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Real-Time Tracking: Best Practices for Monitoring Remote Employees

The modern workplace has undergone a significant shift in recent years. With the rise of remote work and the increasing popularity of flexible working arrangements, many employers have had to adjust their management style to accommodate a more flexible workforce. While remote work has many benefits, such as increased productivity, lower overhead costs, and greater flexibility, it also comes with unique challenges, especially when it comes to monitoring employee activity and performance.

In the past, managers were able to walk around an office and observe their staff’s activity levels, giving them insight into who was working hard and who might need a little push. However, with remote work, it can be harder to monitor employees and ensure they are working as effectively as they would be in the office. This is where real-time tracking comes in – using technology to monitor employee activity and productivity, so managers can not only ensure their staff is working effectively but also provide support if necessary.

Real-time tracking can take many forms, from time-tracking software to employee monitoring technology that tracks keystrokes, websites visited, and even mouse movements. While it may seem like a passive or invasive management technique, real-time tracking can be incredibly beneficial when done correctly. Here are some best practices for monitoring remote employees through real-time tracking.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Real-Time Tracking

Real-time tracking has its benefits and drawbacks when monitoring remote employees’ productivity or performance. Organizations can monitor employee performance by implementing real-time tracking tools into the employee’s device or online platform. It works by keeping check of website usage history, login and logout time, and monitoring keystrokes. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of using real-time tracking tools to monitor remote employees:

Benefits of Real-Time Tracking

  1. Increasing Productivity: Real-time tracking tools ensure employees are involved in productive activities during their work hours. Real-time tracking helps managers track all productive activities, monitor the time spent on each activity, and keep track of employee progress.
  2. Providing Feedback: Real-time tracking tools provide managers with the opportunity to analyze employee performance data and give constructive feedback.
  3. Monitoring Time Management: Real-time tracking tools help monitor employee time management to optimize where employees are spending their valuable work time.
  4. Enhanced Data Collection: Real-time tracking tools provide more detailed data on employee performance and productivity than traditional tracking methods.

Drawbacks of Real-Time Tracking

  1. Reduced Trust: Employees may feel like management is invading their privacy with the level of tracking technology used, causing mistrust between the employee and employer.
  2. Increased Stress: Employees may feel more pressure to work harder and not waste time due to the close monitoring of their work.
  3. Overcompensation: Employees may overcompensate to meet the productivity targets, leading to burnout from overworking.
  4. Reduced Autonomy: Employees may feel like real-time tracking reduces their control over their work.

Real-time tracking is a useful tool to monitor employee productivity, but it is essential to strike a balance between security and transparency to maintain a healthy relationship between employers and employees.

Set Clear Expectations

Before implementing real-time tracking technology, it’s crucial to set clear expectations. Explain the purpose of the technology and its benefits to employees. Discuss which performance indicators are being monitored and how the data will be used. Clear expectations minimize misunderstandings and ensure employees understand why the management is using real-time tracking technology to monitor them.

As the employer, you need to make employees feel supported rather than monitored continually. This way, you capture their maximum productivity capacity. Setting clear expectations makes employees feel comfortable with the real-time tracking technology and ensures that they are efficient in their work.

Be Transparent With Your Team

Transparency is essential when it comes to real-time tracking. To minimize employee concerns or skepticism, it is important to discuss openly all aspects of the tracking technology with your team. Explain explicitly what is being tracked and why.

Discuss what data you are collecting and how to incorporate it to improve employee performance. When employees know what is being tracked, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with the process and understand how the data helps improve their working conditions.

Use the Right Technology

Real-time tracking technology tools used depend on the organization’s specific needs and culture. Therefore, it is essential to use the right tool to monitor remote employees’ productivity. Note that the real-time tracking technology tool applied should provide specific data points that can identify ways to improve working conditions and maximize efficiency.

It is also important to select technology that is user-friendly and easy to implement. A user-friendly tool is well-accepted by employees and ensures smooth running in remote workplaces. Similarly, the technology must not require excessive training to help employees utilize it, reducing the time required to adapt to the new working condition.

To accomplish an effective real-time tracking, use a tool providing a wide range of metrics that capture employee productivity, such as time spent on website or project activity. A real-time tracking tool with a broad range of features that capture a wide range of employee activities ensures accurate monitoring, and prevents the possibility of inconsistent results.

Focus on Productivity, Not Downtime

An employee’s downtime may give management the wrong impression of their level of productivity. This is why it is crucial to focus on productivity and ensure you are monitoring specific work-related tasks rather than breaks. Tasks can include checking emails, completing assignments, or collaborating with colleagues.

Real-time tracking software tracks work-related tasks, ensuring that the activities monitored are productive activities that push the organization to success. Monitoring only productivity tasks sets the tone of efficiency and ensures employees do not feel harassed in their downtime, but feel comfortable and appreciated for their hard work.

Establishing clear productivity targets inside the real-time tracking tool ensures that employees know their work responsibilities, leading to easier and more accurate monitoring.

Balance Accountability with Trust

Real-time tracking technology impacts the employee-employer relationship as it primarily deals with employee monitoring. Establishing the balance between accountability from the employer and trust from the employee is relevant to the remote working environment because you cannot physically observe employees mid-requisition.

Building trust in the company with regular training, honest feedback, open communication, and accessible management builds a culture of employee support. When managing remote employees, it is immensely critical to focus on building trust. Having trust in your remote team is a sustainable bottom-up approach that delivers the kind of results you’re looking for in remote work.

Offer Support

Real-time tracking technology is a useful tool, but it should not be the sole method of monitoring employee productivity. Ongoing support and encouragement for employees are as critical as the tracking tool itself.

Support can be provided in the form of regular training, extensive mentoring, and coaching sessions. Providing access to resources employees need to improve their workflow, communicating effectively with employees to address concerns and answer questions to maximize employee growth and productivity.

Encouraging feedback through questionnaires and surveys is a helpful way to understand employee goals and preferences. An effective feedback system will help track the organization’s progress and identify the areas that require more attention and improvement.

Ensure Employees are Complying with Legal and Ethical Standards

When using any form of real-time tracking technology, it is essential to ensure you remain compliant with legal and ethical standards. Certain regulations such as GDPR in the EU, HIPAA in the US, and PDPA in Singapore mandates that all employers comply with data privacy regulations.

Employers following such regulations must also be careful when monitoring employees’ personal activities while using their devices or working on personal networks. While monitoring employee activities, employers must ensure that they continue to respect their employees’ right to privacy.

Maintain Employee Confidentiality

Data collected through real-time tracking technology is confidential and must be handled carefully. You must see to it that employee activity reporting complies with legal and ethical standards.

Confidentiality regulations help to prevent the misuse of collected data to damage employees’ reputation, which can strain the relationship between the employee and employer. A damaged employee reputation could lead to dismissal, job loss, legal action, or personal damages.

Continuously Review and Evaluate

Effective performance monitoring requires continuous review and evaluation. As such, it is essential for human resource managers and department managers to evaluate and correct the work system continually. Evaluation is also critical when determining whether the real-time tracking technology implemented is measuring the most relevant data that impacts employee productivity.

Identifying what works well and what needs improvement from within the organization helps company productivity. It is also essential to review the employee workload, the frequency of check-ins, and application usage. This way, management can tailor the real-time tracking tool to suit employee needs, leading to maximum productivity, workflow efficiency, and a better bottom line.


Real-time tracking is a helpful tool for monitoring remote employees and ensuring they are working productively, but it is essential to balance transparency, trust between the employer and employee. When correctly implemented, real-time tracking can help improve the quality of work, boost productivity, and increase employee engagement.

Setting clear expectations, choosing the right technology for monitoring, and offering ongoing support are keys to building a successful and productive remote team. A supportive and productive remote team improves employee morale and promotes growth and sustainability of the organization.

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