Timesheet Issues With Telecommuting

More and more businesses are hiring telecommuters as more and more web-applications help make jobs mobile. The Internet has enabled small businesses to take advantage of serious savings by employing these remote workers.

The cost of leasing an office, powering it, networking it, furnishing it, ect. is expensive for just a 5 employee operation. Just think what a business could save by eliminating all those costs.

However, managing remote employees has its unique challenges. Employers need a way to keep track of their employee’s time on the clock even when they’re not around to monitor them. In the past, many telecommuters have used spreadsheets or the body of an email to report their time. Now, web based applications offer a more accurate, real-time way to track time. It’s almost like remote employees are popping round the office to punch the clock before heading home to work.

The following are some of the problems a real-time web application like Timesheets.com can solve.

Filling in the timesheet at the end of the week.
Solution: This leaves room for gaps in the memory. Compiling a timesheet at the end of a week is not beneficial for an employee but is especially risky for the employer. People tend to report hours in their own favor when they aren’t able to remember accurately.Give the employee a simple way to enter hours on a daily basis so that they aren’t expected to remember it all on Friday. Part of the reason why they round in their own favor is because they weren’t given a viable alternative to forgetting. They see this as the employers fault and so it is the employer who end up losing.

Not reporting the hours honestly.
Solution: A remote boss may feel out of the loop. They don’t know what their employee’s office looks like or what kinds of distractions the employees are subject to. By giving an employee the chance to actually click a button when they come and go, the employer can trust that his employee will report accurate hours. If a telecommuter has a timeclock right on his computer screen, he will be more likely to clock out when the neighbor drops by to chit chat for 30 minutes.

Employers don’t know who is on and who is off the clock in a virtual environment.
Solution: With an online tool that shows in real-time when your employees are on and off the clock, it’s almost like being in an office down the hall. If you additionally have your employees report time spent on specific projects also in real-time, then you have an even keener eye on your workforce! It is, however, important to maintain a little distance. Don’t let your window into your workforce turn you into a micromanager. It is worth checking out how Joel Spolsky puts this concept into a telling story in his Inc.com article.

The employer has little view into a given telecommuter’s work day.
Solution: With online timekeeping, at the end of the day the employer knows who worked, what they worked on, and how many hours it took them to finish their work. Now he can better delegate and manage his employee’s tasks for the next day!

The most accurate representation of an employee’s time at work comes from the physical act of punching in and out. The punch clock may be a thing of the past but with the advent of internet timekeeping applications like Timesheets.com, this is once again possible even for remote employees.

One thought on “Timesheet Issues With Telecommuting

  1. Pingback: How to Manage a Telecommuting Workforce « The Timesheets Blog

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