Maintaining remote employees’ boundaries

It's important to hold your employees accountable, but should you track their every move?
Monitoring an employee's laptop

Suzanne Massie, an American scholar, taught President Ronald Reagan the Russian proverb Doveryai, no proveryai (Russian: Доверяй, но проверяй; Trust, but verify), advising him that, “The Russians like to talk in proverbs. It would be nice of you to know a few. You are an actor—you can learn them very quickly.” Reagan used it frequently when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union.

We are often asked which employee monitoring app should be used to track the work of my employees.
Our answer: None of them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a physical separation between managers and the employees whose work they supervise. Many companies want to learn how to track those employees’ work and progress, which leads to the real question: Should you track your remote employees?

There are programs to monitor your employees’ progress and movements, such as InterGuard, which allows employers to track website visits, mouse movements, and keystrokes. It can even take screenshots of employees’ computers to produce a video of everything they do.

Before considering the use of such an app, weigh the benefit of doing so against the potential for breaching the trust that you have spent so much time and effort cultivating. Did you look over employees’ shoulders when they were working in the office? Managers and supervisors don’t typically walk around the office and count each mouse click, watch every website that is visited, and so on. These types of monitoring programs can and will be easily abused. If an employee is getting their work done and doing their job as they should, why waste time and money tracking their every move?

As a business owner or manager, you have every right to set expectations for and measure results. In some cases where efficiency is in question, you can use a time-tracking tool. It will show when an employee clocks in and out, and it measures the amount of time for each project. Harvest is one such tool.

People will work better when they are being treated well and are respected, rather than employers being suspicious by default. Setting boundaries is important in creating a healthy work environment, and tracking time is a median for both employers and their employees.

Doveryai, no proveryai.

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About Davis Merrey

Davis, is Owner/CEO of TeamLogic IT of Oklahoma City, part of an international network of franchisees providing IT support for businesses. He brings many years of experience in a variety of technology related industries, leading teams in providing technical solutions that respond to critical customer needs. The company culture is defined by its Mission Statement: “To help our fellow employees and clients be successful”.

Davis earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and an MBA in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He serves on several business related and non-profit boards of directors.