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The Dos and Don’ts of Monitoring Remote Employees

The shift towards remote working has been a growing trend worldwide over the past decade. The availability of technological tools like video conference software, instant messaging apps, and project management tools have made remote working arrangements possible. However, remote work presents a unique set of challenges to businesses, especially regarding managing remote employees.

Businesses must consider several factors when developing a remote working policy, including employee motivation, communication channels, and monitoring methods. In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of monitoring remote employees in more detail, and how companies can implement effective management strategies to ensure long-term success.

Dos of Monitoring Remote Employees

Set Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations is critical for any remote working arrangement to succeed. Business leaders should communicate their expectations of employee goals, timelines, workload, and quality standards clearly. Remote workers won’t have the benefit of daily face-to-face interactions with their supervisors, so clear communication is vital.

Managers should set measurable objectives aligned with the company’s goals, so employees understand how their work fits into the company’s overall strategy. Additionally, clear expectations help reduce misinterpretations of workflow processes and ensure employees stay on track.

To ensure clear expectations are set, managers must schedule frequent check-ins to make sure employees are on track.

Use a Reliable Time Tracking Tool

Time tracking software is a valuable tool for managers to monitor remote employees. This tool allows managers to determine the exact hours worked, how long it takes to complete specific tasks, and how much idle time each employee has.

With reliable time tracking software, managers can see how much time each employee spends on particular tasks and how long they take to complete them. Insights like this can help identify individual performance and productivity, allowing the organisation to recognise which employees require additional support, training, or resources for professional growth.

Additionally, time tracking helps ensure employees are maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Managers can track the hours worked by each employee and compare them to their usual workload. This information can help them identify potential burnout and adjust employee workload to promote a healthy work-life balance.

Encourage and Monitor Communication

Remote work can feel isolating for employees leading to decreased morale and productivity. Regular communication is essential to ensure employees stay well-connected, motivated, and feel supported. Managers should encourage remote employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging, video or audio calls, or email. Moreover, managers should monitor communication channels to ensure a productive flow of information that promotes business efficiency.

The frequency of communication varies among businesses, depending on the company’s size and complexity. For example, small businesses may require daily check-ins with remote employees, while more extensive organisations may need weekly discussions. Whatever the frequency, regular communication helps to build trust and a sense of community among remote employees that translates well into better teamwork, higher morale, and better job satisfaction.

Trust Your Employees

Trust is the foundation of remote working. Without trust, remote work becomes an exercise in surveillance and micromanagement, ultimately leading to lower productivity, increased employee dissatisfaction, and a high attrition rate. Managers must demonstrate trust in their remote employees by delegating tasks and responsibilities and have confidence that employees are well-equipped to deliver quality work.

One way to build trust is by providing formal trainings and support materials to facilitate remote employees’ work. Managers can determine the level of trustworthiness of their remote employees based on their behavior, work patterns, and quality of work. Overly monitoring remote employees sends a signal that management does not trust them to work independently, with a negative impact on morale.

Provide Feedback

Feedback is an essential component of successful remote work collaboration. Managers should provide frequent feedback on their employees’ performance, identify areas for improvement, and recognise their accomplishments. Remote employees can make necessary adjustments and work to align their work with the company’s goals by providing constructive feedback.

Regular feedback can come in various forms, such as one-to-one feedback, performance reviews or appraisal, or via a team project manager. Providing constructive feedback helps remote employees feel connected to the company’s values and ethos, and that they’re making a positive impact on the business.

Don’ts of Monitoring Remote Employees


Micromanagement is a common pitfall when managing remote employees. Micromanagement occurs when managers interfere excessively in their employees’ work processes, performance, and daily activities. This, in turn, results in a decrease in employee autonomy and morale.

It is essential for managers to trust their remote employees and avoid the temptation to micromanage. Remote workers should have the freedom to work independently, allowing them to work in a way that suits them best. Additionally, micromanagement sends a negative message that management does not trust remote employees to work independently, ultimately hindering employee motivation.

Use Intrusive Monitoring Methods

Monitoring remote employees can take various forms, such as keystroke recording, video surveillance, or screen sharing. However, ensuring employees are not engaged in non-work activities should not take precedence over their privacy and confidentiality

Intrusive monitoring methods can send the wrong signal to employees, leading to feelings of mistrust and job dissatisfaction. Remote employees are entitled to privacy, and businesses must strike a balance between monitoring employees and respecting their privacy rights. Instead, managers should use time tracking tools to monitor employee performance, which offers valuable insights into where improvements can be made without breaching employee privacy.

Monitor Non-Work Activities

Managers should focus on monitoring the progress of tasks and projects rather than non-work activities. Remote employees may have personal responsibilities, including family obligations, appointments, and other commitments, during work hours. Managers should assume employees are committed to completing their work-related tasks and have allocated the necessary time to attend to personal responsibilities.

To ensure a productive flow of work, managers should discuss employees’ availability regarding meeting schedules and ensure that work is assigned accordingly. By building trust and showing flexibility, managers can achieve employee work-life balance, ultimately increasing productivity.

Ignore Employee Feedback

Employee feedback is an essential component of successful remote work arrangements. Managers should welcome feedback from remote employees and integrate their suggestions into the company’s decision-making processes actively. Effective communication should facilitate feedback mechanisms and offer remote employees the ability to voice their opinions constructively.

Ignoring employee feedback can cause remote employees to feel ignored and undervalued, making it difficult to retain them in the organisation. Employees who believe their suggestions matter and are taken seriously are more likely to remain motivated to be successful in their roles.

Monitor Selectively

Remote employees must feel that all employees are treated equitably. Establishing a monitoring system that monitors all employees equally ensures equity and a sense of fairness. Selective monitoring, where it feels that some employees are being targeted, results in decreased morale and motivation among employees.

Moreover, selective monitoring leads to a breach of trust between management and remote employees, resulting in work-related stress and negativity within the organisation. By treating all employees equally and fairly, managers can increase trust, employee engagement, and morale within their remote teams.


Remote working is a growing trend worldwide, offering businesses and employees the benefits of greater flexibility, cost savings, and increased productivity. With any remote working arrangement, it’s essential for businesses to establish an effective management style.

However, monitoring remote workers is a sensitive topic that requires a delicate balancing act of respecting employee privacy while ensuring the company’s objectives are met. By setting clear expectations, using a reliable time-tracking tool, encouraging communication, trusting employees, and providing feedback, businesses can achieve better results.

On the other hand, micromanagement and the use of intrusive monitoring methods can negatively impact employee morale, leading to decreased productivity and high attrition rates. By avoiding such pitfalls, managers can achieve an engaged, productive, and satisfied remote workforce that delivers results for the company in the long term.

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