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How to Monitor Work from Home Employees – Ultimate Guide 2020

The work from home setting is, little-by-little, penetrating the industry and becomes a norm. However, it generally requires a comprehensive view of the workload analysis of the employees working from home. This way, employers may able to quantify their employee’s workload in an easier setup. Yet, several businesses that are new to this work setting must have to learn how to monitor work from home employees.

As we go along, we will share the different ways of tracking your employees working at the comfy of their home. Moreover, the distinct features of each monitoring or tracking methods have been discussed. Let’s check them out below!

Different Ways on How to Monitor Work from Home Employees

Since the business industry has been bombarded with qualitative work standards, as an employer, you also have to think out of the box and be basically creative on how to monitor work from home employees. Try to see the following tracking methods and identify which one fits your business.

1. Email Volume

In today’s modern-day work, several professions utilize the email and make it as an excellent way of determining the work quantity of a person on a specified period of time. Generally, email is a channel of communication to collaborate with others. Aside from that, it is also a means for offering projects, delegating tasks, and providing updates. Most likely, if someone sends and receives lots of emails, they tend to be busier.

Actually, one way on how to monitor work from home employees through the measurement of email volume is via the EmailAnalytics. Using this tool, you’ll basically know the number of emails your employees are sending and receiving as well their average email response per specified time. Moreover, through EmailAnalytics, you will know the busiest times of day of your employees.

* EMAILANALYTICS

If you want to keep track of your employees working from home through email volume, this tool has already become the top favorite. It is actually an excellent tool in tracking the activities and performances of remote employees. EmailAnalytics usually monitors the activities of email via Gmail and G Suite.

Utilizing this will allow you to have a view on the sent and received emails per hour or per day basis. Additionally, this tool also helps in the computation of KPIs under sales category and the average email responses under the customer service. Below are the features of using EmailAnalytics:

  • Includes robust filters to add or delete important emails that need analysis
  • Activity reports on a daily or weekly basis sent via inbox
  • With real-time email performance dashboard for team collaboration
  • Able to create teams and group each member under each team

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Shows real-time data for effective team management throughout the day
  • Email reports on a daily basis for maintaining the team’s productivity
  • Great customer service
  • New updates for additional features

Cons:

  • The mobile app is not yet available
  • No integration
  • Highly applicable on companies rather than solopreneurs

2. Time Tracking

Another way on how to monitor work from home employees based on their productivity and how they spend their time within the day is typically by the utilization of time tracking tools. The function of these tools is to generally encourage your work from home employees to start and stop a timer once they begin a new task. Implementing the use of this tracking tool may basically mandate your employees to monitor all of their work for the day or for a certain project. Both of this will allow you to monitor and evaluate how your employees use their time.

However, using time tracking tools on how to monitor work from home employees may not be ideal in monitoring the phone calls or some emergency meetings. Aside from that, some work from home employees may able to fabricate their time usage. Below are the time tracking apps that might be helpful in monitoring the productivity of your employees even when they are working from home.

* TIME DOCTOR

The Time Doctor is actually launched in 2019 and it is by far the most powerful time tracking tool. Generally, most well-known names in the industry such as Apple, Verizon, and PwC already used this time monitoring tool. Moreover, this tool helps managers to compute for the following:

how to monitor work from home employees
Image courtesy of Time Doctor
  • Tasks assigned to your team
  • Time spend on each task
  • Sites they’re browsing
  • Number of times they log-in and out
  • Allocation of task
  • Attendance
  • Time for billing

Basically, using Time Doctor is the easiest method to see the productivity of your employees. Aside from that, this time tracking tool can collaborate well with various tools like Asana, GitHub, and Zapier to have additional functionality.

Pros:
  • Comprehensive automated time monitoring abilities
  • With monitoring features that have updated inactivity tracker
  • Provide detailed reports for staff monitoring
  • Comprehensive privacy controls for employees’ data security
  • Lots of essential integrations
Cons:
  • Work effectively on a desktop app
  • Highly suitable for companies use than for freelancers
*TOGGL

In order to monitor the working performance of remote employees, Toggl is an excellent virtual tool to use. Basically, it has features that are highly applicable for small businesses making it effective in doing basic task management and time monitoring. Below is the features offered by Toggl:

  • It generally has an excellent browser extension that allows monitoring time using hundreds of various tools.
  • With advanced reporting to analyze the amount of time spent
  • Exportation of reports support PDF, XLS or CSV file for easy storage capability
  • Has digital timesheet control in an automatic setting to easily access the detailed reports and records
  • Track keyboard activities

Toggl can generally work well with about 100 various tools in different industry categories. Basically, it can also have integration with some to-do list app such as the Todoist. Asana is a project management software in which Toggl can also integrate better. In order to support the automated workflow and its collaboration with other apps, this time tracking tool generally has built-in Toggl Zapier integration.

Pros:
  • Basic user-interface
  • Excellent customer support
  • Works well with various tools using automated time-monitoring
Cons:
  • Even when it works with Zapier, the syncing process between other tools can be challenging
  • Does not track the visited sites of your staff
  • Limited starter plan which eventually offers more expensive versions having all the features
*RESCUETIME

Compared to the first two time tracking apps, RescueTime is not actually a time tracking tool itself. Basically, it is a platform that measures the productivity of web-based employees. Below are the features offered by RescueTime:

  • Monitor the amount of time given on a specific tool or website
  • Has the ability to block any sites that may be distracting. You are actually given the chance of customizing the non-productive sites.
  • Allows you to identify your goals based on your performance and warns you if you are already providing too much time on a certain task.
  • Provides detailed reports regarding time usage for the improvement of employee’s productivity.

Generally, the RescueTime works well with various tools within the industry. Most of the time, it collaborates with a project management tool and team communication software such as the Slack and GitHub. Basically, using Zapier integration, RescueTime can be connected with over 50 different tools.

Pros:
  • Basic and user-friendly software
  • Supports in reaching productivity via the goals and alarms settings
  • Stock the teams’ productivity through weekly reports via email
  • Easily prevents sites that are distracting
Cons:
  • Unable to separate the billable and non-billable working time
  • Only measures the time for a certain tool or website
  • Unable to make invoice
  • Cannot operate while offline
*HOURS

A very simple but excellent time monitoring app, Hours basically measures the amount of time that you spent and no other than that. Below are the features offered by Hours:

  • A basic digital timer that measures the time given on various tasks
  • Involves notifications during the start and end of the timer
  • Ability to sync the data on the Mac web app between your mobile device and the Apple watch providing flexible working patterns
Pros:
  • Able to integrate with many different apps
  • Basic interface
  • Provides graphical illustrations of the time used for ease of understanding
  • Comprehensive syncing abilities to have flexible working setup
Cons:
  • Highly suitable for iOS and MacOS only
  • Unable to manage higher-order time monitoring workloads
  • Do not work on teams and complicated business operations
*TIMELY

Another way on how to monitor work from home employees by tracking their time is through Timely. It has a distinct feature which generally categorizes your working time based on the tasks, visited websites, and tools being utilized. Below are the features offered by Timely:

  • Strong time-tracking abilities under automation which reduce manual intervention
  • Utilizes detailed reports and timesheets thus capturing billable data; it can also monitor non-billable reports
  • With an updated dashboard that supports your team to communicate via the activity feeds

The Timely time monitoring tool can able to basically work well with lots of project management software, communication, and chat apps. Perhaps, some of the integrations with Timely can only be generally opened using their premium versions.

Pros:
  • Ability to monitor time automatically
  • Captivate data between web and mobile devices through data syncing
  • Advanced reporting
Cons:
  • Costly
  • Lots of features are only bound on their premium versions
  • Made of the confusing dashboard
*HARVEST
how to monitor work from home employees
Image courtesy of Harvest Time Tracker

If you are an organization that meets clients on an everyday basis, Harvest is usually the perfect time monitoring app for you. Harvest involves updated invoicing feature that generally works well on the billing process. Below are the features offered by Harvest:

  • Make invoices based on the tracked hours and facilitate payments via Paypal or Stripe on different time zones
  • Syncs between various devices through the automatic setting to maintain flexibility in working patterns
  • Have lots of setting options for the billing rate adjustment

This tool can basically collaborate well with different software like the communication app, project management tool, and video call settings. Using the Zapier integration, Harvest typically works well with around 1000 tools available in the market.

Pros:
  • Contains an endless digital list of integrations
  • Has enterprise-mode of billing and invoicing capacity
  • Streamlined setup for the convenient onboarding process
Cons:
  • Unable to captivate screenshots for project progress monitoring
  • Report presentation is a bit confusing
  • Somehow costly
*EVERHOUR

Aside from being an excellent web-based app in helping how to monitor work from home employees, Everhour basically features an in-built time monitoring setting to create a tab for the remote workforce. Below are the features offered by Everhour:

  • A strong live dashboard that gives a detailed stock of your team
  • With advanced billing system like invoice creation via multi-currencies
  • Complete functional browser extensions to have easy access
  • Allows time records modification but managers may prevent the time editing feature for a specified period.

Keeping the team meetings productive, Everhour generally works well with tons of various apps. Aside from that, it can also collaborate with Zapier to operate in conjunction with more than 1000 apps under different categories from communication to CRMs.

Pros:
  • Includes client portal to enable the clients to browse time reports resulting in efficient invoicing
  • Strong browser extensions supporting Chrome, Safari, and Firefox
  • Has live dashboard to come up with good team management
Cons:
  • Unable to serve as distraction management tool
*TIMENEYE

If there are time monitoring tools for small businesses and companies, generally, Timeneye is a basic app suitable for solopreneurs. It is also good for those that need tracking capabilities with seamless automation. Below are the features offered by Timeneye:

  • With automatic time monitoring to maintain productivity
  • Allow an easy projection of data progress via the calendar view
  • Able to monitor both billable and non-billable working time separately
  • Provide detailed reports for the team member’s time utilization

Using Timeneye as part on how to monitor work from home employees can typically let you work well with tons of various apps like Basecamp, Asana, and Google Calendar.

Pros:
  • User-friendly interface
  • Offers calendar view for an easy project monitoring
  • With efficient time monitoring settings
Cons:
  • Not suitable for offline time monitoring
  • Unable to create invoicing
  • Costly for teams
*CLICKTIME

Managing your projects and the on-hand resources is generally possible through the use of ClickTime. Integration with various tools and apps, ClickTime also provides API customization basically, as part of the software integration. Below are the features offered by ClickTime:

  • Ability to make lots of reports which provide a good work structure picture. With this, the measurement of the employees’ performance, work delegation, and productivity can be easily done.
  • Have a centralized dashboard offering an overview of the delegated projects, schedules, and deadlines
  • Includes a strong browser which can monitor the time of the employee without having to leave on the webpage
Pros:
  • With more than 8 different reports to provide detailed information
  • Includes more comprehensive customization
  • With notifications for an updated project progress
Cons:
  • Restricted capabilities for automation
  • Maybe too costly for big teams
  • With a little bit complicated interface
*TOPTRACKER

Another time tracking device on how to monitor work from home employees especially the freelancers and small businesses is the TopTracker. It generally permits the ease of time monitoring for projects to maintain productivity. Below are the features offered by TopTracker:

  • With a multifunctional dashboard that monitors the staff and handles the productivity of the employees
  • Provide detailed reports regarding the performance of your team and the progress status of the project
  • Include desktop apps applicable for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Fedora
Pros:
  • The desktop app has the ability to work even while offline
  • Works on unlimited projects and with endless clients
  • Follows a good reporting system
Cons:
  • Not applicable on mobile apps
  • Does not capable of creating invoicing
  • No integrations available
  • Time monitoring has restricted automation setting

3. Project Management Apps

Generally, the main goal of project management apps is helping the business to handle, organize, and delegate tasks in relation to the different projects. This way on how to monitor work from home employees basically entails various types. The app typically works once there is a new project and the project manager will eventually create it within the app. There will usually come a point in which the project manager can delegate employees to handle the project.

Image courtesy of Basecamp

Meanwhile, at some point, logging in and seeing the employees assigned on the projects will be generally possible. This will usually help in confirming which employees require additional tasks to meet the daily workload. There is actually a long list of project management apps but Trello and Basecamp are two of the most popular tool on how to monitor work from home employees.

However, these apps are not the complete tool to monitor the workload of the employee as using those leads to unanswered questions. One of it is that various projects may be basically extracted from various levels of time-bound commitment which is actually difficult to quantify.

4. Task Lists

Actually, the task lists operate in conjunction with the principle behind the project management apps. The difference is that this method on how to monitor work from home employees gives emphasis on a single task delegated to people instead of using high-level projects. It also involves some advantages such as seeing the disproportionate distribution of projects. Moreover, administrative workloads can also be monitored using the Task Lists.

On the other hand, it also involves some disadvantages when you use this tool in monitoring employees working from home. Example of those disadvantages is the creation and management of tasks that become a work in itself.

5. Self-reporting

Generally, the self-reporting method on how to monitor work from home employees is applicable for small teams that already build trust to their employees. This method only requires each employee to submit their report to the manager usually at the end of the day. The report must include the update on the project that they are currently working and their capability to get in more tasks.

Moreover, self-reporting is really beneficial as it gives emphasis on some extent of subjective analysis. At the same time, the employees can quantify their capability if they underworked, worked in balance, or overworked. On the other hand, this also gives some chances for workloads misrepresentation. That’s why it is always good to utilize objective type of measurement regardless if you have built a strong trust with your employees.

6. Managerial Supervision and Reports

Like in a face-to-face office setting, one way on how to monitor work from home employees is to delegate the managers and supervisors to do active monitoring, reporting, and rebalancing workloads of employees. But, if you opt to do this, you must allow the managers and supervisors to select the workload tracking tools that they want to use. Moreover, offer them the tools that they actually need to be able to be successful.

7. Subjective Analysis

Basically, the objective analysis is the most reliable way on how to monitor work from home employees. However, you must also consider adding some degrees of subjective factors. This highly involves the morale of every employee. It is better to focus on the behavior of the employees and let these behaviors serve as a guide in setting up the current workload.

Final Thoughts

How to monitor work from home employees involves various ways that may generally help solopreneurs, small businesses or even large companies in tracking the work performance of their employees working from home. Generally, most of the methods of tracking the productivity of work from home employees entail objective analysis. But, you must also keep in mind that subjective factors are also important in quantifying the work performance of the employees. Moreover, whichever way you opt to use in tracking your employees’ productivity may generally be beneficial for your business and your employees.

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