Outsourcing Question: Any software solution to prevent your remote worker from slacking off?

by royh
15 replies
Hi guys,

I am going to hire a remote worker to work for me full time.
I don't mind if he takes long breaks as long as his work adds up to 7 hrs a day.
Now the ideal solution is to have something like the Work Diary of odesk.com
They take frequent screenshots of the remote workers, and where possible webcam snapshots.
Is there a vendor offering a software solution like odesk's that doesn't cost an arm a a leg?
The closest one I can think of is rescuetime.com, it is a time-management software that can track computer activity, but no screenshot of desktop.

Please provide your input, guys.
#outsourcing #prevent #question #remote #slacking #software #solution #worker
  • Profile picture of the author Sam Rodrigo
    Royh,

    I think this is a very intrusive way to establish trust with someone. Just because they are remote does not mean you have to treat them like dirt.

    My suggestion is to start out slowly, with a small project. Pay them. Check the quality of work and then expand your hours and the pay.

    When you find someone dependable and trustworthy, treat them like a God.
    Success,
    Sam
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Middleton
    Hi,
    It sounds as if you have plenty of work to get someone to help you full time.

    Trust is essential and it is a two way thing!

    Have you thought about starting the relationship on a price per task basis. That way you know your costs up-front and you are not worried about clock-watching!

    Might be worth considering? My business works like that in a way. People decide how many articles they want and they know the cost up-front. I in turn try to guarantee a delivery of 3- 5 working days. That way each party knows where they stand.

    Hope that helps some?
    Ian
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  • Profile picture of the author AmyBrown
    I've always focused on production rather than micro-managing their time. My outsourced workers know the number or articles or other tasks I believe is reasonable for them to complete on a full-time basis and their daily work falls in that range. If it doesn't we discuss the situation and if needed I warn/fire. If I have to spend time babysitting someone to get the work done I may as well do it myself. On and offline I've found this management style attracts a higher level of employee.

    Amy
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Pay by the project, not by the hour. Set a deadline and start deducting for time overruns.

    It's called management by the rope. Hand them the rope. They'll either tie it down or hang themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Thompson
    Set expectations as for the quality/quantity of output and work based on trust. Either that or work based on a per project fee.

    I don't think you should try to use software to solve a problem that your gut can tell you the answer to. You'll know if you're getting 7 hours of work a day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Worry more about what they produce rather than what actually they do to accomplish their results. What if they could do the job in 4 hours? Would you want to pay them half just because they're productive? Insane.

    Manage by objectives.

    Tyrus
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    • Profile picture of the author royh
      Thanks for the input guys, the reason I am borderline draconian is because I had a guy who worked for me who was kinda inconsistent. One moment he's ultra productive, the other moment he can slack off for days without any results to show me.

      And thanks Tyrus for summing it up so nicely.
      Originally Posted by Tyrus Antas View Post

      Manage by objectives.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by Tyrus Antas View Post

      Worry more about what they produce rather than what actually they do to accomplish their results. What if they could do the job in 4 hours? Would you want to pay them half just because they're productive? Insane.

      Manage by objectives.

      Tyrus
      If its a per job pay then the only time that matters is the deadline.

      However, if I pay someone by the hour, I expect an hours of work.

      Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author summerm
    You could try a tip that was given a few days ago on this forum-- offer an ongoing bonus for high productivity. could provide just the incentive to prevent slacking
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  • Profile picture of the author AaronMaxwell
    It's very simple if you focus on what matters: measuring the results produced, divided by the amount of money they are paid to do it.

    Who cares if they slack off for an hour or more surfing the web, but the rest of that day they are so phenomenally productive their average output for that day far exceeds the norm?

    (And yes, that is realistic, and it happens. In fact it's more typical than most people realize.)

    When one insists on micromanaging people (and that's what things like odesk do when they capture screenshots for you constantly), think about what kind of people you are going to get. Who likes to be watched constantly to be sure they are not "slacking off" for even a moment?

    Not me, not most people. The people who are high quality enough to have better options than working for such an employer... well, they will just leave for greener pastures.

    So... don't be that kind of employer!

    (I know it's very tough, sometimes even scary to "let go" like this... but you'll be doing yourself a favor if you at least try it.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Mukul Verma
    To keep an eye, use www.logmein.com and you can monitor there computer.

    I would agree that you have to build a relationship. I got a outsource employee who reads comics on her shift (I hope she does not read this), however she keeps customers happy by producing results and works longer then 8 hour days, so all is good and fair. It is really a give and take.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wasabi Kurt
    Originally Posted by royh View Post

    Hi guys,

    I am going to hire a remote worker to work for me full time.
    I don't mind if he takes long breaks as long as his work adds up to 7 hrs a day.
    Now the ideal solution is to have something like the Work Diary of odesk.com
    They take frequent screenshots of the remote workers, and where possible webcam snapshots.
    Is there a vendor offering a software solution like odesk's that doesn't cost an arm a a leg?
    The closest one I can think of is rescuetime.com, it is a time-management software that can track computer activity, but no screenshot of desktop.

    Please provide your input, guys.
    "Borderline draconian???"

    Set milestones and expectations up front before they start working on your project. Depending on the nature of what they're doing for you, your daily involvement in it and your understanding of the technicalities of what they're doing for you, you should be getting daily status updates from them by email or Skype, or daily source code files or HTML files, or something like that to show their progress. Let them know you expect that from Day 1. If you didn't set that expectation at the start, then put it in place as soon as it's apparent that things are slipping.

    But DON'T treat them like crap or show mistrust, and don't make them feel like there's a gun pointed at their head every minute from the other side of their computer screen!!! That just guarantees poor quality, poor work ethic, a lack of desire on their part to ever work for you again and a willingness to tell other potential employees about how you don't value or trust them.

    You want to build mutual trust, not destroy it from the start!
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  • Profile picture of the author Star Riley
    Jason Parker has a really cool free wso that covers outsourcing http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...irt-cheap.html
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Iannotti
    Originally Posted by royh View Post

    Hi guys,

    I am going to hire a remote worker to work for me full time.
    I don't mind if he takes long breaks as long as his work adds up to 7 hrs a day.
    Now the ideal solution is to have something like the Work Diary of odesk.com
    They take frequent screenshots of the remote workers, and where possible webcam snapshots.
    Is there a vendor offering a software solution like odesk's that doesn't cost an arm a a leg?
    The closest one I can think of is rescuetime.com, it is a time-management software that can track computer activity, but no screenshot of desktop.

    Please provide your input, guys.

    You sound like my boss...Sad thing is I work in an office here he can actually see us and he thinks this way...He even installed camera's in lunch room to see who was in there from his office and check if they were supposed to be in there....To us, we were all pissed off, and yes we respected him alot less for it...

    Sam seems to have good advice...
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