How to Implement Remote Worker Monitoring Software

Whether your company has been transitioning to remote work or you have been rapidly forced to work remotely to limit exposure to COVID-19, then you are most likely well aware of the challenges that come with monitoring remote workers

In a remote workplace, your team could be spread all over the country and trying to navigate home environments that are not conducive to work. Therefore, it’s important to implement remote worker monitoring software to keep all projects moving forward. 

Remote worker monitoring software can:

  1. Track project times to maximize billable time
  2. Monitor all kinds of employee activity
  3. Free up stressors to focus on work
  4. Identify performance boosters and detractors
  5. Allow owners to control a dispersed company
  6. Boost security against malicious attacks and insider threats

If your company is struggling in this new remote workforce environment, then you need to implement a remote worker monitoring software. This article will break down how to go about that.

Benefits of Remote Work Monitoring

Before we dive into how to implement monitoring software for your remote staff, let’s first establish why a monitoring software will benefit your team.

Monitoring software can be manually or remotely installed on a computer. Once installed, it can track things like:

  • The application used and keystrokes typed
  • The websites visited while on company hours and the duration of visit 
  • The content of emails and instant messages
  • Time tracking for projects (manually or application-based)

While this might seem invasive, understand that you are paying your employees to work for your company. Therefore, you are legally allowed to adopt monitoring practices in order to ensure that your employees are complying with company policies and are doing what they say they are doing.

There are three main reasons why business owners want to implement monitoring software: to monitor and increase employee productivity, to identify security vulnerabilities, and to catch potential insider threats.

Therefore, by adopting monitoring software for your remote workers, you are adding an extra layer of security to your company. This will also allow your company to know that there is added protection against poor personal networks and the weak firewalls that are most likely present on personal computers.

You also want to build trust across your remote employee networks. Knowing that your employees are honest with you goes a long way in freeing up added productivity stress. Your employees can be involved in tracking their time so that both the company and employees are working together toward accurate productivity levels. This also shows that employees are willing to work hard for your company. 

Best Practices

Since monitoring employees can serve several purposes, you’ll first need to identify why you want to monitor your employees as each purpose will require a different software set up.

For productivity

If your main goal in implementing employee monitoring software is to track employee productivity and improve it, then know that it is okay to fill them in on your monitoring technique. Employees have come to expect a level of monitoring, so they will be willing to download a time tracker or remote computer monitoring software and work with you to establish timelines for tasks or projects. 

Real-time monitoring can even take screenshots of the computer screen or stream through webcams in addition to keeping track of the time spent on websites and apps during work hours. The amount of storage that your company can take on and the level of security that your company needs will determine the methods of productivity measurement.

Prior to implementing these monitoring tools, let your employees know details about its uses and functionality. You’ll want to tell them why you are adopting these monitoring tactics, what data you will be using, the types of app access the software has, and how you want your employees to improve. Being honest with your employees will go a long way, and they will feel better knowing that you are not expecting deceitful behavior.

For malicious attackers

Malicious attackers can affect any company online, and if they do, a company can be financially devastated because of it. There are a variety of ways that a malicious attacker can gain access to your company, its data, and its sensitive information and you’ll need a monitoring software as a line of defense against these attackers.

If you are aiming to use monitoring software as a way to protect against malicious attackers, then there is no need to hide this software from your employees. Moreover, it is absolutely reasonable to adopt monitoring software when working with remote workers because personal networks and devices are notorious for having lower security settings. Using remote worker monitoring software will relieve your employees from having to take added security measures in protecting their personal computers.

You can also have employees port into company servers through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will create a virtual and secure network, which will offer employees a more secure avenue for accessing company data compared to their personal networks or shared WiFi. A VPN will provide encryption from your device to the VPN so that you know that the transfer of your company data is safe if intercepted.

For insider threats

Insider threats account for about 50% of malicious attacks. This is because your employees recognize that your company data has value, and you are granting them access to this valuable information. Protecting against insider threats is extremely difficult, especially for remote workers. You cannot send physical security systems to your employee’s houses. Instead, you must rely on the ways your company controls your network.

There are a few steps to take to protect your company against insider threats. First, ensure that employees only have access to the files that they need to access. Allowing privileged access to lower-level employees is not only a waste of time and resources, but it could open up avenues for employees to steal confidential information or plant invasive software bugs.

Privileged data should also be backed up within multiple, highly secure storage services. Employees should only be accessing data through private and secure cloud services. By using a cloud service, you are protecting your servers from direct employee access. 

Lastly, remote worker monitoring software will monitor user activity and can identify when larger packets of data are transferred, if insider threats make suggestions about making a malicious attack in a message, and it can alert your company if a user gains access to an area in which they are not supposed to have access.

Create a Culture of Accountability

Regardless of the reasoning for adopting a monitoring tool, your employees must understand that activity monitoring is essential for your company and the survival of their livelihoods. After all, you are not interested in what their friends are up to on social media. No, you simply want to improve your ROI year-after-year.

A culture of accountability can help your remote employees understand that it is not personal, and it is not about their work habits, specifically. Instead, measuring productivity is about the best interest of the company as a whole. 

A culture of accountability is the idea that all employees are looking out for each other and for the good of the company. This can include things like posting productivity hours in an open forum space, celebrating high productivity months or employees, and providing incentives for those who are more productive. It also involves a level of educating and training your employees so they are better prepared for a “new” and more productive workflow.

Build Employee Monitoring and Time Tracking Into Workflows

Lastly, when adopting employee monitoring, it should come second nature. Employee time tracking should be routine in an employee’s day-to-day. This is particularly easy to enforce for remote workers. For example, you can set up a company policy that if a certain minimum of hours is not tracked through the time tracking software, then there are repercussions. While it is illegal to not pay an employee for this reason, you can withhold payment because you are unsure of the number of hours to bill. Billable employee time is therefore reliant upon the monitoring software.

One way to build employee tracking into workflows is to have a monthly meeting that discuses productivity. If your company is new to remote work, set that meeting every week. That way, your remote employees know to expect a productivity check-in every Monday. This will set the standard expectations for the week, and it can also recap how productive an individual or remote team was the week before.

Choose a Monitoring Software You Trust

Secure and powerful monitoring software will be able to provide a lot of monitoring features, such as real-time tracking, real-time alerts, cloud backups, admin access, and integrations. Your monitoring software should also be able to report productivity, poor use habits, and inform you if employees are performing behaviors that could harm the company. 

Trusting in a monitoring software like SoftActivity TS Monitor for remote workers can boost your company’s productivity and secure otherwise weak personal networks.

Download your SoftActivity Free Trial now!

By SoftActivity Team

May 11th, 2020