Business management Managing Remote Workers

How to Make Sure Your Remote Employees are Actually Working

Our workforce is experiencing a very unique time and set of circumstances. Businesses who never allowed employees to work from home are now forced to operate a work-from-home workplace.

Many employers have expressed that they don’t know how to know if their employees are actually working now that they’re remote. While trust is a good thing, the truth of the matter is that employees need to be monitored and held accountable just as they were in an in-office workplace.

Making sure employees are actually working from home requires new tools and procedures than when you were running an in-person office so budget your time accordingly. Ensuring employee productivity also requires new tools so budget your brand’s finances accordingly as well.

When it comes to managing a remote team, email is not good enough. There are tools and communication methods that are a lot more effective so that you’re not relying only on email to measure and account for productivity.

In this post, I’m about to give you everything you need to know to make sure your employees are actually working so that you can be an effective manager. Yay for productivity!

Conduct a Remote Work Onboarding Session

Be thoughtful of the new tools and procedures that you’re going to implement as a manager.

Do an onboarding session about remote work procedures with your whole team outlining things like:

  • Times your employees are expected to be online
  • How you’re going to measure projects and deadlines
  • The new tools you’re going to use to manage your remote employees
  • Answer any questions they may have

Consider a Virtual Office

There are a few platforms that virtually mimic real offices. This is by far the best way to collaborate and monitor your employees.

Virtual offices include individual offices with your employees’ headshots when they’re online so you can quickly see if an employee is online or not.

These platforms also include meeting rooms and video chat so that you can talk one on one or have group discussions in the virtual boardroom.

Abyx helps brands get started with and run virtual offices so be sure to check Abyx out here if you think a virtual office is a good idea for your company.

Prioritize Video Meetings

Video meetings throughout the week or even throughout the day ensure that an employee is online and working. Video is better than chat or email because it makes employees feel less isolated and you can pick up on social cues that you can’t pick up on in chat or email.

Set times for group video meetings and one-on-one video meetings so that you can keep a pulse on productivity and make yourself available for any struggles your employees may be facing.

Use Screen Capturing Software

So, you can see if your employees are online with a virtual office or with a dot by their name on a company chat tool. But, how do you know if they’re surfing the web for pleasure or if they’re actually working on the projects they should be working on?

There are plenty of screen capturing tools that you can have your employees install and these tools will randomly take screen capture shots throughout the day. This motivates employees to stay on task.

There are a number of tools out there with this functionality and I recommend HiveDesk.

Have Active Chat Sessions

If you’ve decided not to do a virtual office for your remote based company, consider a chat tool like Slack so that you can ping your employees throughout the day to see if they need anything and to see how their projects are coming along.

Knowing that you’re going to be checking in on them throughout the day keeps your employees at their computers and squashes the temptation to do housework or run an errand while they’re being paid to be working.

Set Deadlines

Monitoring your employees may be starting to sound like a full time job.

One way to measure productivity and accountability is to set deadlines. When your employees meet these deadlines, you know that they’re doing their work.

Be sure to be clear with deadlines and make yourself available to help with any issues that may come up for your employees.

Everyone’s management style is different and some managers choose to track project output rather than tracking time.

Facilitate Collaboration

When part of a team, your employees are help accountable for their work by their peers. So by all means, implement teamwork.

Not to mention, during these times of isolation, it will be refreshing to implement more collaboration among your team.

Be Tactful

Lastly, when it comes to making sure your employees are working, I want to remind you to be tactful and not make them feel like you don’t trust them.

Explain that the tools and procedures you’re implementing are good for your company and that it’s not personal that you’re making these decisions.

Do you have any tips when it comes to managing remote employees? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


By Kristen Matthews

Kristen has been in the digital marketing space and consults with B2B and B2C brands on their digital strategies. If you'd like to reach her, you can email her at

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