Employee monitoring in remote working

by K SZ
22 replies
What to do for employees do not do something else during work time at remote working? What would you do if, for example, you watch someone working for 10 minutes with a screen-sharing software, and the employee stops doing anything for several minutes and works about half speed compared to others? For example, if I were an employee with a plan of working 45 out of 60 minutes with some 3-minute tea, social media, mobile game, reading news, doing chores and other tricks how could you prevent it without asking for a camera surveillance?
#employee #monitoring #remote #working
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Do they accomplish what they're supposed to? Then, you do not have a problem.


    If they do not, pay them by task, not by hour. Or a combo, small hourly pay + bonus/commission.


    I would not want to be in the business of accounting for every second of an employee's time.


    Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

    What to do for employees do not do something else during work time at remote working? What would you do if, for example, you watch someone working for 10 minutes with a screen-sharing software, and the employee stops doing anything for several minutes and works about half speed compared to others? For example, if I were an employee with a plan of working 45 out of 60 minutes with some 3-minute tea, social media, mobile game, reading news, doing chores and other tricks how could you prevent it without asking for a camera surveillance?
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  • Profile picture of the author RMRC
    Yes I agree with the first comment that it is more important if they actually get the work done, verses WHEN the work is getting done. It isn't good to micro-manage every minute for employees. The happier at their job, the better job they will do. If work isn't getting done, that's a different story.

    In the case if work isn't getting accomplished, request updates every 2 hours or so to find out the progress of the task at hand. Or like the first comment mentioned, pay by task rather than hourly, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author K SZ
    The job was not done. It is to make an amount as much as they can. They share screens during work. What would you do if I were working 60% speed to others and you would see about 2-3 minutes of no activity about every 10 minutes? We already have a work contract, but this way a lot of the payment can be cheated to be paid for nothing.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      If you pay them by task accomplished, how can they cheat? They either accomplished the task and get paid or they did not and, then, do not get paid.


      What type of work are they doing?


      If the contract allows cheating, I'd change the contract. If the employee is not worth their money, I'd fire them.



      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      The job was not done. It is to make an amount as much as they can. They share screens during work. What would you do if I were working 60% speed to others and you would see about 2-3 minutes of no activity about every 10 minutes? We already have a work contract, but this way a lot of the payment can be cheated to be paid for nothing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      The job was not done. It is to make an amount as much as they can. They share screens during work. What would you do if I were working 60% speed to others and you would see about 2-3 minutes of no activity about every 10 minutes? We already have a work contract, but this way a lot of the payment can be cheated to be paid for nothing.
      If the work is "to make an amount as much as they can", the contract needs to define an acceptable minimum standard. That's your base rate. You'll have to decide whether those falling below that rate will be penalized financially or ultimately fired. Tie that in with a bonus for those performing over the agreed standard.
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    • Profile picture of the author Troy Arrandale
      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      The job was not done. It is to make an amount as much as they can. They share screens during work. What would you do if I were working 60% speed to others and you would see about 2-3 minutes of no activity about every 10 minutes? We already have a work contract, but this way a lot of the payment can be cheated to be paid for nothing.
      If they're cheating you (you seem to feel they are) I'd close the contract and ask for a refund if you've put down a deposit or anything.

      This reminds me of when I hired people on Upwork, and that's how some jobs went, with a screen share software with image updates.

      If that's a certain job platform you're using can you stop the job with the employee, contact platform support, report the problem get any money back? Or try to. Upwork seems to refund if there's a huge problem. I read it in their terms of service I think.

      Then I'd hire someone else and never work with the problem person again.

      It's a learning experience.

      I had to go through three or four freelance employees until I found one I liked. (((And sometimes had to temporarily hire others if my preferred one was booked.)) But one worked so efficiently I then started paying her by task. Never got cheated by any of them though.

      Sorry this is happening to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author K SZ
    And what if they are already employed and have months left from their contract?
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      And what if they are already employed and have months left from their contract?
      Put it down to experience and when you next have to draw up contracts, use someone who knows what they're doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    We already have a work contract, but this way a lot of the payment can be cheated to be paid for nothing.

    Not if you wrote a good contract....if you didn't do that, then you 'll have to wait till that contract expires.


    You are very suspicious - seem to think you need to watch workers minute by minute and that's is ridiculous. People stop to think, to look at what they've done, to sit back and breathe for a couple minutes.


    What goals did you set? What method do you have of judging the amount of work done (besides trying to watch workers every minute)? Are these people working for an hourly pay, a weekly salary or are they paid for the amount of work they accomplish?
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  • Profile picture of the author K SZ
    One person was an employee, not a salesperson or freelancer with one task which had to be done. She had several tasks. This task just was one of them. I did not watch every minute, but when she worked at 40% speed compared to others, I asked somebody to look at how she worked and she had these pauses. A work contract cannot write for every task at an expected speed, as many of the tasks which came up or time requirements cannot be known before or also depend on luck. Then what would you write in the contract? What would you do, if in the contract there would be no quota, and with screen sharing every hour you would see that I have six 4- minute pauses?
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      One person was an employee, not a salesperson or freelancer with one task which had to be done. She had several tasks. This task just was one of them. I did not watch every minute, but when she worked at 40% speed compared to others, I asked somebody to look at how she worked and she had these pauses. A work contract cannot write for every task at an expected speed, as many of the tasks which came up or time requirements cannot be known before or also depend on luck. Then what would you write in the contract? What would you do, if in the contract there would be no quota, and with screen sharing every hour you would see that I have six 4- minute pauses?
      Unless you can shift the tasks to AI, you're dealing with another human, and both parties have to be comfortable with the arrangement for optimal benefit. If you're concerned that an employee isn't pulling their weight, you can either communicate this to them and see if the situation can be improved, or replace them at the earliest opportunity.

      It's a waste of your time and energy obsessing about this - you might as well do the tasks yourself.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      No, a work contract cannot be written for every single action. However, it can have a clause about getting fired if you do not perform to management's satisfaction.


      Originally Posted by K SZ View Post

      One person was an employee, not a salesperson or freelancer with one task which had to be done. She had several tasks. This task just was one of them. I did not watch every minute, but when she worked at 40% speed compared to others, I asked somebody to look at how she worked and she had these pauses. A work contract cannot write for every task at an expected speed, as many of the tasks which came up or time requirements cannot be known before or also depend on luck. Then what would you write in the contract? What would you do, if in the contract there would be no quota, and with screen sharing every hour you would see that I have six 4- minute pauses?
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  • Profile picture of the author K SZ
    It was employment, not a freelancer contract with one task which had to be done. An employee had several tasks. How much time a task took or if something more important came up also depended on luck. So for every task, I could not write a time limit for the clerk. When there was a task where the results were countable, I saw that compared to others, she worked at about 40% speed. So I asked someone to watch her screen (which was allowed in our contract) and seen several minutes of pauses often.

    Is not there a more simple and less scary solution than writing a time limit or quota for every small task in every work contract? What would you write exactly? If you would have a normal employment contract with me for half a year, me as a remote clerk and I would do six 4-minute breaks every hour when I should work, what could you do?
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  • All time is our own, till'n such time we dead.

    Are there rules here?

    Prolly only smarts.

    tbh ima natchrl supportah of perfect pegs for perfect holes.

    Given our finite resources vs uncertainty of the Caahsmaahs, best frickin' fits are all we gaht.

    From henceforth propulse all profitable combinayschwaahns.

    That is why interviews are always way scarier for anywan seekin' the right people.

    It is a natchrl consequence of definin' terms that you invite targeted offahs.

    Plus also, less'n you a porno zillionnnairre, nowan likes no probe up thuh frickin' asshole.

    Passion is so fundamental to evrythin' workin' out between us.

    Put a horse in no place she can run, she gonna go crayzee.

    Tellya, we tappin' our people for like 10% what they gaht rn, mostly bcs stoopid ideahs.

    Ain't no kinda strategy for a plannit headin' tward imminent oblivion imho.

    Like Gandalf said, "when you're about to be consumed by flames, the last thing you do is check your hair."

    Hey, but I would so do that!

    Plus also, prolly he did that, or othahwise how the noo hair latah in the movie?

    All time is our own, till'n such time we dead.

    Let us conjectyoore till'n we stahp!
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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  • Profile picture of the author JamesMan
    well im working remote and we're using hubstaff to make sure that we that we are doing our job.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    "if you do not perform to management's satisfaction."
    I'd never sign a contract like that for anything - you should have an escape clause but it should be based on meeting specific requirements - to protect the employee from whims of managers.

    You can also use mileposts in a contract where there are goals for what should be accomplished in 30 days - 3 months - 6 months, etc.
    Each 'milepost' could have an 'escape' clause.


    I asked somebody to look at how she worked

    IF you are the 'manager' you should approach the employee directly - not a good tactic to go to a third party and ask them to 'watch her' unless that third party IS her manager.
    If you want to know why an employee is under-producing - ASK the employee directly.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      The management satisfaction part is detailed...


      One thing, you show up for work at 8 and leave at 4, 2 15-minute breaks + a 45-min lunch. You take one extra break, you break the agreement, you could be fired.


      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      "if you do not perform to management's satisfaction."
      I'd never sign a contract like that for anything - you should have an escape clause but it should be based on meeting specific requirements - to protect the employee from whims of managers.

      You can also use mileposts in a contract where there are goals for what should be accomplished in 30 days - 3 months - 6 months, etc.
      Each 'milepost' could have an 'escape' clause.

      IF you are the 'manager' you should approach the employee directly - not a good tactic to go to a third party and ask them to 'watch her' unless that third party IS her manager.
      If you want to know why an employee is under-producing - ASK the employee directly.
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    • Profile picture of the author Troy Arrandale
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      "

      You can also use mileposts in a contract where there are goals for what should be accomplished in 30 days - 3 months - 6 months, etc.
      Each 'milepost' could have an 'escape' clause.




      .
      Mileposts. Upwork uses those built into their platform or couple years ago when I used them they did.

      I agree about putting these types of clauses into your contracts with employees. If it's scary for you, just remember it's there to help the both of you, employee and employer, it's part of running a successful business and may help your success. It may scare some potential employees away, but then in my opinion you don't want the type it would scare away anyway.
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  • It'd ALMOST ALWAYS be a problem in your PEOPLE, PROCESS and TECHNOLOGY ...

    If my employees and subcontractors are cheating me by billing me for hours they're supposed to be productive, then people whom I assigned to filter applicants and suitable candidates (that'd be me, in case I'm running a one-man business) aren't suited for that task, nor for any relevant process management duty, which is again hooked up to my hiring, testing, training, management, rewards and challenges processes;

    If my employees and / or subcontractors aren't performing at par with my expectations, then it's probably a hiring, testing, training, management, rewards and challenges process problem; and

    If none of the problems above are the primary causes of any relevant issue, then I'm not using the most suitable technologies to significantly improve my hiring, testing, training, management, rewards and challenges processes ...

    I think iron-clad contracts, both for the benefit in good faith of the business and the employee or subcontractor, are products of well-thought-out people, process and technology investments.
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  • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
    Does each team member have an agreed upon list of tasks to get done that day?

    In my experience of managing a team of 4 all the way up to 200 staff (contact centre in PH) the easiest way is for everyone to know exactly what is expected of them each day. It's good for the manager too, as doing this requires active management and daily team checkin to quickly review yesterday's checklist followed by that day's checklist.

    Also, a rookie error is to jam that checklist with 8hrs+ of work... the truth is most people (doesn't matter where from) are only truly productive from 4-6hrs of the day, and also random tasks occasionally turn up.

    Another error is to give a massive task list of 100 items and say "get through as much as you can" - that's thoroughly demotivating as there's no finish line to cross.

    Best is a nice clean checklist of tasks that will take around 6hrs to complete if someone works hard - meaning in real life it'll probably take 8hrs.

    Another benefit is you'll have very clear evidence of someone who is lazy, as they'll simply never get their day's work done... in which case, most of the time they'll self-select, but if not, you'll be able to quickly get rid of them.

    Keeping the checklists is also useful as evidence if needed by a government agency relating to industrial relations (in the Philippines this is DOLE) in the event of a worker complaint.

    Yes, a well thought out contract is useful in the event of a dispute, but really, an agreed upon list of tasks each day is far more enjoyable for all parties when it comes to actual daily working life.
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    You only get one shot at life - make it awesome.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    As an operations management and operational excellence guy, I can say most companies have a poor understanding of their KPIs (or indidivual employees' "Rocks" in EOS terms). As Dwolfe said, if you know their important performance measure and they're hitting it, leave them alone. Those who don't know their numbers feel the need to clamp down and monitor.

    I recently started seeing listings for mouse jigglers on Amazon. Although I've worked from home for a decade I had never seen such a thing before. They keep your remote monitor program engaged so you can step away--and people working from home often have to...to take care of kids, go to the bathroom, make a meal, flip laundry, answer the door and so on. The need for this product seems so dumb to me.

    This is a company culture thing...if someone feels they need to watch every moment of my life, I don't want to associate with them. You might want to consider who you are attracting and who you are repelling with this policy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Those who don't know their numbers feel the need to clamp down and monitor.

    I would add - those who don't haven't done the job themselves feel the need to miromanage.


    ...if someone feels they need to watch every moment of my life, I don't want to associate with them.

    Also, not the type of manager you'd want to employ if you were the big boss.
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