The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has massively disrupted everyday life all over the world, with no signs to suggest when this might end and normality can return.

One unprecedented change is the amount of people now working from home by necessity.

Whilst you might initially enjoy spending an extra hour in bed rather than enduring the commute, or taking the time over your lunch instead of eating a supermarket sandwich, an office environment provides a routine and structure to your working day that you might find difficult to replicate at home. It’s easier for work quality and time to slip, especially if there’s no line manager keeping an eye on things.

Here are some ideas about how you can monitor your remote workforce with ease.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the team collaboration hub in the Office 365 cloud, integrating your content, tools, and team members to replicate the feel of the office environment in the comfort of your own home. There is also an instant messaging service that allows you to communicate with your workforce in real time, rather than going through the lengthy process of sending and receiving emails.

Through a Microsoft Teams analytics tool, you will be able to monitor your teams’ use of the program, thereby enabling you to assess productivity levels and ensure that every member of the workforce is working as efficiently as they would do in the office environment. Should worse come to worst, you will have data evidence showing the drop in efficiency.

Set tasks with deadlines

One of the benefits of working remotely is it is more flexible than traditional nine to five office hours. If you have a doctor’s appointment or need to pick the kids up from school you can do so with the knowledge that you can get your work done later. However, there is also the temptation to rush through your work or leave it until the last minute, spending the rest of your time on leisure activities.

This style of working is not beneficial for either the company (i.e. lack of contact during working hours and inefficient use of work time) or the employee (i.e. inefficient work pattern perhaps leading to stress). To help prevent this, ensure that you set your team tasks with efficient deadlines. A deadline more than a few days ahead might bring with it the temptation to leave it until the last minute, whereas tasks with very tight deadlines could result in a stressed and frazzled employee.

Go old-school and request a timesheet

A simple method of monitoring your remote workforce is to ask each employee to fill out a timesheet to be returned to you on either a daily or weekly basis. Here, they will fill out the hours worked on a particular day, including breaks taken for lunch or coffee, and details of the tasks they were working on. A timesheet allows you to see if an employee is using their time efficiently whilst working at home.

By Ed