Tracking staff performance when they are not in the office

The shift to working from home has caused a number of headaches for employers.

And not least among them has been working out how to track staff performance when they are not in the office.

For some, the temptation has been to turn to monitoring technology to keep an eye on staff.

This technology comes in a variety of shapes and sizes but includes keystroke logging, monitoring email activity, using cameras, recording phone calls and keeping screenshots.

Let’s be clear about one thing – there is nothing illegal about monitoring staff activity. If there was, you’d never be able to do anything to keep track of productivity even in more normal circumstances.

But there is clearly a risk that introducing invasive technology to assess staff’s behaviour will lead to a huge drop in morale and could also see you mired in numerous grievance complaints.

So, if this is a road you want to go down, we advise you do so cautiously, openly and with the backing of the employees you plan to monitor.

A good starting point is to make a policy and share it with your staff. Be open. Tell them what your plans are and how you intend to implement them. Ask for feedback and be open to listening to staff concerns.

This immediately creates a more transparent atmosphere around the process and means staff cannot claim they were caught off guard by the introduction of new techniques. While you are in these discussions, be sure to give staff an explanation of how you will store any data which is captured and reassure them that you are complying with all the relevant GDPR legislation.

If the feedback from staff is entirely negative – raising concerns about employee wellbeing, morale and privacy – ask yourself if the risks of bringing in monitoring outweigh any possible advantages.

If the answer is yes, now is the time to think again and consider your options.

Just because you don’t introduce monitoring technology, it doesn’t mean you can’t track productivity and see if home working is having a negative impact on your business.

By assessing things such as output, quality, timekeeping and productivity across your whole workforce, you can assess if there any significant differences between homeworkers and office-based staff and then tailor any subsequent work to address it. That could include setting goals for the whole team which keeps everybody focused on achieving success.

It’s tempting to immediately jump to the conclusion that staff who are working from home are shirking in some way or another. But in doing so, you run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophesy in which mistrust sets in, morale plunges and staff lose interest.

Far better to take staff with you on the journey into the new world of hybrid working by collaborating together to plot a roadmap for the future.

We’d be delighted to offer our expert help in any way we can – with a free consultation session to get the ball rolling.



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