Working from home (WFH) or remote-work has been known only as exceptional practice in the workplace until the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the attitude significantly. From the point of view of employees, remote work is often associated with the perceived increase of job satisfaction, for example by working from any location around the world (freelancers), by having an individual work environment, or by having more trustful relationships inside the company. From the point of view of management, remote employees bring great managerial issues like loss of control. Today top management is still skeptical about remote workers because they question the ability of their staff to handle remote infrastructure, take responsibility for confidential data, solve any situation independently and manage their time or work properly without supervision. But the latest developments in the Surveillance economy bring fresh solutions. Properly selected “Security as a Service” tools (SECaaS or SaaS) are able to cover distributed end-points into a single virtual dashboard, capture new kinds of productivity data, and thus allows better control and decision-making over a remote workforce.
The rapid increase of remote workers.
Coronavirus pandemic brings new challenges and shifted the attitude to the work process. Many employees were allowed to work from home. And now they don’t want to return to the office, arguing with COVID-19 issues and motivating with good productivity and outcome made from home. According to the latest Deloitte report, the number of people working from home has doubled in some countries, during the pandemic crisis.
Thanks to technologies like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, and cloud computing – it’s actually no longer necessary to present physically in an office full-time, you may contribute to the work process in the same way from any location. Academic studies [2,3] show that the productivity of remote developers, measured in “Lines of Code” (LOC), Meetings, or Agile Sprints time, was not all that different from the productivity of in-house developers in total. Where about 50% of remote developers demonstrated a bit increased outcome, the second half demonstrated a bit less outcome.
While these studies measured well-known production and activity patterns of software engineers, it is possible to come up with new activity patterns for other types of duties such as customer support operators, call center agents, designers, copy-writers, editors, etc. Digital products, services, software are made by humans, which are not fully rational, but it is possible to account for behavioral factors that allow managing product engineering in a better way when your team is working remotely. According to experts, business needs to respond to enable their employees to keep productivity level when working remotely.
Businesses need to take action.
However, as was mentioned earlier, remote work has challenges that affect employees differently. While some of them feel the productivity increase, some will suffer from new work conditions like family member distractions, technical problems, physiological issues related to social isolation. It means ways of working and daily patterns like workflow, meetings, start/end of the work may be changed. Top management needs to fully understand and measure how these new challenges are impacting the business by using employee monitoring tools and user behavior analysis. The last decade brings significant development in the Surveillance economy  when big data is collected about customers, citizens, services, and even physical assets. Cloud-based computer monitoring tools such as Staffcounter allow recording computer session start and end time, user idle time, keyboard typing amount, communication messages and bring this data into a single dashboard. At the same time, remote workers are provided with the needed level of individual privacy, awareness indicators, and monitoring transparency.
Within the context of the current pandemic, remote work can serve as practical lessons for business, when it comes to implementing flexible and distributed workspace models in the future. Digital surveillance tools should be considered as a new data source to support the decision-making process in workflow innovations, driven by top management. Computer session audit trail also helps to identify security incidents and perform digital forensics related to confidential or customer personal data handling.
Measure how remote employees spent their work time at home.
With StaffCounter.net you get clear visibility into how your employees spent time on corporate computers at home. This allows to analize of various distraction factors during WFH. Time report displays the number of hours worked during the day, week, or month. Late Comes reports shows inconsistency with working start time and end time. Offline activity report gives insights on how many breaks, pauses, or other distractions, an employee having during remote work.
Time of work start and end for the remote employee :
StaffCounter is a fully automated time-tracking and user activity monitoring system, which allows you to know what your employees are really doing on corporate computers, how they use confidential data and customer records. A variety of productivity and behavior analytics reports help businesses to understand how efficiently people use work applications to perform work tasks, working schedule, distraction level, and communication activity. Our cloud-based user activity monitoring platform allows collecting data from any remote computer, with a transparency level from zero to full awareness. StaffCounter Server product can be used as on-premise or private cloud deployment to meet the highest security policy and compliance.
References: How Covid-19 contributes to a long-term boost in remote working. Deloitte.2020.  “Future of Remote Work: Lessons Learned from working from Home”. Darja Šmite and Eriks Klotins. BTH. 2020.  “How do Agile Software Startups deal with uncertainties by Covid-19 pandemic?”. Rafael da Camara, Marcelo Marinho, Suzana Sampaio, Saulo Cadete. 2020.  Book “Surveillance and Democracy in Europe: Courting Controversy? (Routledge Studies in Surveillance)” by Kirstie Ball, William Webster. 2018.