Avoiding Time Theft Within Your Remote Workforce

Right now, as you’re reading this article, an on-the-clock employee is binge-watching their favorite show. Another is walking their dog. And another is taking a nap.

All employees, even your top performers, are guilty of time theft from time to time.

Time theft, when an employee accepts pay for work and time that they didn’t work, is easy to spot when employees are present on the worksite. Mindless scrolling of social feeds, socializing with coworkers, and taking longer-than-allowed breaks are visible signs a worker has mentally checked out.

However, when it comes to remote workers, it’s not as easy to see, but it’s happening. According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who worked at home report doing so for 5.4 hours on days they worked vs. 7.9 hours for those who worked at their workplace.

Working Hard vs. Hardly Working

Just because your employees are sitting in front of their laptops, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are working effectively. In fact, taking periodic work breaks throughout the day can boost well-being and performance.

But how much downtime is acceptable? Followers of the 52/17 Rule, work intently for 52 minutes, then take a break for 17 for optimal productivity. This popular hack is proven effective in the workplace.

Studies show that employees who take frequent breaks are more productive than those who don’t. If that’s true, then employees only need to actively work for 5 ½ hours of an 8-hour workday.

Time theft becomes a problem when it impacts productivity. So how do you know when your remote employee is taking advantage of the situation? These are signs to look out for:

  • The employee isn’t responsive to calls and emails
  • The employee is late with assignments or their work is sub-par
  • You been receiving complaints about the employee’s performance from clients and colleagues

Avoiding Time Theft 

Fortunately, there are ways to deter time theft among your remote team. Here’s how.

Encourage accountability

Create an environment of accountability to ward off time theft. Keep your remote employees engaged by building a sense of community, providing ample feedback and recognition, and investing in their development. Demonstrate that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.

Establish a policy

All workforces with remote or flexible working models should have a formal work-from-home policy. In addition to legal rights and security protocols, the policy should clearly communicate expectations for employee availability and responsiveness, along with methods used for measuring productivity. The policy should be included in your employee handbook.

Utilize time and labor management software

Integrated time and attendance software makes it difficult for employees to steal time. With Counter Point HCM’s time and labor management solutions, you can track and monitor your employees’ meals, breaks, and overtime, calculate and manage comp time, track employee locations when they clock in and out, monitor errors, and manage other time policies for complete and accurate timecards.

If your company could benefit from time and attendance software, request a call today!

6 Tips for Remote Onboarding

What does onboarding a new remote employee look like? 

Bringing on a new team member doesn’t look the same when an employee isn’t in the office. It’s important that new employees have what they need to feel connected to the organization and to their peers. It’s also imperative that they have the tools they need to be successful at their job.

Remote onboarding is more important than ever as flexible working models continue to rise in popularity. According to Forbes, as of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home—while 28.2% work a hybrid model. And it is projected that 32.6 million Americans will work remote by 2025 which equates to about 22% of the workforce.

This uptick is a result of organizations recognizing how successful remote work can be. In addition to reducing burn out, work flexibility has also proven to increase productivity, and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism. 

To help boost remote onboarding within your organization, we present these 6 tips. 

Make New Hires Feel Welcome

A warm welcome to the company can certainly help get things started off on the right foot and reinforce a new employee’s decision to accept the position. 

Send a welcome email or set up a video call to introduce them to their team members. Introducing them prior to their first day will help “put a face to the name” and lessen the fear of not knowing anyone (especially when they aren’t directly down the hall). 

Got some cool company merch? Send that along too! Company swag is a great way to warmly welcome a new employee and help them get excited to be a part of the team.

Provide an Employee Handbook

Sharing an employee handbook is a crucial part of onboarding. If you were to purchase a new T.V. you’d expect it to come with a manual, some kind of instruction to get it set up, what to expect from it, and what kind of features there are. 

Similarly, a new employee should be well versed in the company culture and protocols, the so-called “rule book”. This prepares employees for what to expect when entering this new relationship. 

Using a HR information system is an effective way to make sure all employees have acknowledged and signed the handbook. Scheduling a video call to go over these documents will help create a more personal connection with your remote employee. 

Set Them Up for Success

Make sure that your remote employees have the tools they need to do their job successfully. Confirm that they have a dedicated working area within their home that they can use as a home office. 

If you have a budget in place for setting up a new employee’s home office, consider sending items like a printer, computer, paper and anything else they might need before their first day. This gives them plenty of time to get set up and prepared to start. 

Make Their First Day Special

On a new hire’s first in-person day at the office, you might show them around, introduce them to various employees, peers and upper-level staff. You might point out where the conference room is or the employee kitchen. 

With remote employees, it’s still important to make them feel comfortable and connected. Set up a “first day coffee chat” via video conferencing with your new employee. Encourage team members or managers to join in on the call. 

This is a great way to make “face to face” introductions, help them understand the team roles, and how they will fit into the mix. 

Check In

After a while, there might not be a need to check in with your employees on a frequent basis, however, starting a new position remotely can be isolating. Routine check-ins can be helpful in making sure your employee feels connected and understands their role.

Schedule regular check-in times and encourage them to ask questions. You don’t want to make them feel micromanaged, the goal is to find a balance between efficiency and proper acclimation.

Rely on the Right Technology

By automating onboarding, you’ll have more time to devote to making your new hires feel welcome and engaged, while setting them up for success within the organization.

Schedule a call today to discover how Counter Point HCM can help you source, hire, and onboard the right talent regardless of whether your team is remote, on-site, or hybrid.

How to Build a Productive Remote Team

There are many benefits to having remote teams. Remote workers are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. They are often saving money on commuting, tolls, and lunch. They have more flexibility in their schedule, creating a sense of happiness. Happy employees are believed to increase efficiency and overall company morale. 

It is important however, to keep remote workers focused and productive. Building a productive team can seem difficult at times. Trying to achieve the same goals when everyone is in a different location, can certainly present more challenges. 

What’s the best way to keep on top of your remote teams for optimal performance? Here are some tips to build a productive remote team:

Communicate Often

Having strong communication in place is key for any successful team. There are a variety of project management and communication tools available that will allow you to check in with employees and chat in real time. 

Although there are several platforms like email, phone calls, video calls, and other means of communication, it’s important not to make your employees feel micromanaged. Even more so, you don’t want your employees distracted by constant messaging that they aren’t being productive completing tasks.  

Try simplifying your communication methods by putting a process in place:

  • Urgent communication should be done via a messenger platform
  • Anything that doesn’t need immediate attention should be done via email
  • Video calls and check ins should be scheduled at specific times

This will also help your employees structure their day accordingly. 

Foster Employee Relationships

Although there are many positives to working remotely, employees do miss out on certain in-person interactions they would get within an office environment. There is no meeting around the water cooler to catch up with co-workers. This might be great for time management, but humans need interaction; we need connection. 

Be sure to schedule one-on-one meetings with your employees. Check in with them on a personal level. How are they doing? What was something they did over the weekend? These kinds of personal interactions can be highly motivating for remote teams. Making them feel a part of the team and socially connected with their peers will make them less likely to feel isolated. 

Having scheduled team meetings for employees to be able to check in with one another is also important. Give each employee time to discuss what they are working on, if they are feeling stuck, or just to brainstorm ideas. These are all important ways to build a strong culture even with remote employees. 

Invest In Your Team

Great managers take the time to invest and continually train their employees. Learning is critical for personal and professional growth. As businesses focus on work-life balance, learning management plays an essential role in achieving long-term goals.

Investing in tools to train your remote employees gives them the opportunity to take online courses on their own time without having to complete anything in person. 

Build A Productive Team

Building a productive remote workforce takes strong communication, healthy employee relationships, and a commitment to investing in your team. While a flexible working has its perks, it can be a difficult transition if an employee is not used to it. Isolation and minimal human interaction can leave an employee feeling disconnected from their job. These tips can keep them focused and excited for their day.

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