How to Monitor Remote Work

April 08, 2020

Plunged into the forefront of a global epidemic, the Singapore government has urged all businesses to shut down all non-essential contact and begin working remotely. This change came as a shock to Singaporeans across the country, many of whom have already grown accustomed to the 9 to 5 business model. On the other hand, there are many who see this as an opportunity to save on transportation and meal costs. After all, working in the comforts of one’s home doesn’t sound too bad. A 2019 Owl Labs’ Report found that remote workers often felt happier and were more likely to achieve a work-life balance. So, maybe remote work may inadvertently enrich Singaporeans’ busy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, while sitting on your sofa in your pyjamas while filling in your report may sound like a dream come true, there are many drawbacks that Singaporeans fear. A 2017 United Nations report found that 41% of employees who started remote work were concerned that the change would lead to longer office hours and a lack of distinction between one’s work and personal life. These problems put on top of the global economic crisis that is upon us has put most of the working on edge.

As if there was not already too much conflict, Project Managers who are now forced to work remotely with a team are staring down into a deep, dark pit of complication. “In my experience, only about one in ten employees can pull off working remotely.” Mike Kappel from Forbes stated in an article. Chocking it down to most employees’ lack of personal discipline and willingness to connect with other team members, he concluded that managing remote employees was a challenging task for any experienced project manager.

However, with the rapid rate of Globalization and the lockdowns due to Covid-19, remote work has become a core part of businesses today. The ability to work while in different areas allows for more flexible business models and work schedules that can help to create more opportunities for all businesses. So, to aid you in your journey through remote work, here are some tips.

Every Tasks Needs A Clear Deadline

Remember in school when your teachers would write a specific date and submission time on the board so everyone knew when they had to finish their work? You need to do that for your team members- of course, with less nagging and algebra involved. Remote working may seem to be overtly flexible, benefitting single parents or those with disabilities. However, that does not mean that specific deadlines are a thing of the past.

With remote working, misunderstandings are rampant. A single text may read in a different tone that you did not intent. So, in this case, clarity is crucial. Things like deadlines and checkpoints in each project need to be broadcasted and recorded somewhere that the whole team can always see and refer to when in doubt.

Check-ins. Check-ins. Cheack-ins.

Checking in may seem like a hassle and a new kind of ‘nagging’ or ‘hounding’ but it is completely necessary if a team cannot meet face-to-face. In an office, managers often just need to sneak a peak at a team member’s screen to learn whether or not they are being productive. Unfortunately, managers can no longer do that while the team is scattered across the country or globe. So, to keep informed, managers have to do small check-ins with their team either through asking for updates or, if your database has a history function, checkingwhat each user has updated throughout the day.

While it is important to be in the know, project managers should also moderate the number of check-ins they do in a day since too many check-ins will decrease productivity and waste more of the team’s time.

Building Trust Amongst Teammates

Checking in and viewing the timeline may be good but sometimes a video conference is just what the team needs! Most offices have team meetings in a meeting room almost everyday so why should it be any different when working remotely?

Working in a team while in separate locations is already difficult but working in a team that does not talk to each other is impossible. Communication is the key to developing trust and transparency within teammates. And, the only way to do that is to make sure that everyone interaction with each other on a regular basis.

End of Day Report Summary

At the end of the day, the best way to know if an employee has been effective is through their completed tasks. And, the only way to track these tasks is through a cloud-based system that allows users to either check each task from a list or input what they have contributed throughout the day. It may seem like extra work but, through this, project managers will have a better grasp on the percentage of contribution that each team member has put in.

In the end, the success of working remotely boils down to the team’s ability to both cooperate and take accountability for their tasks. Monitoring and tracking remote work is one way for managers to understand which employees are capable of remote working and which require extra support. By keeping informed of completed task and by whom, managers are creating a culture of liability that will empower team members to pro-actively contribute and cooperate for the success of your company. So, start using VAL’s FREE plan to track and manage your team’s tasks now. If you think you want to learn more, have a coffee with ThinkVAL to learn more about how you can improve your business with the power of data.

HubStaff (2020, March 15) How to Implement Remote Worker Monitoring At Your Company*
Active Collab (2018, 24 Jan) 6 Ways to Make Sure Your Remote Workers Are Actually Working Full-Time
Forbes (2018, August 22) How to Manage Remote Employees

About VAL

VAL, also known as the Value Aggregation Layer, is an all-in-one data collaborative data operations solution that lets you operationalize your day-to-day work and discover actionable insights from your data.

About the author

Nicole is a freelance designer and writer that has written articles for different sectors.