Learn how to use remote workforce technology to boost productivity by helping your remote employees work wiser.
Remote work — when implemented properly using ActivTrak’s open, transparent, and collaborative approach — offers a huge number of advantages to employees and employers alike. However, we know that it can be challenging for managers to unlock these advantages as they try to make the coronavirus pandemic-era transition to remote work into a long-term post-pandemic working model. One of the best ways to make that transformation effective is to implement remote workforce technology into your workplace to maximize productivity across your remote teams, no matter their locations or time zones.
Read on to learn how you can leverage remote workforce technology to prepare for the remote-driven future of work using the ActivTrak approach.
What Is Remote Workforce Analytics Technology?
Remote workforce analytics software collects data about employee productivity and analyzes it to help you understand how your remote team members work. It consists of three main components:
- A uniquely coded agent that runs in the background, collecting data on your employees’ work and executing responses to user activity. The agent isn’t a time tracking, screen recording, or keystroke logging tool. Instead, it senses keyboard and mouse movement in the active windows on your employees’ computers.
- A database that aggregates the data collected by the agent. It produces team and user benchmarks to establish activity and productivity baselines.
- A software application that analyzes the data collected by the agent and aggregated by the database to deliver insights using dashboards and reports. This visualization makes it easier to parse and understand how your remote employees are working.
Together these three elements give you the insights you need to understand how your remote employees work and to make targeted interventions to help them work wiser.
The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Workforce Technology
Remote workforce technology is essential for improving work from home productivity. With a tool like ActivTrak that gathers user activity data directly from the source and analyzes employee productivity metrics, managers can help remote workers get clear insights into their productivity levels and identify specific areas for improvement. By using the metrics as a way to support (and never micromanage) remote employees, managers can also empower team members to take ownership of their performance data to improve their employee experience as well as their productivity.
Remote workforce technology also helps you better understand which processes are and aren’t working. From small businesses to big enterprises, there’s always room for improvement. Remote workforce technology can help you pinpoint inefficient workflows and isolate the tools that are causing distractions so you can make changes that improve productivity across teams.
Even more importantly, remote workforce technology can give you insights into which employees are juggling extra heavy workloads and working long hours. Employee burnout, overwork, and an uneven work-life balance are common obstacles that arise in a remote work environment. Remote workforce technology lets you easily compare workloads across teams to ensure responsibilities are distributed evenly, and this software offers additional metrics and insights that go far beyond what you might learn from time-tracking or relying on employees to raise their hands for help.
These benefits notwithstanding, there are a few challenges to keep in mind with remote workforce tech tools. For example, some remote workforce technology can be hard to use and challenging implementations that require the involvement of your IT team can prove cumbersome. Some tools only deliver metrics without telling you what to do with that data, leaving you without the insights you need to drive real change. Also, with any employee monitoring software, there’s always the question of trust with your team members. Remote workforce technology can only work if you get employee buy-in and take an open, transparent, and collaborative approach to employee monitoring.
The best way to achieve all these benefits and avoid the challenges that can arise is by taking the ActivTrak approach to remote workforce technology.
ActivTrak’s approach leverages analytics to better support employees, whether they’re remote workers or based in a standard office workspace. Collecting relevant metrics is the best, most accurate way to understand how remote employees work. Data should only be gathered to generate valuable insights and support a culture of continuous improvement. The focus should always be on helping employees work wiser, not spying on them. All of your monitoring should be in pursuit of that goal.
Employee privacy and transparency are also key to our approach. It’s natural for some remote workers to feel concerned about their privacy when they hear that their employer will be implementing employee monitoring tools and technologies. That’s why our software never uses keystroke logging, screen recording, or any other practice that would violate employee privacy — it’s our top priority.
Monitoring and tracking employee performance should be used to help your remote employees work better so they can succeed. Encouraging remote workers to take ownership of the results of your monitoring can help them feel included in the experience and show that your aim is to provide insight, not oversight.
What to Look for in Your Remote Workforce Technology
Even if you know how to take the right approach to remote work monitoring, you’ll need the right tools to be successful. When choosing your remote workforce technology, you should look for a solution that offers:
- Productivity reports: Identify the patterns that can fuel success using clear reports that let you drill down into the data.
- Workload management insights: Get insights across remote workers, workflows, and tech tools to understand workload balance, identify employees at risk of burnout, and better support healthy work habits.
- Application and website usage metrics: See which apps are being used effectively and which aren’t. From video conferencing apps like Zoom to instant messaging apps like Slack and other general project management tools, there are a lot of apps and websites that are essential to the success of remote or hybrid work. Seeing how they’re used can help you identify sources of distraction, training gaps, and underutilized tools so you can enable employees and maximize return on your technology investments.
- Activity classification: Classify apps and websites as productive or unproductive to easily assess productivity trends and pinpoint sources of distraction.
- Personal insights: Let remote workers see the results of monitoring for themselves so they can find ways to improve focus, productivity, and work-life balance on their own without a manager’s intervention.
- Benchmarks and goals: Set remote workforce productivity benchmarks based on real-time and historical data and then track your remote teams’ progress towards them.
ActivTrak’s Remote Workforce software offers all of these features and more to help remote teams thrive.
Remote Workforce Technology in Action
What does remote workforce technology look like in practice? We worked with SiteTech Systems, a diversified consulting, research, and analytics company serving banks, credit unions, and government entities to help them make a smooth transition to remote work in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a consultancy, time tracking and staying on top of employee productivity is essential for the team at SiteTech Systems. That’s true whether team members are working out of a home office full-time or in-office. Once the company switched to remote work following the pandemic, they found themselves struggling to stay on top of productivity beyond employees submitting time tracking logs remotely.
ActivTrak helped SiteTech Systems reconcile the remote time tracking logs of all its employees and gave leadership the insight necessary to drill down onto the collected productivity data to add more color to the information. As Trevor Greene explains, “There’s a lot of variance in the work we do, so gleaning that additional context isn’t easy — and was a huge bonus. ActivTrak checked all the boxes we needed and many more.” With that context, the SiteTech Systems team unlocked the data-driven insights they needed to boost productivity across their remote teams.
“We’ve got a very young workforce. Remote work is what they like and want — and they’re pretty good at it,” Greene notes. “I’m 100% confident that if we decide to embrace remote work on a more permanent basis that we’ll be able to do so first and foremost because of ActivTrak.”
Maximize Productivity with ActivTrak’s Remote Workforce Technology
It’s clear that the future of work will include remote work and hybrid work. To make the most of the many benefits offered by these work models, you need a remote workforce solution that generates the insights you need to manage remote workers with success and boost productivity without micromanaging.
With ActivTrak’s remote workforce technology, you can better understand how your remote employees work and identify areas to improve workforce productivity, the employee experience, and each individual’s work-life balance.
- Be open with your remote employees about what you are monitoring and why. Support open communication about the process and get employee buy-in
- Encourage remote workers to take ownership of the results of your productivity monitoring
- Make sure you’re asking the right questions. Remote workforce technology should be used to answer the question “How do you work?” instead of “Are you working?”