8 Ways Time Tracking Apps Solve the Challenges of Remote Working

time tracking apps

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, CloserIQ, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Updated March 4, 2021

Are you an employer with a virtual team? If so, you have probably discovered that it takes some effort to stay productive. Here are the challenges you may be facing, for instance.

Virtual Staff Management Challenges

  1. Paying employees accurately
  2. Helping employees stay focused
  3. Effective collaboration
  4. Maintaining accountability
  5. Employer oversight
  6. Optimum shift coverage
  7. Efficient and affordable admin
  8. Human resources allocation

Did you know that the right time tracking software can help you? With the right system, you can optimize your workforce and boost productivity.

The Advantages of Time Tracker Apps for Virtual Teams

1. Pay Employees Accurately

This is the bedrock of the employer-employee relationship. Firstly, knowing when each team member clocks in and clocks out is critical. Since you can’t operate without paying your employees, you want to track time correctly.

Secondly, this keeps you from overpaying and going over your labor budget. Because it is accurate, it also protects you from underpaying and risking a compliance violation.

Thirdly, if you have several clients and invoice employee time per job, you need that capability. If your contractors do the same, it makes expense tracking easy for them as well. As a result, you won’t lose any billable time!

Consider this: lower overhead is one of the oft-cited advantages of remote working. But if you are paying workers for time they didn’t work, you are negating the savings.

Time tracking apps make it easy to track and edit employee time for geographically-diverse teams. Mobile and desktop apps are cloud-based, which means employees access them with any internet-enabled device—generally Android and iPhone (iOS).

2. Help Employees Stay Focused

One of the challenges for remote workers is staying focused. An office worker has the morning commute to transition to work mode. The physical journey helps them get down to business when they arrive at work.

A telecommuter needs to make the transition also—mentally if not physically. This is difficult when the commute only requires navigating a basket of laundry in the hall. Tracking time is one of the important reminders. For the at-home worker, clocking in says ‘I am at work now.’

3. Create Accountability for Everyone

We’ve talked about payroll accuracy and employee focus. Let’s turn our attention to accountability.

Using a basic time tracking app is essential for keeping employees accountable. You don’t want a haphazard system where the employee fills out a timecard at the end of the pay period. It doesn’t keep the employee or the employer accountable. (And it fails the accuracy test from the get-go.)

Of course, you trust your remote employees or you would not have hired them. But even if you believe them to be honest when working solo, you want to make it easy for them.

Cumbersome project management software—for time tracking or otherwise—makes life harder for everyone. A paper timesheet or Google Calendar, for example, hampers employees, freelancers, Human Resources, and ultimately the business owner.

You want to be accountable to them, as well. An easy-to-use timer assures that both you and your workers agree on time worked.

In addition, you are also accountable to the Department of Labor for every employee and every shift. A premium time tracking app that everyone uses is your number one tool for labor law compliance.

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4. Improve Collaboration

When a virtual worker clocks in, it lets all team members know that he or she is available. If workers are spread around the globe, sometimes there are only a few hours of overlap. The two hours when the Filipino techs can talk to the London-based design team are critical.

Time tracking apps with centralized employee portals keep everyone on the same page. All players know who is available without sending a text or email. Team members can access them on their mobile devices. And you don’t have to wonder if their Slack status is accurate or if they just forgot to change it.

5. Provide Real Time Manager Oversight

Companies can’t be productive if managers don’t know what’s going on. It is especially important to track attendance if there are not standard shifts.

Time tracking apps with well-designed task manager portals make it easy.  Supervisors can see at a glance who is on duty and where they are located. Businesses with mobile employees or contractors need a time tracking app with built-in mobile location management.

Geofencing allows managers to track mobile employees who move from worksite to worksite throughout the day. You can set a geofence, or geographical area for each worksite. If an employee clocks in outside of the geofence, the system sends the manager an alert.

This not only keeps employees accountable, it make it easy for managers to know employees arrive safely at their worksite. Plus, it simplifies mileage tracking.

6. Optimize Shift Coverage

This is especially important for the customer service or tech support team. When there is shift confusion there is a risk of understaffing.

Nothing hurts your business like long wait times for customer service. Coverage gaps are also hard on the employees. Customer frustration intensifies with each minute they wait in the phone or live chat queue.

A good time tracking app helps managers create schedules that ensure adequate shift coverage.

7. Reduce Administrative Expenses

Paying for excessive administrative time (either in-house or outsourced) is a way to lose some of the cost savings of having a virtual staff.

The best time tracking apps allow your human resource manager to handle HR tasks for a large workforce. Real-time reports identify trends.

Importing data directly into the payroll system is especially cost-effective. When the app does the heavy lifting, it handles the work of several employees, without compromising efficiency or accuracy.

8. Insightful Human Resource Allocation

Good time tracking apps capture data for your human capital optimization strategy.

Don’t have a human capital optimization strategy?

Maybe that’s because your time and attendance system is sub-par.

Good time tracking software helps you make strategic decisions about schedules, team assignments, and project workflows. Great time tracking software has reports that represent workforce data graphically for easy comprehension. It also has simulation capabilities that remove the trial-and-error of workforce management.

How Do You Create a Remote Work Policy?

Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of time tracking apps, let’s discuss how to create a formal remote work policy.

First off, they should be:

  • Formalized and well-communicated—make sure to include it in your employee handbook
  • Compliant with wage and hour laws
  • Designed to improve the employee experience
  • Applied equally to the workforce

To be successful, designate someone to manage the policy. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. In small companies with a flat organizational structure, it’s often the business owner or office manager. They enforce the policy and oversee time tracking. In larger companies, however, each manager may be responsible for their teams.

When you have chosen someone to manage the policy, these are important topics to address:

Eligibility

First off, which employees/positions are eligible? Do employees need to formally request it?

Working Environment

In addition, can the employee work in places other than a home office? Is there a reliable internet connection? Does a manager need to approve the employee’s work space? Specify if the employer will provide equipment such as computers or software.

Data Security and Confidentiality

When you’ve figured out which employees can work remotely and where,  security comes next. Specifically, what data security protocols do telecommuters need to follow? At a minimum, for example, it’s a good idea to have a VPN and prohibit employees from working on public Wi-Fi.

FLSA Compliance

Above all, regardless of where your employees are working, you are responsible for compliance with wage and hour laws. Furthermore, your remote workers need to track their time whether they are paid hourly or with a salary. Therefore, an inexpensive mobile time tracking app is the solution.

Schedule and Availability

Certainly, scheduling is vital. For example, does the employee have to follow a set schedule? In addition, what are the acceptable avenues of communication and response times?

Manage Remote Work Policies With TimeWorksExpress

Clearly, convenient time tracking apps are necessary for virtual teams. Indeed, they simplify payroll, improve compliance and optimize your labor resources.

TimeWorksExpress is the ideal employee time tracking app for remote work policies. It tracks work hours, scheduling, and even calculates PTO. Your employees and managers can learn how to use it immediately, even if they aren’t tech-savvy.

TimeWorksExpress is a cloud-based platform for automatic time tracking. You can access it from a connected device like any other app. You don’t need to install software on your company computers. Remote workers can use a tablet, smartphone, or laptop to clock in and see their schedule. They can also request time off and check their PTO balance.

TimeWorksExpress scales as your team grows. Because of this, it’s perfect for seasonal workers because you pay only for the employees on your payroll each month.

Try TimeWorksExpress for free right now. You don’t even need to talk to a salesperson. It’s a turnkey employee time tracking system with a self-provisioning signup process. Create an account by filling out a short form here. Discover how TimeWorksExpress can simplify remote working at your organization.

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