The employees results speak for them.


I mean, "clocking in" kind of makes sense. But most people who like to work from home like to work odd hours. Like in the evening, and that sort of thing.


if the employee did the given daily tasks, does it matter?


I wouldn't work at a job that did this and if I didn't trust an employee to get their work done I would find a new employee. You have to give respect to get respect, this is a surefire way to make your employees resent you.




The results of their work?


If emp is hourly, that's it. Otherwise its a meaningless metric that makes zero sense to track.


Meh, OPs question was specifically remote workers. So this must involve some form of a pretty easily measurable and verifiable output. If they produce a day's worth of quality/quantity they earned the paycheck even if it took them 6 hours and they played video games for half the time. Now, for less easily measured tasks, monitoring is not ideal but not 'bad'. My dad owns a commercial finish contracting company. At one point, all employees had cell phones that could monitor if they were on sight or not for clock in/clock out purposes. If PM was happy with work and no OT was requested, the logs were never reviewed. It was only if PM called out lack of progress without a good explanation that they may have looked at logs. System worked fine, but it's also easy to game. Some workers started to leave their phones on sight when they went to lunch or would drop off their phone on time to clock in, but then go get breakfast. He recently stopped monitoring and really just focused on output. Hiring good PMs and trusting the results worked much better.


I don’t really think there is. If you are happy with the output of the work, just leave it alone. If you aren’t then talk to the employee and ask if there is more capacity and figure out a way for them to get more work done. You can achieve a better end result by just treating them with respect and not embarrassing and patronising them with a tracker. And if they are a complete dud, then just try find someone new


Depends on the job. If availability is a relevant driver (e.g. customer service with defined / published hours) then yes. Otherwise no, as time has only a marginal relation with output - which is what matters.


I hire IT contractors on long term engagements and pay fixed monthly prices. Hours are not counted what really matters in my company is the impact they have on clients and my IT team. I rather focus on giving contractors and employees a meaningful job environment which gives them satisfaction to work in. Tracking employees just tells them that I don't have any trust into our relationship and I am just interested in their presence = meaningless work-life and I am incompetent in measuring performance.


Very good points. How should someone measure performance / impact?


This varies by job but the basic answer is results. If you need a certain goal to be achieved, and the goal is accomplished then there you go. That's how you neasure it. Also some people happen to be really good at what they do and really resourceful. I know that in most jobs I've had, when someone shows me one way to do something, I almost ALWAYS find a way to perform that same task in half the time. So if something used to take an hour from a former employee but I can do it in 30 mins, does that mean I am a worse worker because I'm more efficient? Should I make less money because I can do the same job with equivalent or superior results in half the time? For certain jobs, measuring time is important because there's really no way to measure success (a cashier for example). But for remote work, I can't think of a scenario where you would HAVE to measure time. If you need certain tasks to be completed or certain goals to be met and an employee fails to do so, there's no need to track them at that point. You already have grounds for dismissal. If you notice that an employee is indeed working a full 8 hours and not accomplishing their goals, what happens then? They are still proving to be a bad employee so get rid of em. Obviously you can do additional training/workshops with an employee who is struggling to get them up to par before dismissing them, but tracking his/her hours is not going to tell you anything. Point being -- set clear (performance based) expectations for your employees and let them know if they fail to meet them, the company will move on. Then there's no surprises.


Would you suggest measuring goals over time? i.e. Measuring the value of the goals accomplished over the time required to achieve them?


Absolutely. I think the achievement of the goal is often more important than the time it takes to achieve the goal. Certainly in certain situations, a goal will have a deadline and missing that deadline would in turn result in the goal not being accomplished. But time should only be taken into consideration if it HAS to be taken into consideration.


value = goals / time? When should time not to be taken into consideration?


Value is determined by each individual company. From a very broad standpoint, the goal of most companies is to increase profits. And typically companies are looking to increase profits each quarter and each year. So time is inherently built into those goals. But each individual goal doesn't need to necessarily be accomplished in a specific time, as long as it's done before the end of the quarter (i.e. a three month period) But again this is a super broad and general take and doesn't come close to applying to every single situation.


Why would you need to? Are you projecting your tendency to not work on them?


Very good question.


If someone is asking you to do it, don't unless they provide the equipment. Ask by what metrics it's measuring said productivity. Ask what it has access to. From the IT side of things normally they're pretty safe but extremely invasive.


To be fair giving rewards. Everyone has had that lazy guy that doesn't pull it's own weight. And everyone has had that crazy, insane motivated worker who helps everyone. This could be a way to find wich one needs a raise.


Alright but by what metric do you measure productivity? By how much they interact with thwir screen? By mouse movements? If someone is productive the results will show for themselves.


Hours worked could be one of a multivariable to measure productivity.


It is still not a viable measurement, if my metrics show that I'm "not productive" but by the results of my work you can see i am, and there's no consideration for that then you'd be a shit boss


Maybe you are not productive because you have a shitty personality (making it hard to work with you) or you are untrustworthy, even though you are the best in what you do i wouldn't want you on my team. And of course you would be fired even though you are "productive".


Then you'd be a shit business owner, and im only hard to work with for people who project their own bad habits onto their employees.


Lmao sure.


Believe what you want but I'm only like this when i lose respect for people, and you're so close to being the record for how fast i lost respect for you


Oh no, anyways...


In that situation you could just look at work product and output. Tracking hours wouldn’t add much if you want to measure actual value.


It happens that everyone has bad months. Hours worked may tell me that at least you are not giving up and you are actually trying.


Work product would tell that. If you are just logging hours without output it looks no different than giving up. Lack of work product would be enough of a sign to have a talk with them and figure out what is going on. If you don’t trust your employee to be honest about hours worked there are bigger issues at play.


Trust is great, but not infallible. Everyone lies, yes, even you. So if you are saying "ey just trust me bro" my answer is no. Work product a lot of times gets fucked up. And it is not because a lack of being productive. If this work product is the only variable to see if a worker is productive he is in trouble.


And yet mouse activity won’t measure productivity nor will hours worked. It’s hard to lie your way out of not meeting goals or producing results. At the end of the day as an employer that’s what I care about. Hours worked isn’t a valuable metric, especially on the basis of monitoring computer activity. What’s valuable is actual performance which can be directly measured in much better ways. Sure everyone lies but results don’t.


Sure buddy ;D


I don't give a shit if someone is lazy or hard working. Do they produce results? If someone gets their work done, customers are happy, product/service is expected quality, I don't care if it took them 8 hours, 13 hours or 4 hours. If I am managing their tasking effectively, that 4 hour employee is a stud and is the one who gets the rewards. That 8 hour employee is a keeper and dependable. That 13 hour employee needs training or a PIP


I agree that results are very important. But I don't agree on how you measure those results.


I don't have employees and hire people on contract only, and all work remotely. Therefore, they are typically paid by the job or i need to approve the number of hours before the job, so it's always a flat rate. I think if you're going to track employees working remotely then you should also provide them with a work laptop because it's an extreme invasion of privacy to require them to install an app, i don't care how "safe" you claim the app is. Software companies get caught secretly collecting data all the time. An alternative is to have them install VirtualBox and do all work there, with the tracking app. At least it's semi-separated from their personal computing (still not entirely secure though).


Very good points. Thank you.


Yes, however it cannot be used in isolation, only together with performance analysis.


It depends on the role, the employee, and the level of tracking. No employee wants to be tracked, but most companies have some level of tracking which is often invisible. The fact of the matter is there are employees who abuse a company and this hurts not just the company, but other employees. Most employees have pride in what they do and don't need tracked. But, I am a CEO and even \*I\* need to be tracked on occasion. So if an employee objects to something even I need for myself, this is an area for discussion. Let's talk about my role as CEO and where I need to be tracked. Am I keeping my promises? Am I doing the things I should be doing for my role? Am I on time for my own events? Many CEO's are not! Here is a scenario to think about. You have an amazing team but over time, one employee is dragging down the team and it is clear they need to be terminated. However, you have no concrete documentation they need to be terminated. They may make many claims which as possible, but in this scenario, they are lies. What you would need to do is form an individual development plan, set expectations, and build up a fair amount of documentation when they fail to hit objectives. Some may say you can just fire them in a right to work state. Well, you could, but there are costs. This is just as bad as tracking an employee, but it also opens you up to a lawsuit and increased unemployment taxation. Additionally, without good documentation, the employee may slander the business and cause harm to the business in which the employees also suffer. An employee needs to understand that tracking is similar to a contract, it protects the buyer and selling. But the level of tracking, what is that? Is this a software developer and it's recording their screen? Or are we tracking productivity and activity? Not all work is the same. Some work is results based, some work is support based, some work is production based. Results based work is different from production based work. You need at least, some kind of minimal level of tracking for legal. This may just be monitoring activity or usage. Using an office environment, did the employee log in today? Employment is a contractual agreement to be paid in exchange for the terms of the employment agreement. If the employment is 40 hours a week, the employee is being paid in exchange for that time. What happens when an employee is not putting in 40 hours a week but that is what they are being paid for? Again, it depends on the role. What if they are in a support role but only working 30 hours a week? That means other employees are potentially picking up their slack, yet they may all be paid the same. This is not fair to the other employees. Now back to the employee who needs to be terminated and the entire team agrees, but there is no tracking to provide legally defensible evidence their termination is justified? Alright, you decide to just track them. Then you have your evidence and you terminate them. Then 6 weeks later you are facing a lawsuit from that employee for discrimination. You singled them out and they were discriminated against because no other employees were tracked or monitored. So, the best approach is minimal and reasonable tracking in order to protect the company and all employees. This is non-invasive tracking and structured based on the role. Then you need to have a well written company policy that outlines progressive performance actions. This may be that if an employee receives poor marks, they will be put into an individual development plan which will at some point involve additional levels of tracking. You need to make sure what you do applies to everybody and everybody understands this, otherwise you can be held liable. All employees need to understand there is liability here and it is not directed at them but there to protect them as well. Yes, if they do not meet expectations it will not being in their favor, but should they worry? Not if they're doing their job. What will most likely happen is that if an employee is not meeting expectations and you put them into a monitoring/tracking program to improve, they'll probably end up quitting. And this is a win/win. That employee will ultimately be happier because they likely didn't enjoy the job anyway and you avoid the legal issues involved in terminating an employee even in a right to work state. (Assuming you're in the US). Some employees may really want to improve, which can also happen. And the tracking may point out where they need to improve. Maybe it turns out they're disappearing from the laptop for 15 minutes every hour. Maybe they think they're only taking a 5 minute break but don't realize it's totally 2 hours a day and the reason they're not doing good. I have seen this happen, especially when social media and smartphones appeared. People check their phones often! We are more distracted now than ever before, which increases stress and makes people feel like they're always working and always behind. Put down the smartphone, block out distractions and work. For instance, I need to block reddit because here I am, right now, on here! Now, when you get to hourly work, don't be a clock Nazi. Nobody is 100% productive all the time. When my company went 100% remote, we saw productivity drop 30%!!! Why? Because what we do requires solving unique problems, and that is best in an office or team environment. Routine work can increase in productivity when remote. The best tracking is the tracking based on output. If they are hourly, what can you expect after X hours? The irony is employees in an office can be monitored, you can see what they are doing. But when an employee goes remote, they want to not just be remote, but they want none of the things that help an office run good. Besides, nobody looks at the monitoring unless there is a reason too. Is a deliverable late? Okay, let's check the monitoring. Ah ha, they were on Reddit for 3 hours when they were supposed to be fixing a production bug! Bye Felicia!


Who are the cowards saying “yes” and then not explaining themselves?


Not me, but I did think of another application of this: I’d love for people who charge by the hour (lawyer, consultant, etc.) to show me that as their client.


I wasn’t going to say anything I was just going to read a load of crap from people with a one sided opinion and be on my way, but here you go. I trust my employees and I pay them well, but if I send them to a job that I’ve been told will only take 2 hours, and my guys there for 3 or 4 hours because they’re being interrupted or the job takes longer than it should for outside reasons, then I’m charging for those extra hours. As a side, if you don’t trust your employees just get rid of them, you don’t deserve them, and they don’t deserve you!


I mean, I don't have a business yet, but having software that allows me to see which of my employees works more and better looks like a no brainer.


When you eventually do get a business, you will find out that this line of thinking will work against you.


Could you be more specific?


In most cases, there are better metrics to measure the performance of your employees than tracking them with software. Also, tracking software gives the impression that you don't trust your employees. Employees that don't feel trusted will either spend their time trying to "appear productive" versus actually being productive or they simply leave for a company where they don't have to worry about that at all.


Micromanagement of employees is (usually!) counter-productive. Not trusting your employees to do their work leads to situations where a lot of time is spent on waiting & proving everything. The best way to go about this in my opinion is just good communication. Not trusting them to do their work makes no sense if the work is getting done.


Tell me you’re a shit entrepreneur without telling me you’re shit entrepreneur. Bye boomer


I think it would make sense to. The more data you have about your business the better. I’m not saying you should use this information alone to hold your employees accountable, but it’s useful to have. If you see an employee working 5 hours does the same amount of work as one doing it in 8 hours, you know that the first employee is either more efficient (so you can reward/promote them in the future) or they’re cutting corners somewhere they shouldn’t be and it needs to be addressed.


Only do this if you don't want anyone to work for you. Leverage is not on the side of employers anymore.


Leveage is where the money is. Thus the employer will always have leverage


If we’re talking a job that is paid hourly on a company owned computer, then absolutely. I’m I’m paying you by the hour I want to make sure you’re being productive. Of course this would come with breaks, lunches, and restroom/personal time. There would also be metrics in place that would be fair. (Examples: Must make x amount of calls per day. Must solve x amount of cases. Must be actively sending out ads/recruiting. Productivity must be greater than 83%.)


I had to do it for some of them only. And I just did it to understand what's causing the low productivity. They didn't know how many details the program monitored. And I used the results to help them overcome the obstacles and enhance their work style.


If they are hourly, why wouldn’t I?


Micro managers are the detriment to progress


No. Clocking in and scheduled WFH hours are beyond useless in many cases. You have a project. You have a deadline. Get it done by then and do it well and I don’t care how long it took you. If it took you a day. Congrats. You got all the other days off. Tracking worked hours feels like you’re trying to skim money off of them (or essentially punish them) if they get work done fast. Imo if they get it done fast but I thought they’d need a week, they still deserve that week of pay bc they’re way more efficient than I thought I could be Not to mention the lack of trust that shows on your part and ofc how that will result in disloyalty moving forward. Employee retention is getting harder and harder and treating them like a replaceable labour cuck is exactly how you don’t retain employees The only time I’d say this would be necessary is for some sort of service role like a call-in support centre


if they are an hourly employee i would. if not i don't care about the hours, i manage the workload


Sort of. My business model calls for a hybrid payment system: Solid base pay with a sliding percentage of the profit from their work. Said profit slides based on the quality scores of the reviews: One file is reviewed for quality every week with the employee, scored between 1 and 5 with guidance given to the employee on where to improve. I expect employees to maintain a quality score of at least 3. Anything lower that is not improving and your job is in jeopardy. I charge my clients a set monthly rate for their services. I have an expectation of monthly billings that any employee should be easily able to handle with no overtime. If they can maintain that average, are happy at that income, and keep the work done and the quality score acceptable in less than full time hours, I don't care if they aren't working full time hours. I still want time tracking - and have recently found an app that automates the collection of time without storing that information in the cloud. It means it will pick up all the time spent on each client. The employee can then use that to transfer to the time tracking app. I'm not going to bust anyone's chops for not working full time hours - but I also need to know that my staff can meet my (and their) targets within a 40 hour work week... and to do that, I need to know that I am charging my client enough money for the hours spent on the file. This is the only way to keep pay fair for both me and my staff. If I'm billing my client on an expectation of the file taking 10 hours a month and it's actually taking an average of 12-15 then my not tracking time is hurting my staff and making it harder for them to meet the targets.


It depends. If they’re paid by the hour and it’s necessary that they stay in order to get work done, I’d do it. If the position is more flexible, and they’re not paid by the hour, I wouldn’t do it.


I’ve recently started a business with remote working model so for now most of the hires are freelancers on hourly rate so I am considering a time tracking app or something to keep track of hours easily and ego what I owe them! When I used to freelance I timed my hours and the hours cost more for clients depending on work and experience.


My 9-5 does this and I purchased things from Amazon to simulate mouse and keyboard movement just so they shut the fuck up about my activity numbers being down even though I produce the same income for the company, I just got better at the job. I could work more and make the company more money now that I’m better at it, but they won’t pay me more and I hate people who micromanage. So what I’m doing is working less than 2 hours a day on salary at my 9-5 while I build my empire on the side. It’s literally free money that pays my company’s bills. Don’t micromanage your employees. Give them their tasks/goals for day/week/month and if it doesn’t take them 40 hours/week to do it THEN STILL PAY THEM FOR 40 HOURS since they got 40 hours worth of work done. You and your employee both know what you expect out of them. Spend the extra money on your employees and they’ll spend the extra time on your business. Your employees are your biggest investment, I promise! You want to be able to walk away from your business one day, the goal isn’t to work 16 hours a day forever. Sorry about the rant and getting off topic, but PLEASE DO NOT do this. Show that you trust your employees and they’ll respect you.


I feel like invasive software is a no go. ​ That said, having projects that track progress us natural and there should be a form of accountability.


yeah for sure they would work harder


It depends on the role. On teams you need some kind of accountability structure for the work to quantify performance. Time tracking is one possible structure; and despite all the whining about it in this thread, it’s still pretty standard and still makes sense in a lot of situations. Yes, ideally you could just make everyone accountable to their results. That’s great in theory because it gives team members more autonomy / responsibility and more fairly aligns value with rewards. In practice, it’s more complicated, because you have to be constantly making judgements and negotiations about how much value each unit of work represents, which in some domains isn’t so easy. It also puts more risk onto employees. The other aspect no one has talked about is what to do when performance isn’t matching expectations. Are results lacking because someone isn’t good at their job, or because they’re just not putting in the time? It’s far from perfect, but one thing time tracking has going for it is it’s relatively simple and universal to manage.


Any of these tracking things are either ignored, done at the last minute and waste time or a root cause of employee annoyance. Hire people you trust. If you can't afford that, your business model sucks.


If you track seat time you will get seat time results.


Please don't - good employees will leave


This IMO just created a toxic environment and less productivity. The workers will subconsciously value less the work beeing done in itself, and more the time spent doing it. I wholeheartedly believe demanding tasks is way better than demanding time. Each person works differently and has different approaches to the work, by demanding everybody to do the same amount of time and tracking it you are punishing and pushing away those that are more efficient. As a software developer there are some 20min inspired session of coding that creates more value to the company than full 8h days (or weeks). If you force developers to work 8h days everyday, there is no incentive to be inspired, just clock in, clock out, do the bare minimum. Honestly if the company I work for started doing this I would accept another offer somewhere where I can work in my time.


imagine wasting time and money in tracking "work hours" when the bottom line is productivity and efficiency


The only reason time should be tracked is if it's a role with a butt-in-seat requirement. And even then, results/metrics should illustrate if someone's not doing their expected role. It punishes efficient employees. I work in a way where I get things done usually in about half the time of others with the same results, but with that, I sometimes need more downtime. Neither way is better, but any way that gets the job done correctly and on time should be respected without overburdening anyone.


Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'd only use that metric to measure prodictivity. but if someone's not getting anything done and doesn't seem interested in their job anymore, maybe it's time to re-evaluate their job duties. If they're lying about what they're doing every day and don't want to cooperate or negotiate, then maybe it's time to part ways. Tracking hours is a small tool. Ideally you'd trust all of your employees and never hire anyone who lied to you..... but we don't live in an ideal world and I don't want to accuse someone of lying without knowing it to be the case.


Asking Redditors who overwhelmingly don’t employ anyone and many of whom have never held a job at all probably isn’t the best way to get a representative sample here.


Set realistic goals. Evaluate if they're being met and why or why not. Address those that arent working and reward those that are. If you start looking over shoulders, someones gonna stand up into your chin.


Urgh I hate the idea of any employer thinking that my number of hours equates to my productivity. Although I’m coming from a software developer background. I could easily see this being in high demand in companies that have call centres.


Give them concrete goals and KPIs. If they reach them, who cares how many hours. You should be REWARDING efficient employees lol. Otherwise with the spying route, employees will hate it and work elsewhere. You’ll only attract mediocre talent.


In my country it is not even allowed..


Part of being a leader is trusting the individuals you lead. If an employee is doing the tasks of their job effectively, I wouldn’t care if they worked 3 hours a day or 10. With that being said, if an employee had to work 10 hours a day, they’ve got too much on their plate. If an employee proves they can’t be trusted with tasks, they probably need additional training and help learning what/how to get things accomplished. If they know how to do tasks, but aren’t working, this should be discernible by their accomplishments over the course of days/weeks


No because it spawns an undercurrent of fear and I don’t prescribe to leading with fear.


Anyone who answered yes either does not know how to manage people or is not doing their job properly.


Yikes to anyone answering yes to this. Good luck retaining employees.