As remote work has become the norm in 2020, so has the need for remote workforce management software. Managing a remote workforce comes with unique challenges, including decreased visibility into employee behavior, employee burnout, and operational bottlenecks. These challenges can all be managed by using employee monitoring software—but just like any other tool, its effectiveness depends on how you use it. Remote workforce management software itself won’t solve remote workforce challenges, but acting on the data and insights the software serves up can. Planning ahead and being strategic about your remote workforce data is key.
To help you get the most out of your remote workforce management software, we’ve compiled these top 3 tips you can put into practice today.
Tip 1: Support employee productivity and prevent burnout
When working from home, the lines between professional and personal time can blur. Although going remote can create an initial spike in employee productivity, a lack of work-life balance can eventually lead to employee burnout. This is a major concern for managers and business leaders because burnout leads to a disengaged workforce. According to Gallup, only a little more than 1 in 3 US workers today can be classified as engaged. The remaining 66% of employees are either not engaged, or worse, actively disengaged. The effects of disengagement? Declining productivity, decreased work quality, unhappy employees, and higher turnover rates.
Remote employee management software, when used intentionally and strategically, can help employers and managers better support employees by identifying burnout before it becomes a costly problem. By using the software to track how time is being spent, managers can use data to coach employees towards healthy, productive work habits. The data can also make performance reviews more objective and fair for employees.
When analyzing employee behavior data, consider how work is being completed and where time is allocated—not just how many total hours in a day an employee spends working. With a robust remote workforce management software like ActivTrak, you can even customize your analysis and reports by assigning “productive” and “unproductive” labels to tasks, websites and applications.
In addition to supporting individual employees, managers can use workforce data as a motivational tool by gamifying productivity stats, helping to boost team morale. According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019, loneliness and motivation are top concerns for remote employees. Creating a gamified productivity leaderboard, and offering recognition to employees who improve or excel, is a creative way to help remote employees socialize and stay engaged.
Tip 2: Find workflow bottlenecks and disconnected tech
Remote work has been largely enabled by advances in cloud-based technology. Tools like Slack, Zoom, and project management systems help remote workers collaborate and communicate from afar. While most remote workers report feeling more productive at home than onsite, workflows can quickly become inefficient when tools and platforms are not seamlessly integrated. Without access to in-person IT support, remote employees are particularly impacted by disconnected tech—which can lead to decreased employee productivity and employee disengagement.
To prevent workflow bottlenecks from impacting your remote teams, leverage data from your remote workforce management software to find and stop tech issues in their tracks. If you’re using ActivTrak, application usage data is particularly good at identifying operational bottlenecks related to remote work technology.
With ActivTrak’s “Top Applications” report, for example, managers can see at-a-glance how time is being spent across online tools and applications. This data can uncover collaboration issues due to disconnected tech, and help you measure the effectiveness of any new tools being utilized.
You may also want to combine these quantitative insights with qualitative research. The data can tell you what is happening, but employees will tell you why it happened. For example, managers can use data as a conversation starter during 1-1 employee meetings. These conversations will further illuminate why a particular workflow or application is a bottleneck, so that you can create strategic, holistic solutions that benefit everyone.
Tip 3: Protect employee and company data
Organizations need to ensure operational compliance so that sensitive company data stays secure. Employees, too, are becoming more concerned about the safety of their personally identifiable information (PII) at work as stories about data breaches proliferate in the news. Education tech company Chegg, for example, had the records of over 700 employees hacked in April 2020, which included Social Security Numbers.
As employees transition to working remotely, data safety practices must adapt with them. It’s common for remote workers to use their personal devices for work, often on unsecured WiFi networks in public spaces—without realizing how risky this can be for personal and company data. Remote workforces need education and tools to protect company and employee data. The cost of taking measures to comply with data privacy regulations is often half the cost of dealing with the consequences of non-compliance, according to Globalscape.
In addition to creating and sharing clear remote work policies, managers can leverage data from employee monitoring software to continuously audit for, and prevent, data compliance risks.