sure that people on your team do not resist task deadlines, you need to be lenient towards employees who missed their deadlines by a small margin. Also, praise the efforts of team members who are constantly completing their tasks on or before due dates. This will motivate them to complete their tasks on time.
3. Use timers and timesheets to keep a record of work hours
When your business requires you to keep an accurate record of billable hours, it becomes essential to use timers. Don’t know how to track time? Relax, it’s easy.
In general, you can use project management software that comes with a built-in timer feature or go for a dedicated time tracking app.
Timers automatically track the time for which an employee worked on a specific project or task and record it in a timesheet. You can access timesheets to know how much time is spent on different tasks by an employee.
Most apps and software with timer functionality also allows users to add time manually for a task.
Timers and timesheets offer you a great way to analyze the overall work hours and assess the productivity of employees.
Looking for software that centralizes all the time data for your projects and employees?
4. Automated attendance and track employee activities
Another effective way that you can use for remote employee time tracking is to record the clock-in/clock-out times of employees along with their activities.
This method is highly stringent as you have to track and monitor all the activities of remote employees during their work hours.
For this, you will again need to take advantage of technology such as a time-tracking tool to gather information on the activities that consume the work hours of your remote employees.
Also, note that certain time tracking and employee monitoring tools even allow you to take screenshots of your employees’ screens at regular intervals, track websites that they are visiting, and automatically detect the idle time or when they take breaks.
However, I suggest you not to make things too hard for your remote employees until you feel it’s extremely necessary.
Best tool for remote employee time tracking
After knowing the different ways to track time for remote employees, you may need a time tracking tool to implement different time tracking techniques.
Right now, ProofHub is among the best time-tracking tools that you can use to get a bird’s eye view of all time data. The following information will help you know more about ProofHub and how you can use it to your advantage:
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management and collaboration software that comes integrated with several useful features that managers can use to monitor the activities of a remote team. Along with timers and timesheets, the software allows you to divide and assign tasks of a project to the different members of the team.
Also, you can create dependencies between tasks, set due dates and time estimates for each task, change work schedule according to the shift in deadlines, and even visualize tasks in a timeline view using Gantt Charts.
ProofHub also comes with an in-built chat interface, where you can communicate with your remote employees and get updates over chats. The software provides you real-time notifications of every single activity associated with a project.
Below are some more features of ProofHub that can come handy when you manage a remote team and track their activities:
➡️ Kanban boards
Get a detailed view of each task and see tasks moving through different stages of the workflow. Also, you can see the assignees and drag & drop tasks from one work stage to another.
➡️ Custom reporting
You can create project and resource reports with a single click and also customize them at your convenience. You can easily change the report parameters and get customized reports to assess whether your project plan is moving in the right direction or not. Moreover, with resource reports in hand, you can get a clear idea of how your employees are performing.
ProofHub comes with an integrated Calendar that allows both you and your employees to know what you need to do and by when. You can easily schedule and view tasks, events, and milestones using the Calendar.
To stay on track and keep tasks moving, you and your team may need to share ideas or discuss certain issues with one another. ProofHub eliminates the need for long, messy email threads and allows you to create multiple discussion topics where you and your employees can discuss important matters in real-time. You never have to worry about the time of your remote employees that get wasted when they discuss things with other team members over emails.
Employee time tracking is a crucial activity that managers have to carry out, especially when they are leading a team that has remote employees. To make sure that everyone on the team performs their duties and tasks effectively, it’s imperative to use some of the remote employee time-tracking techniques mentioned above. However, managers should pay special attention to make sure that they do not jeopardize their relations with employees while implementing any time-tracking technique or tool.