Software for managing a telecommuting team

by Rob Rawson
managing telecommuting employees

If you manage a team that telecommutes, you will want to make sure that your team is productive. The good thing is, there are many types of software that you can use to manage a remote team and ensure that they are working.

For example, these are issues you can solve with software:

  1. Time and Attendance
  2. Communication
  3. Measuring and managing productivity
  4. Project management software

Time and attendance software

There are a lot of work trackers if you need a software to track attendance in an office environment. However, if you are managing telecommuters your options are quite limited. In telecommuting, the best software should be able to:

  • keep track whenever a teleworker is working or on a break
  • confirm that breaks are accurate
  • track and send a report of the time worked each day
  • know that tracked time is accurate (any tool that is purely based on self-reported working time is not adequate, you need ways to verify the worked time)
  • allow teleworkers to have some degree of flexible time (although you can mandate working 9 to 5, most workers will want some degree of flexibility
  • allow a teleworker to use their home computer and track time, monitor the accuracy of tracked time without violating their privacy

Time Doctor (our software) provides all of these requirements. We’re obviously biased in our assessment so you should do your own research. However we have not found ANY software other than our own that truly fulfils all of the above requirements.

Communication and collaboration software

Telecommuters have the disadvantage of not being able to walk over to their co-workers desk and discuss issues face-to-face. Telecommuting can have certain productivity advantages (less distractions from their co-workers and unnecessary meetings). However it can also cause some difficulties in communication that you will need to overcome.

Here are some options for solving and compensating for these difficulties:

  • Skype chat – You can have a constant team Skype chat open for all of your different teams. This allows your teleworking team members to be instant contact with their fellow workers. It also creates the feeling that you are working together even if you are hundreds of kilometers away.
  • Jing project – this great little tool is very useful for teleworker collaboration around designs or any visual elements. It is a free tool and allows you to make comments on images or to record quick videos of your computer screen.
  • Screen sharing tools  – there are various virtual meeting tools and screen sharing tools that you can use, such as Teamviewer.

Measuring and monitoring productivity software

One of the primary reasons why businesses are hesitant to allow workers to telecommute is that they simply don’t fully trust that they will be productive when working from home. This is an understandable and valid concern for many workers. This means that it’s critical to utilize a software designed for monitoring productivity.

Time Doctor is designed specifically for monitoring productivity for teleworkers. It allows you to see websites visited when the person is working (but not when they are on a break). The screen monitoring software also has the option of providing screenshots of the worker’s computer screen.

Monitoring productivity and time worked is commonplace in an office environment. In a telecommuting environment, Time Doctor is the best option for monitoring productivity when managing teleworking professionals.

Project management software

Some great project management options for teleworkers are: Asana, Basecamp and Teambox. Good quality project management software helps you to keep track of all your tasks and projects and keep everyone in the same virtual environment, with a record of all of your discussions.

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