The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted virtually all aspects of our lives. One of the new normals is remote working as companies and businesses alike join in the fervent efforts of flattening the stubborn COVID-19 curve. The pandemic caught all of us off-guard and so companies had not envisioned their employees working from home. Even when working from the office, employee monitoring can be such a chore. Working remotely has definitely worsened the situation.
However, you need not fret if you are a business, employer or supervisor who has found himself/herself in such a situation because, with a good employee tracking tool, you are able to track your teams' productivity from wherever they are. As the pandemic relents, we are seeing more and more companies adopting the use of such apps to monitor employees' output.
A survey was done by staffing firm Robert Half reported that 60% of office professionals who transition to a remote setup say they have better work-life balance without the commute, which in turn is leading to an increase in adoption of employee monitoring software.
It is imperative to note that companies want to exert the same control they had over their workforce before the pandemic struck.
If you choose to go this route, and we advise that you do, then opt for a tracking tool that boasts of the following features.
Activity analysis: The app should classify certain websites and applications as productive or unproductive in order to analyze, use and track active time against idle time.
Smart rules and alerts: Should configure rules and alerts to notify, block, redirect, log out, or lock-out a user depending on the severity of the action.
Live views: This should enable an employer to see in real-time view the activity on a user’s desktop.
Keystroke logging: The tool should allow the employer to track, capture, record and log all keyboard activity by a user.
File transfer tracking: The app should also send file upload notifications to cloud storage or downloads to mobile storage devices.
Remote control: A good employee tracker should enable employers to override manual inputs by a user to prevent sensitive data from being altered and data breaches from occurring; use the remote control as a training aid between dispersed offices.
Monitoring: It should also track actions across email, websites, applications (whitelist and blacklist applications) and text/instant messaging.
With the above features in mind, here's why such tools are a must-have for any company.
1. It increases employee productivity
Perhaps the biggest advantage of employee monitoring is that it boosts productivity. Ideally, employees should be self-driven and disciplined to focus on what they were hired to do and while a little break here and there doesn’t harm, if gone unchecked, it could amount to hours spent on unproductive activities to the detriment of the business.
Employers, on the other hand, feel helpless when they are in the dark regarding a worker’s activity during the day. It’s even more frustrating when the employee in question does not meet targets yet he/she swears that they have been giving the task at hand their all. In such scenarios, tracking one’s employees could be the antidote to the discrepancies between the time spent on a task and the output.
2. Picks out the problematic areas
A tracking software not only focuses on unproductivity, but also reveals the time an employee spends to complete a given task. This way, it becomes easy for the employer or supervisor to pick out areas that the employee is struggling with and thereby offer assistance thus saving time. There are employees who would rather die trying rather than ask for help. A tracking tool thus comes handy in such instances.
3. Helps with the reallocation of resources
We cannot underscore the importance of data when it comes to decision-making. One thing that technology has helped companies with is the ability to collect and analyze data, which plays a crucial role when it comes to running a business. The same concept applies with a tracking tool as they collect data that will guide in making decisions. For example, one can find data in where time and resources are being spent on an average workday. With such data, an employer can redirect or reallocate resources to ensure they are used efficiently and effectively.
4. Can detect hacking
Websites play a significant role in many businesses and as such it has become a part and parcel of the business entity. Businesses with physical locations go at great lengths to protect their buildings and the contents therein. The same should apply to websites especially in this era of hackers, who want to reap where they did not sow.
Hackers use various means to hack websites according to [ThreatPress] and being aware of how website hacking techniques work is the first line of defense ‘to protect yourself and your business against cyber criminals.’
Employers can identify a hacking attempt from vulnerability – such as when an employee clicks on a suspicious link – using the employee tracking tool. And since the threat is sometimes from internal sources including one’s employees, the organization is able to identify the entry point of the hacking.
5. Monitor attendance
While there are many ways of tracking an employee’s attendance, very few come with the aforementioned benefits that is associated with employee monitoring tools. Since time immemorial, companies have been grappling with employee attendance and with no proper record, it is very difficult to argue a case against an employee. It doesn’t help that there are so many aspects of attendance that need to be taken care of including off time schedule, start time schedule, arrival time, leaves, and break times and so on all of which impact the performance of not just that particular employee, but also for the entire workforce.
The Nest explains that employees will resent a colleague who is consistently absent because the ones in attendance will have to cover that person's work. Additionally, some staff members will have to delay their own projects in order to ensure the affected assignments are handled on time.
The news source goes on to note that continuous absences will hurt morale because employees will feel that the management isn't taking the necessary steps to prevent a growing problem. This means that workers will become disengaged with their work and may start missing work because they don't believe there are any repercussions. With a tracking tool, employees will be kept on their toes and therefore adhere to the agreed timings.
6. Prevents unauthorized access
Another way that employee monitoring can help tighten up security is by keeping an eye on who accesses what. Whether it’s done maliciously or by accident, an employee monitoring software will alert employers when a user accesses data that they are not supposed to. This information allows employers to investigate a potential breach or behavior that is overall suspicious and find out if it was done with malicious intent or not. Through this, employers can help safeguard sensitive data against insider threats.
7. Helps with project management
Tracking software will enable project managers to stay on top of projects as they get to receive continuous reports on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. With such a report, project managers are best placed to make follow-ups or readjust schedules to ensure deadlines are met.
8. Enables prompt response to requests
An important aspect of maintaining a satisfying workplace is attending to employees’ requests promptly. If an employee has an emergency at home and he/she has to immediately leave the office, they would appreciate a quick turnaround to their request. With a tracking tool, employers are able to see such requests as soon as they are posted and act on them accordingly.
9. Helps supervisors to generate objective, accurate feedback
The feedback that is constructive is vital to employees’ ongoing development. Feedback clarifies expectations, helps people learn from their mistakes and builds confidence.
With the employee location tracking system, managers can provide real, tangible and correct performance analysis to the employees. The feedback will be more meaningful and accurate when armed with real-time statistics related to the employee's attendance, project status and so on.
According to [Harvard Business Review] recognizing employees is the easiest way of boosting their morale; “Make it timely. Don’t wait for monthly meetings or annual performance reviews. The OGO survey respondents reported an average of 50 days since they last felt recognized in any way at work. That’s way too long. Good things are happening all around you; notice them and seize any opportunity to acknowledge them.
Some of the feedback, especially if negative, will require proof to back it up, proof that you can obtain from data retrieved from the tracking app. Such data also makes the feedback objective and the employee will have no reason to say they are being picked on and such excuses to justify the negative report.
10. A saving grace for working remotely
If you are reluctant to embrace remote work culture in your organization, then some pros of employee tracking software can help you here. Establishing a proper workflow without direct supervision can be tricky, but it is not impossible as tracking tools including Clockly have shown us. Employers will feel more at ease when they are able to monitor the activities of their employees who are working remotely.
11. Saves you time and money
As mentioned earlier, employee surveillance tools increase employee productivity. With a productive workforce, you are likely to have higher returns on investments. And since you can track productivity metrics including hours worked, you can use this data when it comes to payment especially if your company has shifts and overtime.
12. Builds trust
The mistrust that exists between employers and employees doubles when the employer is unable to account for an employee’s time. With a monitoring tool, trust will slowly but surely be rebuilt as the employer is assured that the employee is using company time well. And, knowing that their employer is watching, an employee is better placed to make the right decisions. Hence, it’s a win-win situation to everyone involved. The key is for each party to understand that the monitoring tool is meant to improve productivity.
13. Help you manage payroll
Isn’t just amazing how much you can do with just one tool? Employee monitoring tools such as Clockly come with a payroll management system that helps you to streamline your payroll process. All you need to do is to integrate it with a third-party payment delivery service and clear payments at the touch of a button. The tool also allows you to create and share invoices to enable you make payments.
14. Can pick out hazards
Whether voluntarily or involuntarily, employees may break safety regulations, which may lead to them getting seriously injured. By having a monitoring system in place, you can monitor any safety issues that occur, including little safety hazards on the floor or overhead, especially for work environments prone to safety hazards, such as warehouses and construction sites.
15. Good for record keeping
This is primarily achieved by tracking employee time and other performance metrics. Good record keeping is vital for any business. A proper tool should be able to keep records of all your transactions, timestamps and schedules efficiently without you having the need to bat an eyelid.
From tracking your employees’ activities to simple record keeping to intensive and sensitive tasks like data compartmentalization, there is just so much you can do with an employee tracking tool. The value addition of such a software means that it is very cost effective. You simply cannot put a price to the peace of mind that comes with a tracking tool.