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How to Monitor Employees Working From Home

Business growth depends on productivity. It doesn’t matter what your industry is or what kind of products or services you provide; if your employees aren’t productive in their roles, your business will suffer. The productivity of employees must therefore be tracked by employers.

There is nothing new about monitoring employees, but when companies switched to remote work in 2020 due to Coronavirus outbreaks, searches for “employee monitoring” soared to new heights. The demand for workplace surveillance tools has increased by 74% since then.

There is still a trend of companies hiring remote workers, so it is imperative to monitor their internet usage during office hours, regardless of where the office is located. And if you are struggling with how to monitor your employee’s work remotely, this article is for you.

Benefits of Monitoring Remote Employees

Monitoring remote employees boost productivity and save companies money, among other advantages, including:

  • Increased productivity: When employees are aware of their supervisor’s surveillance, they are more likely to perform well. Employees were more effective and conscious of their actions and work when they knew they were being monitored, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Maintaining employee accountability is a proven and effective method of improving employee performance.
  • Accurately Bill Clients: Monitoring the performance of your employees is imperative, as well as keeping a record of their time spent with clients, which can lead to billing inaccuracies.
  • Increased insight into workplace processes: Observing remote employees can provide managers with insights into business processes that may not be working for them. It is possible to track employees’ start and end times, their productivity patterns, and how much time they spend in meetings by observing their remote employees.
  • Avoid Employee Burnout: Maintaining a work-life balance is a common challenge for remote employees, especially if they’re new to telecommuting. Employers can prevent employees from overworking by monitoring employees’ active and idle hours.

Best Ways to Monitor Employees Working From Home

1. Create Tasks List

Create a list of tasks for your employees and assign them to them as a way of monitoring their progress. There is no doubt that lists of tasks can be effective, but most of the time they are more concerned with the individual tasks assigned to individuals, rather than high-level projects.

However, there are some limitations to using task lists for monitoring employees working from home; for instance, you will need to determine the relative responsibility of each task; not all tasks will have the same level of importance.

Thus, employers will need to create and manage tasks for every aspect of their work as well as remember to check them off once they are completed.

2. Ask for Self-Reporting

To keep yourself up-to-date about the performance of your employees, consider establishing a self-reporting policy.

For instance, you might ask your employees to send a brief email report at the end of each day to a manager or supervisor, explaining which projects they are working on, how busy they are, and whether they feel comfortable taking on more duties.

Employers can then determine whether their employees are underworked, overworked, or have a balanced workload, allowing some measure of subjective evaluation.

3. Implement Time Tracking Software

The next option to monitor your remote employee workflow is by using some kind of employee productivity tracking tool to keep tabs on how your employees are spending time throughout the day.

The time tracking software generally encourages employees to start and stop an integrated timer every time they begin a new task.

Your implementation strategy may specify that employees track all their work throughout the day, or you may limit its use to specific types of assignments.

Regardless, you can log in to monitor where your employees are spending their time, identifying which ones are busier and which ones have more time.

4. Estimated Completion Time for Each Task

Estimating how long it will take an employee to complete a task is another way to keep track of their performance.

If you’re tracking your employee’s productivity, it’s good to keep track of their output and how long it takes them to complete tasks. However, unless you compare this against a benchmark you set, it’s not very useful.

Taking the time to estimate the length of time to complete a task gives you a baseline for productivity. Your estimation accuracy can increase with practice, but don’t be intimidated by being inaccurate because you aren’t precise.

5. Using Project/ Task Management App

Monitoring remote employees can also be done through a project or task management app. Such tools allow you to manage, organize, and assign tasks related to various projects.

It allows you to assign projects to employees, see who is assigned to which projects and see if any employees need more assignments. However, the time commitment or responsibility of different projects may vary, making them difficult to quantify.

6. Emphasize Communication

Managers need to communicate effectively with their remote employees to let them know what deadlines are due, what resources are available, what challenges they may face and what expectations they have for them, including their work schedules.

Moreover, create a balance between frequent e-mails and texts and radio silence by using tools that suit the team’s culture, such as e-mail, texts, phone calls, video chats, and intranet channels. Depending on the employee, communication may be more frequent or less frequent.

7.  Resist the Urge to Micromanage

When your team is in the office, you should not be watching over their shoulders, so you should not be doing the same when they are at home.

Check-ins are a great way for managers to avoid micromanaging, while still keeping an eye on employees and ensuring feedback is given both ways.

Providing clear communication and meeting goals and deadlines will help your remote employees be more productive and effective.

Is it Legal to Monitor Your Employees?

Prior to monitoring remote employees, employers need to consider the legal implications and consult with legal counsel. Employers must take state and local laws into account, as well as their own unique risks and compliance obligations.

The laws that govern workplace monitoring apply as much to employers monitoring remote workers’ technologies as to employers monitoring the same technologies in the workplace. In some states, however, advance notice is required before the employer monitors employees’ technology.

As well, employers may need to give employees advance notice of monitoring and data storage when they use personal devices for work purposes while working from home.

Last but not least, employers who require employees to use video conferencing for business may encounter legal issues regarding the recording of images and voices of their employees if they fail to obtain their permission beforehand.


It is challenging to manage employee motivation and engagement when teams work from home. Creating a strong, connected working environment can be achieved by incorporating fundamental values and initiatives.

Besides work-life balance, transparency, praise, and recognition, there are many other factors that can influence employee engagement. Remote employees should not assume that managers can ignore these important work realities just because they are working at home.

Lastly, you need to promote trust and respect in your workplace if you want your remote team to thrive and grow. Make your virtual workplace reality with new digital solutions, apps, and software.

The founder and CEO at ThriveVerge, The Verge, and Thrive Revolution. He launched Thriveverge in 2016, a leading behavior change technology, business, media, and entertainment company with the mission of ending the collective delusion that burning out is the price we have to pay for success.


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