Is Remote Working Right for Your Business?

Does the idea of your team working remotely make you worry?

How can you know if they’re doing their work? You don’t want idle staff – it costs the business time and money.

These are important concerns when you’re in growth mode.

First question: Is remote working worth it?

Short answer: Yes. Let’s look at why in detail.

Then we’ll work out which are the best performance tracking tools for your business. So you can relax knowing your digital nomads are working optimally while reaping the benefits of a ‘work anywhere’ culture.

The Perks of Freedom

A Plan B
Winter is coming. Snow and ice can make commuting hell on earth. Your employees will be miserable AND late. Enabling remote working keeps your business on track in spite of uncontrollable disruptions.

A Happy Workforce
While working from home isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, numerous studies suggest that most remote workers are happier than office-based staff. For example, Mental Floss reports that, based on a one-to-10 scale, remote workers rank their happiness in their job at an average of 8.1.

More Time
When employees don’t commute or waste (let’s be real) hours talking to their co-workers, they have more time to care for themselves and their families. This reduces stress and unproductive behaviour increasing the amount of work completed on a daily basis.

Cost Savings
Travel. Office space. Sick days. It all equals money – overheads you can reduce by enabling remote working. To illustrate, according to Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save approx. £8,400 per half-time telecommute per year.

Keeping Green
Even just one day of working virtually could save 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas, according to the Telework Research Network. Working in an office eats up energy. Commuting puts more CO2 into the atmosphere. With global warming threatening the far future, being environmentally friendly should be a top priority.

The jury is in. If remote working is right for your business you can benefit from:

  • A happier workforce
  • Enhanced productivity levels
  • Cost and time savings
  • A clear conscience

The benefits are as beautiful as remote working is benevolent. You can enable this on a short or long-term basis:

  • Hiring freelancers
  • Allowing teams to work from home
  • Adopting flexible working hours

However, you need to find a way of monitoring your employees’ work. To ensure they’re on the ball outside of the office. This comes with additional perks:

Workers are held accountable: they know you’re going to check in, so they do the work that’s expected of them. Bonus: having deadlines in place also motivates them to be more productive.

You build trust: because you can discern who is doing what, you get a real picture of how committed your employees are. This ensures you can build a team you trust.

You can justify hours spent: if your services are time-based, you can prove how much work has been completed via timesheets so bills are always accurate.

How Do You Monitor Activity?

Project Management Tools
Asana and Basecamp are worshipped in the business world for their project management capabilities.

In Asana, you can monitor when an employee completes a task and at what time. All you need to do is create a project and assign tasks to the right person.

Once finished, the responsible task owner can mark it as complete and attach any relevant documents for you to view. This is an easy way to check-in virtually and ensure your remote workers are on the ball.

Basecamp and Trello work in similar ways. You can use the same system where items are checked off a list when a job is completed or maintain an open dialogue for an ongoing project using its messaging feature.

You might be keen on tracking employees time when they’re out of the office, especially if you’re billing clients by the hour. With Basecamp, you can add an app like Everyhour to track time for to-dos. These times can be started manually or triggered automatically for each entry to make this task undemanding.  There are many other time tracking tools too, such as Toggle or Harvest.

A High-Level View
You can get a daily report for the whole team and the work they’ve completed using an app like I Done This.

All your digital nomads need to do is submit an email at the end of the day which lists their daily tasks and those that have been completed e.g. “Fixed bug,” or “Paid supplier.” You will then receive a report featuring performance analytics for the day.

There’s also an option to annotate the time they’ve spent on each achievement to help you spot opportunities to drive efficiency.

Seamless Collaboration
If you have whole teams working remotely or staff who do a lot of travelling, Microsoft Teams is invaluable. In simple terms, it’s a tool for real-time discussions. You can create different channels for different teams and enable either video or text-based communication. It makes keeping tabs on your virtual staff effortless.

Teams also streamlines collaboration. It integrates with hundreds of Microsoft and third-party apps which can be pinned to your dashboard. For example, let’s say you want to pull up an Excel spreadsheet to view and discuss with the person working on it. You can do this in Teams without ever leaving the platform.

Document Tracking
This function is especially useful if you work with people who write content, job adverts, business reports or proposals.

As long as you have the correct permissions, you can check a document’s version history and tracked changes in Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive. So you can keep up with your staff’s progress and also input suggestions using the comment system.

Pair this feature with a project management tool, and you can monitor your employee’s work from start to finish no matter where they’re based.

Monitoring Responsibly

Is the use of monitoring software for employee activity ethical? Yes, but you need to do this explicitly. Make sure your staff are fully aware of the software you’re using and how you’re using it.

And of course, personal data monitoring is out of the question. The only software that enables this is spyware; none of the aforementioned tools will allow you to do this.  

How do you feel about allowing your staff to work remotely now?

As we discussed earlier, the business benefits of a ‘work anywhere’ culture can be phenomenal.  It’s definitely worth investigating these tools further for practical monitoring solutions.

If you do have any burning questions about the technology featured, we’d be happy to answer them for you.

Chat to one of our IT specialists today on 0800 084 2575 or send us an email at [email protected].