Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Would you guess that nearly 40% of remote workers have lied about technology issues to avoid turning on their camera for a video call?
That was the finding of a recent survey by Joblist where 83% of remote workers admitted to telling a fib or two about the amount of time they had worked.
The most common reason of all was telling someone they were “working on that right now” when they were not (45%), followed by faking internet issues to avoid a meeting (40%), and using technology as an excuse to avoid having a camera on in a meeting (37%).
Outlook CheckIN is an unobtrusive application that automatically checks-in on your remote working staff.
What are they doing instead?
The findings question whether staff have been completely genuine about the amount of time they're actually working. According to the findings, the most frequent tasks included: cooking (59%), watching TV (55%), doing laundry (52%) and online shopping (47%).
Other reasons include playing with their kids (41%), playing with pets (38%), having a drink (29%), running errands (27%) and going out for leisure/fun.
According to the study, most workers said they did not feel responsible for making up time for finishing early or starting late.
Decisions for employers
These findings come at a time when employers are faced with the challenging decision of whether to ask remote staff to return to the office or not; with one in five wanting to continue working from home.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said the benefits of being in an office are "invaluable".
Speaking to LinkedIn News, he said: "I doubt I would have those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom."
Critics slam 'Big Brother' tactics to monitor remote workers
Since the introduction of remote working, companies have tried different methods to gain an oversight of what their staff were doing at home; including software which tracked how long staff were online, captured screen recordings of workers' screens and even track how many toilet breaks people were having.
Some employers asked their staff to turn on their work cameras and keep them running throughout the workday.
In 2020, Barclays scrapped its plans to install what was dubbed a “Big Brother” approach to workplace monitoring. The software they installed tracked how long staff were at their desks and sent warnings to those spending too long on breaks.
Measure your staff performance unobtrusively
Statistics do suggest home workers generally maintain productivity, however some staff will take advantage of the lack of physical supervision, like in any working environment.
Barclays’ computer monitoring system was slammed for being too intrusive and depriving staff of their privacy.
One way to monitor staff performance sensitively and inoffensively is through email analytics.
Outlook CheckIN is a non-intrusive Outlook plugin that sends automatic messages periodically throughout the working day to all remote workers. They are prompted to click CheckIN when the message appears within a set timeframe.
As a manager, you will then see three reports:
CheckIN: All staff who checked-in within the allocated time
Late CheckIN: All staff who checked-in after the allocated time
No CheckIN: All staff who have not checked-in after the deadline
Pending: all staff who have not checked-in within the deadline
Armed with this information, you can see who is (and who is not) stationed at their desk during the workday and take the necessary actions.
The system is automatic, so it sends all CheckIN requests for you. You just simply set working hours, how often you’d like the requests to be sent, the time deadline; and CheckIN does the rest.
You can even set daily limits, so your staff's welfare and privacy is not harmed.
Although Outlook CheckIN can come as a standalone application, we recommend using it alongside Outlook Email Tracker.
Outlook Email Tracker is a Microsoft plug-in which tells you how many emails each user received, how many were responded to and the response times. It also breaks down individual performance in a shared mailbox.
Contact us to find out more.