Working from home or on a remote basis is rapidly becoming the new normal. For several years now, businesses have been increasingly recognising the far-reaching benefits of flexible working. More recently, the world has been hit by a health pandemic of unprecedented scale, and home-based workforces have become absolutely essential. However, working from home is not without its complications. As the remote revolution continues, there is an ever-growing need for powerful, reliable time-keeping software. This is because employers need intelligent time-keeping applications to keep track of their remote workers.

There are a number of criteria such time-keeping software needs to meet in order to be truly effective and beneficial for both employers and workers. Firstly, time-keeping applications need to be adaptable to suit both standard and flexible working schedules. Secondly, they need to be intelligent enough to record user activity as well as work session start and end times. Thirdly, they must collect genuinely useful data that can, for example, generate scores and averages for users. And finally, applications must save and back-up such information securely.

The growth of remote working in IT

Information Technology (IT) is an industry that is undergoing mass transformation – and this is particularly true where remote workers are concerned. Traditionally, remote workers in this sector have been used for only minor tasks on the side lines, but ongoing advancements in technology are increasingly placing remote workers centre stage, as are recent world developments.

Today, while the likes of translating, copywriting and proof-reading are still largely carried out on a remote basis, much more intensive IT tasks, such as website coding, are also going remote. This places much greater pressure on businesses in terms of the need to monitor remote workloads – and means that time-keeping applications are today more important than ever before.

It is absolutely vital for businesses to ramp up the ways in which they monitor remote workers’ activities, particularly in regard to IT work. Properly maintaining productivity and efficiency is crucial for all successful businesses, which is why there has never been a greater need for intelligent time-keeping software than right now. Where possible, these applications should be adopted sooner rather than later.

The importance of early intervention

Perhaps the best way for businesses to keep tabs on their workers is to ensure that day-to-day activities, such as how much time staff spend on each individual project, are monitored from day one. This means incorporating time-keeping software into the remote workers’ lifestyle right from the onboarding stage.

There is a clear rift between the growing desire of job hunters to work remotely, and the worrying lack of infrastructure job boards and companies currently have in place to adequately screen remote job applicants. This is particularly true in terms of pinpointing unique skills and narrowing down potential employees. One method of tackling this issue is to introduce onboarding questionnaires – which could stand in addition to, or even as a replacement for, traditional job interviews.

By implementing a questionnaire of this kind into the onboarding process, businesses can narrow down the selection pool much more effectively. This can be achieved by tailoring questions around the specific skills they need from each employee, and the key kinds of scenarios each particular worker must flourish in. In the case of successful applicants that complete the questionnaire, data regarding their skills, personality traits and working style can be fed into intelligent time-keeping software that will keep track of their hours, progress and much more from the very first day they start a new job.

Introducing Big Brother

Edison’s Big Brother time-keeping application is a perfect example of the kind of software that businesses with remote workforces can really benefit from. This application can track employees’ working hours to the second, enabling companies to predict and monitor activity, traffic and search engine use throughout the remote working day. This time-keeping software harvests this kind of data for many purposes, but is predominantly geared towards increasing remote productivity, boosting efficiency and minimising costs.

One way the Big Brother time-keeping software achieves this is by aiming to identify and ultimately eliminate lapses in concentration, or long breaks that have not been pre-agreed with management. Company bosses are able to track the progress of their remote workers in real-time, including how many hours they are spending on individual projects, and where their most common distractions lie. If a task is marked as complete and the member of staff working on the project suddenly has capacity, a manager could immediately send that employee an urgent project to maximise the worker’s productivity.

In this sense, time-keeping software such as Big Brother can prove invaluable in terms of helping to reduce distractions for remote workers and ensuring that skilled employees are rarely, if ever, underutilised.

The elimination of distractions can, if desired, be taken a step further. This can be achieved by utilising Big Brother to flag certain websites, such as social media and gaming sites, as ‘undesirable’ and add them to a list of ‘restricted’ browser destinations. This can be used to an employer’s advantage to boost productivity and ultimately get the absolute most out of their workforce. Where required, employee absences and lateness can also be monitored and counteracted.

When it comes to punctuality issues, the time-keeping software will log all instances in real-time and can even be programmed to discipline the worker according to the desires of their employer. For example, Big Brother might be programmed to ignore 10-minute delays at the start of an employee’s day – until perhaps three instances have been logged in succession. At this point, the system might issue an automatic alert or formal warning to the employee to caution them that further action will be taken should their lateness persist. In more extreme scenarios, the time-keeping software could be programmed to issue a notice of dismissal.

Group tracking

Big Brother logs the beginning of each working day and the amount of time spent working overall – but this data can be separated and sub-categorised in many ways. Lunch and other breaks are categorised automatically and logged on the main dashboard, with the application capable of calculating all kinds of working day and lunch break combinations.

An ‘Activity stream’ dashboard displays different devices that have been worked on during the course of each day, while a ‘Colleagues’ tab enables businesses to coordinate who is working on each project, and at what time. Here, businesses can organise workers into specific categories, such as ‘Marketing department’ or ‘Sales’. This gives the application the ability to track different groups of workers separately at any one time. Managers then have the freedom to separate and/or merge whichever data streams they desire wherever relevant.

The ideal solution

In conclusion, remote working is becoming increasingly important to the ways in which modern businesses, in the IT sector or otherwise, operate. However, business owners need to rise above the challenges posed by managing their remote workforces in an effective way – and this means monitoring employee activity, performance and productivity very closely. In the current business landscape, time-keeping software has never been more important, whether that be for logging hours, reducing distractions, eliminating the underutilisation of skilled workers, or just keeping tabs on the amount of time spent on each project. In all respects, Big Brother is the ideal solution to suit business’ needs.