Do you manage remote employees? Ditch the timesheet and create a culture of trust.

The availability of new technology and new tools has led to a radical shift in the way organisations do business – and the way, employees work. After all, employees can now access their work from any location at any time. They don’t need to be in the office to see the latest report or customer email.  An increasing number of employers recognise the benefits of flexible working and today’s young workers are looking for flexibility as they enter the workforce.

Unfortunately, too many organisations don’t recognise that new technology and tools can lead to a whole new exciting and innovative way of working. For example, a customer recently asked me how to monitor remote employees. Was there the software available so the manager could oversee the work of offsite employees?

My response, “Yes, there is software available to keep track of staff tasks and time. But why would you want to monitor what team members are doing hour by hour? What does that achieve?”

Ditch the timesheets

It’s a fact: monitoring team members’ work hour by the hour does not create an effective output. Neither does it make staff feel empowered or trusted. An employee could work at their desk for eight hours and achieve nothing. So why focus on what everyone is doing minute by minute, hour by hour?

Retrac removed timesheets. The leadership team recognised that staff hated tracking and logging items and time. But all this tracking was also highly inefficient. Employees were devoting time to logging tasks. That time would be much better spent helping customers – something we love to do! So, instead of logging hours, Retrac refocused on establishing clear deliverables.

For example, managers might agree with team members that Project A must be delivered by Friday. For service and project teams, the deliverable output might be how many service tickets can be completed during an identified period, or how many customers are happy with the delivered service.

When working out KPIs with staff and identifying how to monitor remote employees, the focus should be on deliverables rather than hours. Get agreement with your team on what outputs to achieve and measure against that.

How does the technology work with deliverables?

Deliverable agreed with teams and staff can easily be measured and reported as an output in a tool like Power BI. Tools like Power BI allow team members to show how they are working towards the agreed output.

Another tool that helps create trust and collaboration is Microsoft Teams. Tools like this give teams the opportunity to work more closely no matter where they are. The use of the chat function, availability, document sharing and ability to share plans and projects enhances the way remote teams – and those in the office – can work together.

Another great tool is Microsoft Dynamics 365. This CRM and ERP platform enables you to track emails back to your customer and prospective contacts.

Create a culture of trust

Rather than micro-managing every person, dynamic organisations allow employees the freedom to work the way that’s best for them.

Remember that team members are looking for clarity and agreement on what their deliverables are. It’s essential to collaborate and not dictate deliverables – work with your staff to establish goals and expectations early on. Collaboration is an important cultural improvement for all companies.

As mentioned earlier, we removed timesheets so employees could devote more time to doing what we love the most – helping customers. After all, customer service is what Retrac is known for – a company that places customers first. And, importantly, this what our employees love to do as well!

If you’d like to know more or are interested in learning about tools to help you establish a culture of trust and collaboration with your staff, get in touch with Retrac.


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