Need to Monitor Your Remote Agents? 5 Best Practices to Ensure You Do It Right
When you operate a remote contact center, it’s hard to know whether your remote agents are as productive as they could be. You can’t simply walk by their workstation and check, and that can be frustrating.
Luckily, some technologies can make it easy to monitor your remote agents. The trick is, you have to use these solutions the right way. Otherwise, you may cross the line, causing you to invade their privacy.
By embracing the right best practices, you can ensure that you monitor your remote agents the right way. If you don’t know how to begin, here’s what you need to know.
Choosing Whether to Monitor Your Remote Agents
Before you move forward with actively monitoring your remote agents, it’s critical to determine if that’s actually necessary. While you might want insights into their activities when you’re managing a remote team, monitoring software isn’t always well-received.
In the eyes of many employees, monitoring software is akin to remote micromanaging. It can feel incredibly invasive, and that can harm morale.
Generally, if your remote agents meet expectations and complete their workload on time, remote monitoring software may be unnecessary. This is especially true if you have strong security that prevents your employees from improperly accessing, altering, copying, or sharing company data, and there isn’t a regulatory requirement that states monitoring needs to take place.
However, if there have been performance declines, issues tracking employees’ work hours, or there is a regulatory requirement involved, then you may have a legitimate need to monitor your remote agents. If that’s the case, make sure that you approach it properly by following the best practices below.
5 Best Practices to Monitor Your Remote Agents the Right Way
1. Check Local Laws
Many locations have laws regarding employee monitoring. While monitoring your remote agents is usually legal, there may be rules regarding consent. If that is the case, you have to ensure that you have a formal agreement in place.
Additionally, you typically have to have a reasonable justification for monitoring your employees. At times, this can be as simple as managing productivity or enhancing security. However, precisely what is considered justified can vary from one locale to the next, so you need to check local laws to ensure compliance.
2. Be Transparent
If you decide to monitor your remote agents, your activities shouldn’t be a secret. Your goal shouldn’t be to catch employees acting inappropriately by keeping an eye on them without their knowledge. Instead, it should be to use the monitoring software as a reason for your agents to act appropriately.
When you craft your monitoring program, let your remote agents know exactly what is entailed and why it is being implemented. Be clear about your intentions, such as boosting security and ensuring employees are productive. Create a formal policy outlining how monitoring is used, how you will safeguard any data collected, and what your goals are for the program.
Additionally, respond to any questions they may have about the monitoring program. By doing so, you may make it seem less invasive and intimidating, decreasing the odds that your decision is poorly received.
3. Set Employees Up for Success
If your employees are using company computers, set them up for success by blocking websites that they shouldn’t use on company time using company assets. For example, you may want to make social media sites inaccessible to any employee who doesn’t need access to handle their duties.
4. Respect Employees’ Privacy
Make sure your monitoring program doesn’t cross a line by ensuring that your employees’ privacy is respected. You shouldn’t collect, review, or store any data that isn’t business-related.
For example, while companies can monitor company email accounts relatively freely, reviewing an employee’s private email account is invasive and inappropriate. If workers are using company computers, then blocking access to sites that would only be tapped for personal reasons can ensure that this information isn’t accidentally recorded.
5. Understand It’s Only Part of the Picture
When you set expectations regarding productivity, make sure they are reasonable. It’s important to remember that productivity and activity don’t always go hand-in-hand.
Workers may use resources aside from a computer to accomplish critical tasks. Some employees may prefer to brainstorm using pen and paper instead of a computer, for instance. However, since monitoring software only tracks computer-related activities, it may look like they weren’t doing anything on your side.
That’s why it is critical to understand that monitoring software alone isn’t enough to gauge productivity. Pauses in computer-related activity isn’t necessarily a sign of an employee not handling their duties or slacking off.
Make sure to look at the big picture, including the quality of the remote agent’s deliverables and whether they are meeting expectations. That way, you don’t read between the lines too much, causing you to assess a worker’s performance inaccurately.