Is it worth monitoring the remote staff?

We are used to the fact that we constantly go to work at the office, which, perhaps, is also not close to home. However, the modern work of IT companies and startups increasingly allows you to work from home, without harming the success of the company. The network has more and more articles on improving home productivity, on the successes of foreign companies whose developers are located around the world. What can we say about a large number of high-quality and useful books on this subject: David Allen - Getting Things Done; Remote - Office Not Required by 37Signals.

But managers should remember that not all of its employees are ready to grow in a personal and career plan or can do it not as quickly and efficiently as they would like. A number of companies use open surveillance of their employees working both in the office and at home. Further, I would like to provide a translation of the article by Sue Shellenbarger: 'Working From Home' Without Slacking Off from The Wall Street Journal . If you are interested in the performance issues of remote personnel, welcome to cat.

Amy Johnson works at home in Dickson, Illinois, communicating with clients and filling out progress reports as a print technician. It would seem that she should have sat next to her boss in an office in Chicago, but this is not so.
Using a computer monitoring program, Timothy Daniels, vice president of Accurate Biometrics, can track whether Ms. Johnson and his other employees are working or are moving away from their duties. Once a week, he watches a summary of “which sites they use and for how long,” he says. “This allows us to closely monitor subordinates without taking harsh measures.”

Ms. Johnson knows that her computer is being monitored, but “I don't care,” she says. "I am not doing anything from what should not be."

Work at home allows you to relax from stress in the office. (And let's be honest: it makes your schedule more flexible and even allows you to take a nap between conference calls).

Today, the days when you work at home are becoming more like working in the office, because bosses are trying to create new ways to control their employees. Some track projects and meeting schedules on shared calendars. Others require you to send "virtual calls" by mail, instant messaging or calls. And some, such as Accurate Biometrics, use computer controls for employees, both at home and in the office.

Gartner Inc., Stamford, a technology research company, predicts an increase in employers' use of secure computer control programs from 10% now to 60% in the coming years.

The systems are mainly used to ensure confidentiality of data and comply with all state requirements, but they still lead to the fact that a lot of information about personal employees appears on the Internet. To avoid violations, employers have to warn subordinates in advance that they will be under control and monitor only their work activities, as lawyers say.

The control program that Daniels uses in Los Angeles is called InterGuardand is used to study information about the financial situation, health and previous experience of employees in order to monitor their performance, prevent information leakage and comply with safety rules. Like most monitoring programs, this allows Daniels to see all of his subordinates, including 16 office workers and 24 home workers , in order to know exactly if they use working time for personal purposes. Employees are aware that they are being controlled.

“Such programs help supervisors identify those employees who need help, as well as those who simply spend time,” says Elena Proskumina, NesterSoft Software Sales Specialist in Woodbridge, Ontario and creator of a monitoring program called “ Work Time". “One of the reports presented by this program is“ Top Facebook Users, ”she says.

Employers say the idea of ​​these kinds of programs is to keep people chained to their workplace for eight hours in a row. They understand that people working at home can take breaks or go about their personal business.

“Many of Celeste O'Keefe's 13 employees often work at home, which helps them take longer to complete their tasks,” said Ms. O'Keefe, CEO of Dancel, a provider of additional procedural services for lawyers. She uses SpectorSoft to know how much time employees spend on client projects in the office or at home.

Ms. O'Keefe says she cannot help but use the surveillance programs. In any case, after she noticed that one of the employees working at home began to lag behind in the delivery of projects. After she installed the monitoring program, it turned out that he spends a lot of time writing text documents, which was not required for his work. Upon learning that in fact he spent most of his time studying for a master’s degree, “I just had to fire him. I couldn’t trust him again, ”said Ms. O'Keefe.

The differences between working at home and in the office are blurred , as many people spend their weeks and even days between home and office.
The number of corporate employees working at home has increased by 23% per year since 2007 and an average of 22.8 million people last year, said Raymond Boggs, vice president of IDC, a market research company.

Those who work at home only one or two days a month occupy leading positions, the number of such employees has been increasing by an average of 69.5% annually since 2007, last year it amounted to 3.3 million people.

The main tasks of managers are getting harder because of this, ” says Mr. Boggs. “Some may work at home every Friday. Others leave 3 hours to manage to pick up children from school or prefer to work at home in the afternoon, ”he says.
Focusing on employee accomplishments rather than their work time is another effective way to keep track of employees at home. And tools such as video conferencing, shared calendars, email, and instant messaging will further help.

Most of their 940 employees working at home, at least sometimes the managers of Mr. Ryan's tax services company, set tasks for each employee and are fined for delays or failures. From the moment these measures were taken, company productivity has increased and staff turnover has decreased.

Every Monday, Chad Dunkin, team leader Ryan in Houston, meets with his four team members to discuss the agenda, plans for the week and setting goals. “We have project A, B, C and D and we must complete them by date X,” he says and distributes tasks and deadlines for each employee. After that, it doesn't really matter where or how they work, because “ we only look at the result ,” Mr. Dunkin says.

Employees post their schedules on shared calendars in Outlook and often hold video conferences, as Heather Harrison, a senior consultant, told us. When she works at home, she constantly exchanges instant messages or letters with Mr. Dunkin. “Working at home is not much different than working in the office,” she says.

The number of those who work at home constantly, or at least occasionally, is growing day by day. This flexibility is forcing an increasing number of companies to use tracking software and other checks to make sure employees are really busy with their duties.

Chad Dunkin, tax manager at Ryan, works in an office in Houston, unlike colleagues who often work at home, including Heather Harrison. Controlling the projects, Mr. Dunkin draws up tasks for the week, outlines the deadlines for their implementation and distributes them among the employees.

Personally, I would be opposed to being watched by management in this way. However, I myself am engaged in "tracking" myself, using RescueTime , allows me to be focused on real tasks and limit myself to the temptation to do something useless as much as possible. If you, like me, care about personal productivity or use some interesting solutions for managing your employees, I will be glad to discuss in the comments.

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